Oyster paleoecology and Native American subsistence practices on Ossabaw Island, Georgia, USA

Isabelle H. Lulewicz, Victor D. Thompson, Justin Cramb, Bryan Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We examined the shell size of 3262 eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) to assess diachronic patterns in shellfish exploitation on Ossabaw Island, Georgia. These measurements taken on shell size and morphology were compared between a Late Archaic shell ring, a Late Woodland shell-filled pit, and a Late Mississippian midden-mound to evaluate changes in oyster population ecology, as it related to large scale changing environmental conditions and Native America subsistence practices over time. Our results indicate stability in oyster populations during the Late Archaic with a following decrease in oyster size through the Late Woodland into the Late Mississippian. We attribute this decrease to combination to human predation and large-scale climate fluctuations, with the latter being the primary driver of this shift in size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-289
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume15
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Environmental change
  • Georgia coast
  • Oyster
  • Shellfish
  • Southeast
  • Subsistence economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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