, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 59-76
Date: 28 Feb 2013

Notes from Mount Desert Island: Interviewing Maine Fishermen to Find Archaeological Sites

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Abstract

In an attempt to discover submerged archaeological sites, the author interviewed commercial fishermen, divers, and others with intimate knowledge of the Maine coast between Stonington and Prospect Harbor. Investigators compiled information from several small maritime communities, focusing on the portions of their populations in contact with the sea. A wealth of data regarding the location of infrastructure, wrecks, and inundated prehistoric sites was gathered between 2006 and 2011. Patterns emerge when the findings are compared to the historical record, to commercial fishing zones, or to known archaeological sites. The results of the survey will be discussed, as well as the efficacy of the project, and the sometimes surprising relationship between the data and the physical and cultural landscapes of the area.

The use of the term “fishermen” rather than “fishers” or “fisherfolk” is for two reasons. First, all of the interviewees engaged in the fishing industry were male, and second, those within the subject area use this term exclusively to define their profession. This at times led to grammatically interesting sentences. When asked about one of the few female captains along the coast one informant answered, “I heard she’s a good fisherman.”