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The Beaver of Children and the Poor: The Social Dimension of Fur-Bearing Mammal Exploitation in Central British Columbia

Author(s): Paul Prince

Year: 2017

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Summary

The intensive Historic Period exploitation of beaver and other fur-bearing mammals, especially those that are small bodied, has typically been seen as a fur trade phenomena that can be explained in terms of optimizing returns of both material capital and prestige represented by European goods through the use of more efficient technologies introduced by Europeans. If this were strictly the case, we might expect to find a greater representation of the remains of beaver and small fur-bearers in Historic Period Indigenous archaeological sites than we do in Prehistoric contexts, but such comparisons are rarely undertaken. An analysis of faunal assemblages from contexts spanning the last millennium on the Nechako Plateau of central British Columbia is presented here and demonstrates that beaver and other fur-bearers were a ubiquitous part of people’s prey choices. I argue that, in the long-term, the place of these animals in the diet and culture of the area is better explained in terms of their potential social values than as strictly a matter of economic optimization.


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The Beaver of Children and the Poor: The Social Dimension of Fur-Bearing Mammal Exploitation in Central British Columbia. Paul Prince. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429209)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -142.471; min lat: 42.033 ; max long: -47.725; max lat: 74.402 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14561

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America