A Nutritional Analysis of Diet as Revealed in Prehistoric Human Coprolites

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Nutritional analysis of archaeological material has not been extensively conducted. The main reasons for the lack of such studies include the problems inherent in archaeological preservation of dietary remains, and the lack of information on the nutritional content of prehistoric foods. Coprolites (dessicated human feces), however, are unique resources for determining the prehistoric diet of archaeological populations. This paper presents a nutritional analysis conducted on 38 coprolites approximately 1000 years old that were excavated from a dry, limestone rockshelter in Val Verde County, Texas. The nutritional analysis indicates that the prehistoric diet of these people was relatively nutritious, although other archaeological information from the botanical, faunal, and human remains needs to be assessed before a complete nutritional statement can be made.