Prehistoric use of beaver in coastal Maine (U.S.A.)


en Anthropozoologica 25-26 - Pages 225-236

Published on 01 June 1998

This article is a part of the thematic issue Proceedings of the 7th ICAZ International Meeting, Constance, September 1994

ln this paper the prehistoric use of beaver by native peoples along the coast of Maine is examined using archaeological faunal evidence. The focus of the puper is the fauna from the Richards site, a pre-contact Ceramic Period site located on the central coast of Maine, The faunal assemblage is dominated by heaver and is the largest, non-calcined sample of prehistoric beaver bone in the region ever to be recovered and analyzed, providing direct evidence for how beavers were used by native peoples before European contact. Data on body part representation, minimum number of individuals and butchery marks reveal that whole carcasses were being processed at the site and that adults or large subadults were preferred. A comparison of the Richards beaver data with other prehistoric sites in the region shows that, through time, a shift toward increased utilization of beaver occurred prior to the European demand for pelts.

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