Seneca Pigeon Hunting on the Allegheny National Forest

Author(s): Joseph Bomberger

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The passenger pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius, is an extinct subspecies of pigeon that was used as a staple food source by the Haudenosaunee. The largest passenger pigeon flocks were described by eyewitnesses as covering hundreds of miles and their peak population has been estimated in the billions. During the nineteenth century, Euroamericans industrialized the hunting of passenger pigeons, leading to extinction in the twentieth century. The development of railroads facilitated these industrialized hunting practices. Low birth rates and high casualty rates combined to eliminate the passenger pigeon, once the most common bird in North America. The pigeon was important to the Seneca. While there are a variety of ethnographic accounts describing the Seneca hunting in northwest Pennsylvania, archaeological evidence is scant. This research aims to establish a site signature for Seneca pigeon hunting camps on the Allegheny National Forest, corroborate documentary and ethnographic data, and identify landforms that were favored by the Seneca. The research will not focus on identifying all the camps in the region but may aid future researchers in doing so. These camps could yield data about trade and hunting practices in addition to adding important cultural data about the Seneca.

Cite this Record

Seneca Pigeon Hunting on the Allegheny National Forest. Joseph Bomberger. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449414)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25696