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Bone Sharp Faunal

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UM420/ 457

Late Archaic
Lakeville, MA

The faunal assemblage from the Sargasso Sea project area was composed of 199 fragments of calcined bone and ten fragments of shell. Cracks on the calcined bone indicate that it was burned when in the green state, with the result being transverse cracks and checking across the surface.

The vast majority of the remains could not be identified beyond the level of medium mammal. Those that could be identified further were found to include deer and possibly painted turtle. A total of five concentrations of faunal remains were identified. These concentrations contained from one to 184 fragments of calcined bone. The largest concentration, Concentration 1, appears to represent an area where much of the processing of deer limbs and At least one cranium took place. The other concentrations may represent low density scatters of faunal remains associated with the larger Concentration 1, or resulting from shorter term occupations. Concentration 3 was adjacent to a scattered concentration of shellfish remains, the only shellfish recovered from the site. This may indicate a separate occupation at the site at a different time than that at and around Concentration 1 or may just be the place where the occupants processed a small amount of shellfish.

Deer was identified from concentration 1, 2 and 3 but turtle was recovered only from Concentration 1 and 3. This may indicate that the assemblages, which were in the same general area and may both date to the Late Archaic Period, were occupied during the same seasons with people conducting similar activities. Turtle are available from April to October making it possible that the site was occupied at this time. Turtle shells were curated for use as rattles and decoration, and as a result the presence or absence of turtle can not be used as a reliable indicator of seasonal occupation.

Overall, the assemblage from the Sargasso Sea project shows a predominance for medium mammal, likely deer, having been thrown into fires at all of the areas. If all of the bones from all of the species consumed by the inhabitants had an equal chance of being deposited into the fire, then we would have to conclude that deer formed the core of the meat portion of the Natives diet. Unfortunately, we can not be sure that all animals or even all parts of all animals consumed, were treated the same way



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