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Hitchhiking to the New World: Archaeoentomology and the Study of Introduced Insect and Ectoparasite Species.

Author(s): Allison Bain ; Mélanie Rousseau

Year: 2017

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This paper presents an overview of North American archaeoentomology, focussing on the study of introduced species. Seminal works on the introduction of plant and animal species during colonization suggested multiple parameters allowing for the colonization of the Americas by Old World species (Lindroth 1957) and introduced the term "European biological imperialism" (sensu Crosby 1972) to our vocabularies in environmental archaeology. Research in archaeoentomology, focussing primarily on beetles and ectoparasites found in archaeological contexts, has permitted the documentation of species introduction and dispersal in the New World during the Colonial Period (15th – 18th centuries). While plant species and seed crops were imported intentionally, insects and ectoparasites were almost always hitchhikers, unintentionally imported during colonisation. Recent archaeoentomological research suggests the early and intensive occupation of suitable ecological niches by Old World species (Bain & King 2011) however, small and relatively modest datasets have limited our understanding of the displacement of native species. Case studies will be presented from sites in Newfoundland, Quebec City, Boston and Virginia. These studies suggest that colonists continued to combat Old World pest and ectoparasites species here in the New World as they recreated European niches through settlement practises.

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Hitchhiking to the New World: Archaeoentomology and the Study of Introduced Insect and Ectoparasite Species.. Allison Bain, Mélanie Rousseau. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429810)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14683

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