The Transect Survey at 30-something

Author(s): Elizabeth Reitz

Year: 2015


In 1977, an American Museum of Natural History team lead by David Hurst Thomas began an ambitious survey of St. Catherines Island, Georgia. The intent was to systematically survey 10% of the island following a series of transect lines using a research design from plant ecology. The survey collected hundreds of small vertebrate samples, none of which met zooarchaeological standards for adequate sample sizes and analysis. These hundreds of small samples, however, proved invaluable because they were used to develop hypotheses about change and stability in animal use that have guided all subsequent zooarchaeological studies of both prehispanic and Hispanic sites on St. Catherines Island and elsewhere in the Georgia Bight. These systematically recovered survey data provided a broad perspective of people’s lives on the island, snapshots of how they used each habitat available to them from the very earliest known sites through the Mission period. Many of the hypotheses developed from the transect survey samples have been supported by larger samples recovered by subsequent work, others need revision, and new hypotheses have emerged. Starting a long-term zooarchaeological study with a survey program, even with very small samples, is more than worth the effort when long-term research is anticipated.

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Cite this Record

The Transect Survey at 30-something. Elizabeth Reitz. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395557)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;