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Turtles in the Tidewater: an Ecological and Social Perspective on Turtle Consumption in the Antebellum South

Author(s): Meagan Dennison ; Eric G. Schweickart

Year: 2016

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This presentation considers the foodways of plantation inhabitants in the antebellum costal South with reference to one particular food resource, the turtle.  Turtle remains represent a small but ubiquitous portion of faunal assemblages recovered from late 18th and early 19th century sites in the southern states, and historic documents indicate that antebellum Americans drew upon European, African, and Native American cooking traditions to create a turtle-based cuisine which played an important role in establishing social boundaries.  We compare turtle remains from Peachtree, a 19th-century plantation house along the Santee River in South Carolina, to others in the region, using the geographical, temporal, and status related patterns in their disposal to evaluate their possible use as food resources.  Moreover, we will compare these patterns with the geographic range and life cycle of particular turtle species to determine how the consumption of turtles was influenced by their availability within local environments.

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Turtles in the Tidewater: an Ecological and Social Perspective on Turtle Consumption in the Antebellum South. Meagan Dennison, Eric G. Schweickart. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434280) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8NG4T7V


Geographic Keywords
North America United States of America

Temporal Keywords
19th cnetury

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 375

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
SHA_Dennison_Schweickart_2016.pdf 436.41kb Aug 17, 2017 6:34:17 AM Public
Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America