Comparative Archaeology Database, University of Pittsburgh

Isla Mocha Dataset
Roberto J. Campbell

Faunal Remains from Test Pits

The data files FAUNA.TXT and FAUNA.XLS contain data of 804 faunal specimens excavated from Test Pits in the site of Isla Mocha. The analysis includes only the vertebrate fauna (birds, cartilaginous and bony fishes, and mammals), and not mollusks and crustaceans. FAUNA.TXT is an ASCII text file; FAUNA.XLS contains the same data in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. Each line represents one specimen. There are 804 lines in the text file, each with 14 variables separated by commas. The variables are, in the following order:




Unit. A 50 x 50 cm test pit; units were spaced 100 m apart


Level. Test pits were excavated in arbitrary levels of 10 cm.


Stratigraphic layer. If some stratigraphic differences were noticeable within those 10 cm, the layers were correspondingly subdivided.


Specimen: when identification was possible it was noted. Default: fragment.


End of bone: proximal (Prox), or distal (Dist) if determined.


Side: Left (Izq) or right (Der) if determined.










Taphonomy. Taphonomic information related to the natural and non-cultural variables that affected the faunal record of those animals with a weight of over 5 kgs (A. Behrensmeyer 1978: "Taphonomic and Ecologic Information from Bone Weathering", Paleobiology 4(2):150-162). Therefore, only the bones of the larger mammals were scored using Behrensmeyer´s stages, together with information on root action, rodents and carnivores marks. All analyzed specimens ranged between stage 0 and 2.
0 = Bone surface shows no sign of weathering
1 = Bone shows cracking, normally parallel to the fiber structure (e.g., longitudinal in long bones). Articular surfaces may show mosaic cracking of covering tissue as well as in the bone itself
2 = Outermost concentric thin layers of bone show flaking, usually associated with cracks
3 = Bone surface is characterized by patches of rough, homogeneously weathered compact bone, resulting in a fibrous texture.
4 = The bone surface is coarsely fibrous and rough in texture
Cortes = cuts
5 = Bone is falling apart in situ


Alteration: when present, cultural modifications were noted. They included thermal alterations, cutting marks on bones, and the making of bones into tools.
Quemado = burnt
Trabajado = worked on
Calcinado = incinerated
Golpe fresco = recently hit
Golpe = hit
Cortes = cuts
Puncture = punción
Carbonizada = charred


Age: when possible the age or age range (e.g., juvenile) was noted.

The first line of the ASCII text file, for example, looks like this:

Montículos,Monticulo Norte,474-485 cm,HorizonteAB,Femur,Prox,Izq,Aves,Sphenisciformes,Spheniscidae,Spheniscus humboldti?,1,,

This indicates that the faunal remain is from the site Montículos, and unit Montinculo Norte. The level it was recorded from was 474-485 cm, in the stratigraphic layer labeled Horizonte AB. The specimen was a femur, proximal end, of the left side of the body. It was determined that the faunal remain was of the Aves class, Sphenisciformes order, Spheniscidae family. It possibly was Sphenicus humboldti species. Remain was at stage 1 of weathering. No alterations were observed. It was not possible to age the specimen.

The last, or 804th, line of the ASCII text file is:

P31-1,PS 31-02-07,90-100cm,,Diáfisis,,,Indet.,Indet.,Indet.,Indet.,1,,

This indicates that the faunal remain is from the site P31-1, and unit PS 31-02-07. The level it was recorded from was 90-100 cm; no stratigraphic layer was recorded. The specimen was a diaphysis; with no end of the bone or side of the body identified. The class, order, family nor species were identified. Remain was at stage 1 of weathering. No alterations were observed. It was not possible to age the specimen.

Download the file FAUNA.TXT (50 KB) or the file FAUNA.XLS (149 KB).

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