Award Date

August 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Karen G. Harry

Second Committee Member

Liam Frink

Third Committee Member

Barbara Roth

Fourth Committee Member

Vernon Hodge

Number of Pages



This study focuses on better understanding diet and subsistence strategies among Virgin Branch Puebloan groups living in the Moapa Valley in southern Nevada and on the Shivwits Plateau in northwestern Arizona. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was used to identify absorbed food residues in three types of Virgin Branch Puebloan ceramics (Moapa Gray Ware, Shivwits Ware, and Tusayan Virgin Series). The data produced by the residue analysis were used to compare patterns of subsistence between Virgin Branch Puebloan sites in the lowlands along the Muddy River and at upland sites on the Shivwits Plateau as these two areas have different environments and available resources. The results suggest little difference in the types of foods found in ceramics from each area and that people in both areas were cooking primarily seeds, nuts, and roots or large herbivores. Additionally, I compared the residues found in the three ceramic wares to see if they were used to prepare different types of foods. No difference was found in the types of residues present in the three wares.


Archaeology; Ceramics; Great Basin; Puebloan; Residue Analysis; Southwest


Archaeological Anthropology | Chemistry