Faithful unto Death: The Dog Burials of the Gaston Site in Halifax County, North Carolina Public Deposited

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  • May 1, 2020
  • Krause, Mary Glenn
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences
    • Other Affiliation: Curriculum in Archaeology
  • Excavated by prominent archaeologists Dr. Stanley South and Dr. Lewis Binford in 1955, the Gaston site in Halifax County continues to play an important role in the understanding of Native American lifeways 1,000 years ago in the North Carolina Piedmont. Excavations uncovered an unusually large number of domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) that had been intentionally buried upon death by the human occupants of the site, but these dog burials have remained largely unstudied for over 60 years. This thesis seeks to analyze these canine remains by determining each dog’s age, sex, and skeletal health in order to evaluate their life histories. It places the 16 Gaston site dog burials within the larger context of dog burials found at sites across North Carolina, including two sites in particular with similarly large numbers of dog burials: Broad Reach and Contentnea Creek (also known as Wilson). This research desire to address two main questions: (1) Can any general patterns (temporal, geographic, cultural, etc.) be proposed from an in-depth study of dog burial distributions throughout the state? and (2) How do the dog burials at the Gaston site fit into these larger patterns?
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  • In Copyright
  • Funding provided by Undergraduate Research Fund administered by Honors Carolina. Additional funding provided by the Research Laboratories of Archaeology at UNC from the Coe Memorial Fund.
  • Lapham, Heather A.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences
    • Other Affiliation: Curriculum in Archaeology
  • Bachelor of Arts
Graduation year
  • 2020
  • English

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