Examining Ichthyofaunal Remains for Evidence of Fishing Technologies Employed in Georgia Estuaries during the Late Archaic Period

By Colaninno, Carol E. | Southeastern Archaeology, Winter 2011 | Go to article overview

Examining Ichthyofaunal Remains for Evidence of Fishing Technologies Employed in Georgia Estuaries during the Late Archaic Period


Colaninno, Carol E., Southeastern Archaeology


Zooarchaeological data from coastal areas of the southeastern United States consistently indicate that estuaries, and the organisms that occupy estuaries, were important resources for people beginning in at least the mid-Holocene (Crook 1984; Keene 2004; Palmiotto 2011; Quitmyer and Reitz 2006; Reitz 1982, 1985, 1988, 2004, 2008; Reitz and Quitmyer 1988; Reitz et al. 2009, 2010; Thompson 2006:252-257). This is particularly true for zooarchaeological vertebrate collections from sea islands of the Georgia coast (Colaninno 2010; Marrinan 1975, 2010; Reitz et al. 2009, 2010; Thompson 2006:252-257; Figure 1), where estuarine fishes generally are the dominant class. This suggests that people extensively fished in estuaries and fishing technologies were an important component of daily life for people living on Georgia sea islands.

Despite zooarchaeological evidence, material culture associated with fishing is exceedingly rare in Georgia sea island collections. Researchers suggest that past people fished with mass-capture technologies, such as nets, weirs, and basketry scoops. This inference is based on the abundance of small-bodied fishes recovered (Marrinan 2010:92; Reitz et al. 2009). This paper explores fishing technologies employed in Georgia estuaries during the Late Archaic (ca. 4500-3000 B.P.) using large, quantified ichthyofaunal collections from shell rings on several Georgia sea islands (Colaninno 2010; Table 1). Ideally, studies of fishing technologies should combine attributes of ichthyofaunal assemblages with material culture associated with fishing (Alien 1992; Colley 1987; Rick et al. 2001; Walker 2000). Given the lack of fishing-related material culture recovered from Georgia sea islands, inferences of fishing technologies must be made using ichthyofaunal remains, exclusively (e.g., Greenspan 1998; Hongo 1989; Losey et al. 2008).

I use two methods to infer fishing technologies from ichthyofaunal collections. First, identified fish taxa are grouped based on their biological characteristics of schooling and aggregating versus solitary behavior. Second, size distribution of archaeological fish populations are compared with the expected, nonrandom selection of particular size cohorts associated with specific fishing technologies. Results suggest that masscapture technologies, including weirs, traps, and nets, were used by Late Archaic people fishing in Georgia estuaries. These results, although convincing, are complicated by several inherent biases of archaeological data and recovery, zooarchaeological methods, complexities of fish behaviors, and the intricate environmental setting of Georgia estuaries.

Cultural and Physical Settings

The ichthyofaunal collections used in this study are from five Late Archaic shell rings on three sea islands: the Cannon's Point (9GN57) and West (9GN76) Rings, St. Simons Island; Ring ?? of the Sapelo Island Shell Ring Complex (9MC23), Sapelo Island; and the St. Catherines (9LI231) and McQueen (9LI1648) Shell Rings, St. Catherines Island (Marrinan 1975, 2010; Reitz et al. 2009; Sanger 2010; Sanger and Thomas 2010; Thomas 2008a:555-557, 2010; Thompson et al. 2004; Thompson 2006, 2007; Table I).

Late Archaic shell rings, found along the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, are archaeological formations of shell arranged in a circular or semicircular pattern around a generally shell-free interior plaza (Russo 2004; Russo and Heide 2001; Thompson and Worth 2011). Shell rings range in size, with most rings having à diameter greater than 70 m, although some rings are larger (Russo 2004:Table 3.1). Debate remains as to the function of shell rings (Marquardt 2010; Russo 2004; Sassaman 2004; Saunders 2004; Thompson 2007; Trinkley 1985). Most research suggests that shell rings were circular villages and that shell deposits forming rings resulted from accumulated secondary refuse (Thompson 2007; Thompson and Andrus 2011). The function of shell rings may have changed through time as rings evolved into complete, enclosed circular structures with shell-free plazas (Thompson 2007; Thompson and Andrus 2011; Thompson and Worth 2011). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Examining Ichthyofaunal Remains for Evidence of Fishing Technologies Employed in Georgia Estuaries during the Late Archaic Period
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.