Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Anthropology

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 85 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Marilyn Masson


agency, anthropology, deer, domestication, Maya, Mayapan, Mayas, Deer farming, Deer, Mazama, Odocoileus, Excavations (Archaeology)

Subject Categories

History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Zoology


Mayan management of deer populations at Mayapán in the Yucatán, México has been suggested by historical texts, iconography, and archaeological investigation. Therefore, the main research question of this thesis is: Was deer management or husbandry practiced at Mayapán? Two Cervidae species are identified in the Mayapán faunal assemblage, Odocoileus virginianus (white-tailed deer) and Mazama americana (brocket deer). It is likely that Mazama pandora (Yucatan brocket deer) is also present and possibly another Odocoileus subspecies. Consequently, the second research question of this thesis is: How many deer species or subspecies were present in Postclassic Period Mayapán? There is a considerable non-overlapping size difference between living specimens of Odocoileus sp., which is 90-105 cm tall and 134-206 cm long, and Mazama sp., which is 69-71 cm tall and 70-130 cm long, which may be reflected in skeletal anatomy. This study tests the hypothesis that Odocoileus sp. and Mazama sp. are metrically distinguishable. Data from previous faunal investigations was combined with metrical and statistical analyses of osteological faunal remains from Mayapán to determine the presence of a third deer species or subspecies and support claims that management or husbandry was practiced at Mayapán.