Trends and Traditions in Southeastern Zooarchaeology

Trends and Traditions in Southeastern Zooarchaeology

Trends and Traditions in Southeastern Zooarchaeology

Trends and Traditions in Southeastern Zooarchaeology


"A much-needed presentation of the potential contribution of zooarchaeological studies to our overall understanding of both historic and prehistoric cultures in the southeastern United States. No other volume has brought together such a diverse set of faunal studies from the region."--Erin Kennedy Thornton, University of Florida

"Provides an update of recent issues in southeastern faunal studies and a showcase of established and emerging practitioners within the field. Embedded within a long and respected tradition of regional scholarship, this significant volume forges a path forward by offering new insight into a variety of themes within prehistoric and historic archaeology that spans environmental, economic, and social topics especially salient to modern archaeology."--Amber VanDerwarker, author of Farming, Hunting, and Fishing in the Olmec World

While most works of southeastern archaeology focus on stone artifacts or ceramics, Trends and Traditions in Southeastern Zooarchaeology calls attention to the diversity of information that faunal remains can reveal about rituals, ideologies, socio-economic organization, trade, and past environments.

These essays, by leading practitioners in this developing field, highlight the differences between the archaeological focus on animals as the food source of their time and the belief among zooarchaeologists that animals represent a far more complex ecology. With broad methodological and interpretive analysis of sites throughout the region, the essays range in topic from the enduring symbolism of shells for more than 5,000 years to the domesticated dog cemeteries of Spirit Hill in Jackson County, Alabama, and to the subsistence strategies of Confederate soldiers at the Florence Stockade in South Carolina.

Ultimately challenging traditional concepts of the roles animals have played in the social and economic development of southeastern cultures, this book is a groundbreaking and seminal archaeological study.


The idea for this volume grew out of my teaching and research experiences at the university level. I organized a symposium for the 2010 Southeastern Archaeology Conference to highlight the innovative and interesting research being conducted by zooarchaeologists working in the southeastern United States. All of the original symposium participants were invited to contribute to this volume, and many were enthusiastic to do so. I solicited contributions from other zooarchaeologists who were interested but unable to participate in the symposium. What has resulted is a volume that contains contributions from academics, archaeologists in the public sector, and cultural resource managers.

Many of the studies presented in this volume would not have been possible if not for Dr. Wing’s interest in biogeography and history of mammals on Trinidad from the Pleistocene through modern times. While Dr. Wing was working with fauna from the circum-Caribbean Southeast, Dr. Paul Parmalee was doing similar work in the Midwest that would in turn make him an influential figure in southeastern zooarchaeology. Parmalee was trained as a zoologist in wildlife management and began studying animal remains from midwestern archaeological sites at the Illinois State Museum. in 1973 he took a position with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville (UTK), from which he retired as director of the Frank H. McClung Museum of Anthropology in 1989.

It is no coincidence that the first two people to study animal remains from archaeological sites in the southeastern United States hold advanced degrees in zoology and biology/ecology/wildlife management. Actually, their educational backgrounds and introduction to archaeological analyses are strikingly similar. Liz Wing holds a graduate degree in zoology . . .

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