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Vertebrate Fauna and Socioeconomic Status

  • Elizabeth J. Reitz

Abstract

One of the problems that can be addressed through analysis of data from an archaeological deposit is the identification of the socioeconomic status of the site’s previous occupants. Since many historic sites lack information on the identity of the previous occupants, reliance must be placed upon the excavated remains themselves for clues of socioeconomic status. Consequently archaeologists have been delineating characteristics that will serve to identify the socioeconomic status of the former occupants from archaeological data. To define status markers from faunal remains, it is necessary to recognize that the contents of trash deposits have been subjected to a variety of biasing influences. However, in historical archaeology little attention has been paid to factors that influence faunal deposits other than socioeconomic status. In a discussion of socioeconomic status and faunal assemblages, variables that affect the deposition and survival of bones, as well as those that influence the human choices that produced those deposits, should be considered. These variables may be roughly divided into those that affect the survival of bones, those that affect the recovery and interpretation of faunal deposits, and those that affect choice of foodstuffs. When data available from plantations on the Atlantic coastal plain are studied with these variables in mind, it can be seen that more work needs to be done before the influence of socioeconomic status can be determined from vertebrate faunal remains.

Keywords

Faunal Assemblage Historical Archaeology Documentary Evidence Faunal Remains Atlantic Coastal Plain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth J. Reitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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