Title

Canine Digging Behavior as an Archaeological Site Formation Process

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2001

Publication Source

Journal of Field Archaeology

Volume

28

Issue

3/4

Inclusive pages

383-394

ISBN/ISSN

00934690

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

Pit features, frequently reported at archaeological sites, are usually thought be culturally produced. The numbers and forms of pits found at an archaeological site influence inferences of human activity; therefore, the inferred cultural origin of pits at archaeological sites needs to be demonstrated, rather than assumed. Ethnoarchaeological study of dog digging behavior, combined with our understanding of the long symbiotic relationship between human beings and canines, suggests that canine disturbance may be a significant factor in site formation processes. Canines are the probable agent for certain commonly reported pit forms, and are probably implicated in the disturbance of human-dug pits much more often than commonly understood. Dogs dig under a variety of conditions, including those expected in hunter-gatherer, pastoral, and agricultural sites. Excavation of recent dog-holes reveals marked similarities with certain features reported in the archaeological literature.

Disciplines

Anthropology