Summer 7-2010

Document Type



Mobile, AL



First Advisor

Gregory Waselkov


For thousands of years American Indians lived and survived in the southeastern part of North America. They used traditional hunting technologies to capture and kill many different species of animals which furnished protein in their diet and raw material for manufacture of clothing and tools. These animals include hundreds of different species of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. While these diets were varied depending on geographic location and social affiliation, archaeologists have found patterns in the diets of the Southeastern Indians. They have found and continue to find that many American Indians in the Southeast were eating copious amounts of white-tailed deer and fish (where available) because of the large population size in these areas.

The archaeological sites on which my thesis focuses are located in the midwestern and southeastern U.S., including the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. These sites encompass different climates and were the homes to many different cultural groups before the Europeans arrived. There was a vast range of cultural traditions practiced at these sites. However, they all have one thing in common. The faunal assemblages from nearly all of these sites contain copious amounts of white- tailed deer bones and an insignificant number of black bear bones. While few archaeologists have studied this strange pattern in depth, many have noticed it and throughout the years a number of possible hypotheses have arisen as to why this trend might occur.