Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert I. Sundick

Second Advisor

Dr. Tal Simmons

Third Advisor

Dr. Kenneth B. Tankersley

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Three desiccated human feces recovered from Salts Cave, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, were analyzed for evidence of parasitic infection, specifically Giardia Lamblia. Positive detection of Giardia cysts was made using a direct immunofluorescent assay (IFA) technique. Scanning electron microscopy revealed what appear to be Giardia lamblia trophozoites. One additional fecal sample, analyzed for its dietary content, was composed primarily of Helianthus annuus (sunflower) and Chenopodium berlandieri (goosefoot). Over one hundred seeds of Cucurbita pepo (squash) were also contained within this specimen. This sample has been radiocarbon dated to 2420±90 B.P., falling into the cluster of previous dates from Salts Cave.

Included in

Anthropology Commons