Seasonal Mobility and Environmental Stress in an Archaeological Context: Analysis of Deer Remains from Three Fort Ancient Sites in Dayton, Ohio

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Title: Seasonal Mobility and Environmental Stress in an Archaeological Context: Analysis of Deer Remains from Three Fort Ancient Sites in Dayton, Ohio
Creators: Deppen, Jacob
Advisor: Cook, Robert A.
Issue Date: 2008-06
Abstract: The SunWatch site was a large Fort Ancient village located in present-day Dayton, Ohio. Much is known about the SunWatch site, but its relationship with smaller Fort Ancient sites in the area remains unclear. This project looks at two smaller sites (Wegerzyn Gardens and Wildcat) to explore that relationship with SunWatch, specifically in terms of seasonal mobility, and to examine the effects of environmental change on deer utilization strategies. SunWatch was occupied seasonally during its early period (A.D. 1150-1300) and year-round in its later period (A.D. 1300-1450). I examined the Wegerzyn and Wildcat assemblages to see if those sites might be hunting camps from the seasonal period at SunWatch. A prolonged period of drought in the A.D. 1300s may have had significant consequences for Fort Ancient villages. This study examines deer utilization strategies at these sites through time to see what changes, if any, might be the result of environmental stress. Seasonality and utilization differences were tested by analyzing all deer bones from radiocarbon-dated contexts at the three sites. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was chosen over other species because it is a good proxy for both seasonality and utility and because of its abundance in the sample. The deer remains were aged using epiphyseal closure and tooth eruption sequences. I used meat- and marrow-utility indices to look for differences through time and between small and large sites. This study was inconclusive with regard to seasonality at the small sites. The results do imply that deer utilization strategies changed through time, possibly related to environmental stress. Deer age and utility selection practices that are evident in the early period (when environmental conditions were more favorable) are not present in the later period (during a period of increased drought).
Embargo: No embargo
Series/Report no.: The Ohio State University. Department of Anthropology Honors Theses; 2008
Keywords: archaeology
Fort Ancient
white-tailed deer
Sponsors: OSU Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Scholarship
OSU SBS Undergraduate Research Award
OSU Honors & Scholars Summer Research Internship
Description: Third Place poster in Business/Social and Behavioral Sciences at the 2008 Denman Undergraduate Research Forum
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