Zooarchaeological investigations at Thompson’s Cove, San Francisco, a Gold Rush-era site located on the original shoreline of Yerba Buena Cove, provide evidence of the maritime California hide and tallow trade, consumption of abundant wild game, including seasonal hunting of migratory ducks and geese, and importation of non-native species into Alta California, specifically Galapagos tortoise (Chelonoidis sp.) and sea turtle (Family Cheloniidae). This abundant and diverse assemblage (NISP = 8661, NTAXA = 50) dating primarily to the 1840s–60s allows rigorous investigations into the economic and subsistence activity of San Francisco in a stratified context encompassing the California Gold Rush-era.
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We are extremely grateful for the assistance provided by numerous individuals during the course of this research. Our thanks extend to Chris Conroy, Carla Cicero, and Carol Spencer, at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Berkeley, Jens Vindum at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, and Teresa Steele and Christyann Darwent at the University of California, Davis, for providing access to comparative collections. A further note of gratitude is extended to Teresa Steele for her very helpful Galapagos tortoise identification advice, and Jeanette Wyneken for her insightful sea turtle expertise. Mike Etnier, Jacob Fisher, Adam Freeburg, Lisbeth Louderback, Terry Swanson, Palo Viscardi, and Chris Widga provided valuable comments and suggestions during the identification and analysis process. Special thanks extend to Sherri Gust and Jim Delgado for their knowledgeable assistance in better understanding Spanish and Euro-American cattle and California Gold Rush history, respectively. Furthermore, thank you to Mike Kelly for sharing insights and data from the 343 Sansome Street Project. Thanks extend to the Archeo-Tec crew including Michelle Touton-Staley, Emily Wick, Elise Christensen, Austen Wianecki, Melissa Lewis, Caitlin Chang, Lacey Babnik, Guido Pezzarossi and Danielle Brown for all of the work and support put into the completion of this project. Finally, C. Conrad personally thanks Emily Jones for her encouragement, support and comments on previous drafts of this manuscript. Two anonymous reviews also provided invaluable comments for which we are grateful. We take full responsibility for any errors or omissions in this work.
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Conrad, C., Gobalet, K.W., Bruner, K. et al. Hide, Tallow and Terrapin: Gold Rush-Era Zooarchaeology at Thompson’s Cove (CA-SFR-186H), San Francisco, California. Int J Histor Archaeol 19, 502–551 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10761-015-0297-2