Investigating the Impact of Fish Weirs from the Bottom Up: A Perspective from the Southeast (USA)

Author(s): Ginessa Mahar

Year: 2017


Archaeological approaches to fish weirs in the southeastern United States have traditionally focused around issues of social complexity and resource intensification in the Mississippian period (post cal A.D. 1000). This pairing has limited our view of the antiquity of fish weirs and their socio-cultural impact beyond economics, subsistence, and politics—the assumption being that weirs were an answer to a problem of economic demand from the top down. However, a recent look into regional archaeological site files suggests that some southeastern fish weirs predate the complex societies of Florida (e.g. Calusa) and Georgia (e.g. Guale) by over 1,000 years. Thus, fish weirs were being constructed by small-scale communities with different socio-political and subsistence needs than their future counterparts. This paper takes a closer look into the evidence and antiquity of fish weir use in the southeast, focusing on small-scale communities and the impact that fish weirs had from the bottom up. To do this Ingold’s Taskscape will be invoked as a framework for several lines of evidence, including: ethnohistoric, ethnographic, archaeological, and experimental. It will be shown that the onset of fish weir use in the southeast deeply affected daily practices while broad and varied transitions took place contemporaneously.

Cite this Record

Investigating the Impact of Fish Weirs from the Bottom Up: A Perspective from the Southeast (USA). Ginessa Mahar. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430934)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17191