Evaluating Mass Capture Fishing Techniques

Author(s): Ginessa Mahar

Year: 2015


The term "mass capture" is widely used in archaeological and zooarchaeological discourse to connote any form of fish capture besides active, individual procurement of a single fish such as hook and line or spear fishing. Unfortunately, this blanket term obscures the diversity and range of mass capture techniques and other critical factors that have implications for archaeological and anthropological interpretation such as materials, technology, ecology, and labor, among other variables. To begin to address this issue a series of experiments were undertaken involving one particular type of mass capture—fish weirs. Long shore and tidal weirs were modeled based on archaeological data from fish weirs in the Eastern United States. This poster details the preliminary results of this study via the quantification of fish species captured per weir configuration, juxtaposed against baseline fisheries monitoring data from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Variation between the weirs exists primarily in terms of labor invested in weir construction and behavioral patterns of fish species caught. These results show the need for considering particular types of mass capture fishing when addressing ichthyological remains at archaeological sites. All research presented herein was conducted at the Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory, Gulf Coast, Florida.

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Cite this Record

Evaluating Mass Capture Fishing Techniques. Ginessa Mahar. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397764)

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Spatial Coverage

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