Cows in the Galápagos Islands: a study of cattle production at the Hacienda El Progreso




Riou-Green, Miranda

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This thesis explores the zooarchaeology of cattle management and production at the 19th-century Hacienda El Progreso, on San Cristóbal Island, Galápagos, Ecuador. Many cattle products were exported, including salted meat, leather, and fat. In order to examine cattle commodification, comparative literature was reviewed, and the sequential steps that were undertaken to turn cattle into a product were assessed. The results were then compared to the faunal analysis of the Carpintero assemblage from Hacienda El Progreso using the chaîne opératoire framework in order to examine the possibility of interpreting the sequential production of cattle commodification from zooarchaeological specimens. Historical cattle from Hacienda El Progreso were a likely small bodied Criollo variety. While there was evidence of cattle management and production, there was limited opportunity to identify the hacienda’s operational sequence of cattle production for export as the Carpintero assemblage likely represented locally consumed animals.



Zooarchaeology, Galápagos Islands, Cattle Management, Cattle Production, Chaîne Opératoire, Historical Archaeology