A Database Approach to Historic Military Provisioning


Planned military provisioning recorded in historic documents likely decreased variability in soldiers’ diets and resulted in widespread use of domestic livestock. However, faunal remains from Fort Shirley, a French and Indian War fortification in Western Pennsylvania, indicate a heavy reliance on wild resources, particularly deer. Comparisons with other fortifications examined archaeologically reveals a breadth of functional and dietary differences between sites. First, the term "fort" describes a variety of military installations, ranging from defensive works manned by professional soldiers to supply depots, fur trade posts, and even fortified homesteads. This complicates archaeological examination of soldiers’ diets and the role of historic military provisioning. Using a database of faunal data from historic fortifications in the Eastern U.S. and Canada (1754-1870), we examine species diversity, homogeneity, evenness, and reliance on domesticates to address questions including the accessibility of standardized provisions among professional soldiers and militia; the influence of provisioning on local ecological diversity; and changes in military provisioning through time.

Cite this Record

A Database Approach to Historic Military Provisioning. Martin Welker, Jonathan Burns, Jennifer Haney, Sarah McClure. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403597)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -84.067; min lat: 36.031 ; max long: -72.026; max lat: 43.325 ;