Exploring Comparability of Archaic Period Faunal Datasets for the Interior Eastern United States

Author(s): Bonnie Styles; Mona Colburn; Sarah Neusius

Year: 2017


The Eastern Archaic Faunal Working Group uploaded nearly 60 faunal datasets for 21 archaeological sites in the interior Eastern United States into the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) to address hypotheses about changing human reliance on aquatic resources during the Archaic Period. As an important prerequisite for our integrative study, we examined comparability of data. To ensure comparability of datasets developed by different researchers, we addressed variable structure and mapped key faunal attributes to existing and new tDAR ontologies. We analyzed variables related to bone preservation and destruction for eight pilot sites and developed a final taphonomic protocol based on evaluation of fragmentation, burning, and bone density-mediated attrition for use on all sites. We also developed a protocol for examining comparability for site type, context type, and recovery method. Assessments of bone destruction and recovery helped us identify problematic datasets. Taphonomic biases and recovery strategies affect bone representation for all sites, but most of our datasets appear to be relatively comparable. Informed by examination of biases, we proceeded with comparisons of human use of aquatic fauna within and among sites at multiple scales and are exploring the influences of cultural preferences, population size and demography, and environmental conditions.

Cite this Record

Exploring Comparability of Archaic Period Faunal Datasets for the Interior Eastern United States. Bonnie Styles, Mona Colburn, Sarah Neusius. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431832)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15025