Posted April 16, 2014
Dr. Deanna Grimstead, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology of The Ohio State University, and her students are currently working with an Ohio Historical Society Collection from the Proctorville Village Site (Ohio Archaeological Inventory number 33LE12, collection A4197). The collection stems from a 1989 salvage excavation at the location of a large Fort Ancient Village located in Lawrence County. The goals of this project are 1) to use the collection for an introductory undergraduate and graduate level archaeological laboratory methods course, 2) to conduct a thorough zooarchaeological analysis of the archaeofaunal materials from the site, and 3) to further many more collaborative projects between the Ohio Historical Society and The Ohio State University. As part of the course students are giving the opportunity to blog about what they are learning and discovering. The following is the final submission from Lauren Hammersmith. We hope you enjoyed the student’s journeys as much as we did!
Hello readers! As promised, I have my results for my project! As a little recap, I was looking at the relative abundances of small to medium-large unidentifiable mammal bones in the Proctorville assemblage. Based on my sources, there are several reasons the abundance of medium-large mammal remains would decrease over time. These include resource depression, increased diet breadth, increased dependence on small mammals, over-exploitation of large mammals, the environment/climate. After sorting and counting unidentifiable remains from three units (I chose units that had a full representation of all the levels), I put the numbers into a spreadsheet with columns for unit, level, bag number, total remains, # of small unidentifiable remains, # of medium-large unidentifiable remains. Then I created a chart in excel that plotted the level on the x-axis and the ratio on the y-axis. If my hypothesis is correct, we would expect to see an increase in the ratio of small to medium-large over time. Here are my charts:
I saw an increase in the ratio in levels one and four but not two. There are several reasons why this could be, which are also limitations on my study. Because of time constraints, I did not have time to sort and count every bag in the assemblage.
A better picture could be painted in every bag were to go through the sorting and counting process. Similarly, there were many bags with unknown provenience in the catalog, which if known may have given a better idea of actual ratios. Another limitation of my study is that I was simply counting the remains and testing a hypothesis about their abundance. A further study can be (and has been, with other assemblages) done to determine a specific cause for changes in abundance. I discussed these causes earlier (resource depression, increased diet breadth, increased dependence on small mammals, over-exploitation of large mammals, the environment/climate).
Inconclusive data in this case could mean many things: that this was a highly productive area for a certain species (in which case species specific studies would be pertinent), that the people were field dressing their medium-large mammals (in which case remains wouldnt be present at the home site), or the data is not complete enough. These are all things I would have addressed with a little more time in the class! I want to thank you readers for reading my entries and I look forward to reading future entries on this blog! Go Bucks! Lauren Hammersmith