Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Journal of Field Archaeology 1989


The skeletal remains of an adult male associated with desiccated tissue and a coprolite were recovered from an apen-air midden deposit at the NAN Ranch Ruin (LA15049)) a large Mimbres site in Grant County) New Mexico. The find dates to about A.C. 1000-1100. Identifiable macroscopic elements in the caprolite consist offi nely fragmented corn and tiny seed fragments of an unknown plant. High amounts of willow (Salix) and mustard (Brassicaceae) pollen may indicate the ingestion of medicinal plants to combat a deteriorating health condition. The individual was approximately 35 -40 years old at the time of death and suffered from numerous pathological disorders including a basioccipital tumor, osteoarthritis) spondylolysis) and a sacral deformity. The find illustrates that conditions do exist at apen sites in arid environments ofN orth America that preserve desiccated caprolites with burials. When caprolite analysis is combined with osteological studies significant information on health care and diet can be obtained.