Toward Developing an Economic Model of Fish Rank for Late Nineteenth-Century Pacific Northwest Households

Author(s): Emily C. Taber; Virginia L. Butler

Year: 2017


Considerable research has been conducted on archaeofaunal food remains as a proxy for consumer practices in Euro-American historical archaeology. Such research often incorporates price-driven meat rankings, in which the historical cost of a meat cut determines its rank. Archaeological fish remains also present an opportunity to examine how historical communities engaged with fish that could be acquired through subsistence practices, leisure activities, or market purchases. However, the social-economic rankings of fish have rarely been considered, even in the Pacific Northwest where fish were central to human lifeways. When fish remains are incorporated into rankings, they may be included only as one ranked item ('fish') and a single cut (‘whole’), which fails to recognize the cultural and economic importance of fishes in historical Pacific Northwest communities, as well as the biodiversity of fishes that can vary greatly in size, abundance, seasonality, and so forth. This pilot study is part of a research effort to establish a price-driven meat ranking for Pacific Northwest fishes between 1880 and 1910. Pricing data for local fishes has been systematically collected from late 19th-early 20th century newspapers, with prices averaged and adjusted to reflect stable rankings during the late Victorian era.

Cite this Record

Toward Developing an Economic Model of Fish Rank for Late Nineteenth-Century Pacific Northwest Households. Emily C. Taber, Virginia L. Butler. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430280)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17381