Animals from the Fredricks Site

General Observations

The faunal remains from the 1983-1984 excavations at the Fredricks site were recovered from the fill of nine burials and five features. A total of 16,393 fragments from this site were examined. This total consists of 3,428 fragments from the 1/2-inch screen, 11,494 fragments from the 1/4-inch screen, and 1,469 fragments from the 1/16-inch screen. A total of 142 individuals representing 35 species was identified.

A full listing of the faunal remains from the Fredricks site is provided in Table 10. A brief discussion of the results of analysis of the site as a whole is provided below. Following that, a more detailed treatment of the same remains is provided within a discussion of the features and burials from which the remains were recovered.

A total of 727 fragments from the assemblage were identified as fish. These fragments represented a minimum of 72 individuals (50.7% of the total number of individuals). The vast majority of these were catfish, the most abundant species (in terms of MNI) in the assemblage. Other fish identified were sunfish, sucker, and gar.

Amphibians accounted for eight individuals (5.6% of the total), represented by 92 fragments. The only amphibians identified were spadefoot toad, frog, and unspecified toad.

Reptiles were represented by 17 individuals (12.0% of the total) determined from 2,397 fragments. Most of the fragments identified as reptiles were small fragments of turtle carapace. Box turtle accounted for 10 of the individuals (7.0% of the total) and was the second most abundant species in terms of MNI. A large number (228 fragments) of snake bones were recovered, but many of these were ribs or fragmented vertebrae that could not be identified as to species.

Turkey and passenger pigeon were the most abundant bird species identified. Passenger pigeon accounted for six individuals (4.2% of the total), identified from 47 fragments. Turkey was represented by 148 fragments, accounting for four individuals (2.8% of the total). Based on the presence of spurs, three of the four individuals were males. Other birds identified were bobwhite quail, red-bellied woodpecker, lesser scaup, and members of the Charadriidae (plover), Fringillidae (sparrow), and Anatidae (duck) families.

Approximately 56% of the identified bone fragments from the Fredricks site belonged to mammals. With the exception of the white-tailed deer (MNI=9) and squirrel (MNI=5), none of the mammalian species identified was represented by more than two individuals. The presence of European-introduced mammals in the assemblage is indicated by a single femur fragment of a pig and a single horse molar.

The presence of a minimum of nine deer (6.3% of the total) was determined from 1,134 fragments. There were four deer mandibles in the assemblage that were complete enough to be aged using the technique based on tooth development and wear described by Severinghaus (1949). Of these four, one was approximately 4-1/2 years old, one 5-1/2 years old, one 7-1/2 years old, and one 8-1/2 to 9-1/2 years old. Through an examination of the epiphyses of the long bones of the deer, it was determined that two individuals had unfused distal femora and could thus be aged at between 2-1/2 and 4-1/2 years (Lewall and Cowan 1963:635). A sample of six individuals is too small to permit conclusions about possible exploitation strategies based on age for the Fredricks site. Of the deer that could be aged, however, 50.0% were between 2-1/2 and 4-1/2 years old, 16.7% were approximately 5-1/2 years old, 16.7% were approximately 7-1/2 years old, and 16.7% were approximately 8-1/2 to 9-1/2 years old.

No deer innominate bones were preserved in the Fredricks site assemblage, upon which Edwards et al.'s (1982) criteria for sex determination could be applied. Two of the deer frontal fragments recovered at this site were fairly delicate and did not possess antlers, and another frontal piece had an antler attached. These fragments indicate the presence of at least one male and possibly two females.

Of the 10 fragments identified as black bear, only one (a proximal metacarpal) could be utilized with the methods described by Marks and Erickson (1966) for determining age. This single bone indicated an individual between the ages of one and two years (Marks and Erickson 1966:404).

The technique proposed by Grau et al. (1970) for determining the age of raccoons could not be applied to the faunal assemblage from the Fredricks site. This technique is based on an analysis of wear on the lower teeth of the raccoon. No mandibles with adequately preserved dentition were recovered.

Although 95 bones and bone fragments were identified as squirrel, none of these was distal radii or distal ulnae. Because of the lack of these elements, it was not possible to use Carson's (1961) technique for determining age of gray and fox squirrels.

Cut marks were observed on 20 of the deer bones in the Fredricks site assemblage. The neck portion of one scapula exhibited several transverse cut marks, as did the distal epiphyses of four humerii. The proximal epiphyses of one tibia and two radii all exhibited several cut marks. One pubis fragment exhibited what appears to be a cut made by an axe and two ilium fragments exhibited cut marks. Three rib fragments, one cervical vertebra, three lumbar vertebrae, and one astragalus also had cut marks. A cut mark on one of the rib fragments may have been inflicted with an axe. These fragments represent 1.8% of the deer bones recovered at the Fredricks site. Because this is such a small percentage, it is difficult to reconstruct the butchering process utilized by the original inhabitants. However, most of the cut marks are consistent with the skinning and butchering procedures reported for several prehistoric sites in the East (e.g., Guilday et al. 1962).

