Faunal Research in the
Yazoo Basin and Lower
Setting Parameters for Future Research in
the I-69 Corridor, Mississippi
H. Edwin Jackson
Recovery and analysis of faunal materials have become integral aspects of archaeological research designs, providing valuable information regarding subsistence practices, site seasonality, impacts of human exploitation on animal populations, changes in procurement strategies due to environmental change, changing human demographics, and the gradual shift from hunting and gathering to horticulture to intensive agriculture. In addition, zooarchaeological remains have the potential for providing insights into socially defined variability in resource access, and even symbolic aspects of prehistoric cultures. This chapter reviews and synthesizes available zooarchaeological data from the Mississippi Delta region and, more broadly, from the Lower Mississippi Valley (LMV), to produce a baseline for anticipated data recovery as a result of mitigation efforts in the I-69 corridor in northeast Mississippi. Following a general discussion of environmental parameters affecting prehistoric procurement patterns, this chapter summarizes existing analyses of archaeologically recovered faunal collections from sites located in that portion of the LMV referred to as the Yazoo Basin (northwest Mississippi). It then augments these data with information from other sites excavated in adjacent states to examine and define broader temporal and spatial trends in prehistoric faunal use. This will help to better define current gaps in our understanding and thus guide further research.
Archaeologically recovered faunal remains provide data for reconstructing the character of subsistence pursuits, including the species of animals used, the