Climate Change and Deer Consumption of Maize at the Turpin Site, ca. A.D. 700-1300

Robert A. Cook and Aaron R. Comstock


Maize is commonly found on archaeology sites from the late Late Woodland period (ca. A.D. 700-1000) of the Middle Ohio Valley, including in abundance at the Turpin Site on the lower Little Miami River. However, direct evidence of its consumption by humans at Turpin before about A.D. 1000 is scarce (Cook and Price 2015; Cook 2017). In an effort to study the role of maize at Turpin, we analyzed carbon and oxygen isotope data from 59 deer teeth from both late Late Woodland and Early Fort Ancient (ca. A.D. 1000-1300) contexts. The main goal of the study was to assess the level to which deer were consuming maize during the late Late Woodland as we know that maize was present in large quantities in the macrobotanical samples from the site for this time interval (Weiland 2019; see also Cook 2017 for direct dates on maize).

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