Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Anthropology

Supervisor

Dr. Lisa Hodgetts

Abstract

This study uses the zooarchaeological record to examine the seasonal mobility and scheduling of faunal procurement and processing activities by southwestern Ontario’s two Late Woodland (ca. A.D. 800-1600) communities, Western Basin and Iroquoian. Faunal datasets helped to reconstruct the timing and location of Western Basin annual hunting and fishing pursuits and identified a greater degree of flexibility in the organization of these activities than previously recognized, as well as in comparison to contemporaneous Iroquoian communities who also occupied this region.

Western Basin groups oriented themselves near lakes and rivers year-round where they exploited locally abundant fish, mammals, birds, and other animals. The reconstructed Western Basin seasonal round suggests that these groups were more mobile than neighbouring Iroquoians who settled in upland areas near tributaries, creeks, and ponds. However, during the 800 years of interest, both traditions diversified their hunting and fishing activities, focusing on the procurement of animals available near their camps and villages. These changes likely relate to scheduling conflicts between maize crop production, which was intensified during the second millennium A.D., hunting, and fishing.

The highly fragmented nature of Western Basin large mammal (i.e., cervid) assemblages is also investigated. An examination of bone specimen sizes, types, fracture characteristics, and degree of burning indicated that bone marrow and grease was routinely extracted by Western Basin peoples and was integral to food preparation and consumption practices, rather than indicative of seasonal periods of food stress.


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