Faunal exploitation at the Forks : 3000 B.P. to 1860 A.D.

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Peach, A. Kate
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This thesis addresses the faunal remains from five archaeological assemblages spanning three thousand years of human occupation at the Forks, Winnipeg. The assemblages are from the Archaic (Hanna), Lake Woodland (Blackduck), and Fur Trade (Fort Gibraltar I, Fort Garry, and Upper Fort Garry) periods. The three goals of the thesis are 1) to analyze the five faunal assemblages from the Forks and compare them, providing information on subsistence and faunal exploitation for the various periods; 2) to compare archaeological and documentary information regarding subsistence to provide a better understanding of faunal exploitation as well as to identify areas of disagreement and potential bias; and, 3) to examine possible explanations for changes in faunal exploitation patterns as indicated by faunal recoveries through time at one locality noted for its comparatively stable environmental regime. The faunal analysis examined variability in taxonomic composition, taxonomic richness, taxonomic diversity; butchering and processing patterns; and, seasonality of procurement. Using the combined archaeological and documentary databases, the variability was explained through recognition of the following factors: technology, length and permanence of occupation, seasonality and scheduling, site function, and the nature of the subsistence economy. The variability in the faunal assemblages reflects differences in subsistence adaptation and resource use at the Forks. The combined use of archaeological and documentary databases provided a more complete understanding of faunal exploitation patterns and of the observed variability in the archaeological record. The primary cause of discordance between the two databases was the business orientation of the Fur Trade period documents that consistently underestimated the range of subsistence activities that were apparent in the archaeological record.