Diversity and Use of Ducks and Loons at the Hornblower II Site, MA

Author(s): Jessica Watson

Year: 2019


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

Recent evaluation of avifauna from the Hornblower II site on Martha’s Vineyard has revealed a rich diversity of birds, including Red-breasted loon (Gavia stellata), Common loon (G. immer), and various dabbling and diving ducks (Anatidae). The majority of the identified assemblage is represented by Anseriformes (70.6%) and Gaviiformes (17.6%), with very few gulls (4.2%), birds of prey (0.46%), and no Galliformes. This assemblage contrasts sharply with nearby sites, where birds are less frequently recovered and ducks constitute a much smaller portion of the collection. Many of these species are found on the nearby Squibnocket Pond, where indigenous hunters may have captured ducks at night with torches and canoes as described in early Contact accounts (e.g. Denys 1908: 435-436). This paper will explore patterns of duck hunting and use at Hornblower II based on archaeological data and ethnohistoric accounts to understand their importance during the Middle and Late Woodland eras.

Cite this Record

Diversity and Use of Ducks and Loons at the Hornblower II Site, MA. Jessica Watson. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450200)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25620