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Bone Sharp Faunal

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UM 388

Eighteenth Century

The faunal remains from site UM 388 were represented by 235 fragments of unidentified mammal (medium and large), and cattle, pig, sheep, chicken, grey squirrel, woodchuck, racoon, and sheepshead fish remains. The remains were fragmentary with no complete elements being recovered. Fragmentation was the result of butchery, processing and consumption practices as well as taphonomic processes such as rodent and carnivore destruction and possible scatter across yard areas. The last of which resulted in the remains being exposed for an indefinite period of time and being subject to trampling, weathering and scavenging. Fragmentary remains that could not be identified beyond the level of mammal included the majority of the calcined bone fragments. Presence of calcined bone indicates that the foodways processes included the deposition of faunal remains, likely from the consumption phase, being deposited in a fire, likely the hearth fire. Presence of the calcined bones likely shows the location of hearth waste deposited on the site.

Two species, grey squirrel and woodchuck, were likely commensal additions to the assemblage, rodent scavengers that were not eaten but which gnawed discarded bones and subsequently died at the site, thus becoming an accidental part of the archaeological record. This is theorized by their

recovery from contexts that included the majority of rodent gnawed bones. A third species, racoon, may have arrived at the site in a similar manner, as a commensal species, although it is also possible that this species may have been hunted or trapped. Fish remains were scarce at the site, probably the result of the site location. The one bone from the one species present is a salt water species that must have arrived at the site from the coast either as fresh fish or as salted.

Domestic species, cattle, sheep, pig and chicken, formed the bulk of the remains identified. Chicken appears to have provided the smallest amount of domestic meat to the diet, being represented by only one individual and only a few bones. Cattle, the largest of the domestic species, was represented by at least two individuals, one older and one younger. The range of elements present as well as the presence of chop marks on several of the bones may indicate on site production, butchery and consumption of at least some of the beef. Sheep and pigs, represented by at least one individual each, provided the second highest amount of meat to the diet. The presence of saw marks on the bones, exclusively on the sheep bones and predominantly on the pig bones, commonly associated with professionally butchered meat cuts as opposed to farm produced, may indicate that the sheep and some of the pigs were purchased as opposed to raised and butchered on site. The possibility does exist though that the inhabitants preferred to butcher their smaller domestics with saws as opposed to axes and cleavers. The majority of meat from all species represent prime to sub-prime cuts with some of the lowest meat bearing elements, head, lower leg, also being present. This indicates that the site inhabitants had access to whatever type of meat cut they desired, meatiest and highest quality cuts or those of lesser quality.

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