Fragments of three bone knife handles and a highly polished, tapered splinter of bone that might have been a needle were the only examples of worked bone found at the Fredricks site. All four items had been manufactured from mammal bones but it was not possible to determine the species.

Feature and Burial Fill

Burial 1. There were three zones of fill in Burial 1 containing a total of 3,169 bone fragments, 504 of which could be identified to species. The majority of the bones (89.2%) were retrieved from the top zone of fill, which was a dark brown organically rich soil. The mammals identified were white-tailed deer, opossum, gray squirrel, unidentified squirrel, and raccoon. Birds consisted of turkey, passenger pigeon, bobwhite quail, red-bellied woodpecker, and a single fragment belonging to the family Charadriidae (plovers). The reptiles and amphibians identified were frog, box turtle, and musk turtle. The four types of fish identified from this pit were catfish, sucker, sunfish, and gar.

Burial 2. There were only two zones of fill in Burial 2. The top zone, a dark brown humus, contained 84.5% of the bone fragments. The fill of this pit contained only 129 animal bone fragments, 30 of which were identified to species. Deer, squirrel, and raccoon were the only mammals identified, and the only birds identified were turkey and passenger pigeon. Box turtle was the only identifiable reptile, there were no amphibian remains, and there was only one fish bone (catfish).

Burial 3. The two zones of fill in Burial 3 contained 5,008 fragments of bone, 873 of which could be identified to species. Of the total number of animal bone fragments recovered from the site, 30.5% were recovered from the fill of this pit. Although a few unidentifiable fragments were located in the lower zone of fill, 99.4% were in the top zone of dark brown humus. Identified mammals consisted of black bear, white-tailed deer, gray squirrel, raccoon, skunk, and cotton rat. A single fragment was identified as domestic pig. The birds identified were turkey, passenger pigeon, and lesser scaup. Reptiles and amphibians consisted of box turtle, snapping turtle, painted turtle, musk turtle, mud turtle, Crotalidae (poisonous snake), and frog. Fish identified were catfish, gar, and sucker.

Feature 1. Feature 1 had two zones of fill, the uppermost of which contained 95.6% of the 1,539 animal bone fragments. Of these, 257 fragments could be identified to species. The mammals represented were white-tailed deer, squirrel, raccoon, and cotton rat. The only birds represented were turkey and passenger pigeon. Remains of box turtle, mud turtle, poisonous snake, frog, catfish, sucker, and gar were also recovered.

Feature 2 (Burial 4). Two major zones of fill were identified in Feature 2 and a total of 982 bone fragments (157 of which could be identified) was recovered. The first zone, a dark brown soil with charcoal fragments, contained 65.6% of the bone in this pit. The second zone, a mottled orange clay, contained 34.4% of the bone. White-tailed deer, raccoon, white-footed deer mouse, turkey, passenger pigeon, and box turtle were identified.

Feature 3 (Burial 5). Of the 2,375 bone fragments in the fill of Feature 3, 467 were identified. There were two major zones of fill. The uppermost zone (a brown loam with ash) contained 82.8% of the bone and a second zone (mottled orange clay) contained 17.2%. The mammals represented in the fill were white-tailed deer, gray squirrel, fox squirrel, unidentified squirrel, raccoon, cotton rat, meadow vole, white-footed deer mouse, short-tailed shrew, mountain lion, and black bear. Turkey and passenger pigeon were the only birds present. Reptiles and amphibians consisted of toad, frog, box turtle, mud turtle, and unidentifiable snake. Fish identified were catfish, suckers, and gar.

Feature 4 (Burial 6). The five zones of fill in Feature 4 contained a total of 301 bone fragments. Only 23 of these fragments could be identified. In the other burial pits, the majority of the animal bone was located in an uppermost zone of dark organic soil. In this feature, however, 65.4% of the bone fragments were from two deeper zones of mottled orange clay, and 23.6% were from two zones of brown loam mottled with orange clay. In fact, only 11.0% of the bone was retrieved from the uppermost zone of dark organic soil. All of the bone fragments which could be identified from this pit were white-tailed deer.

Feature 5 (Burial 7). No animal bone fragments were found in the fill of this burial pit.

Feature 6 (Burial 8). Six major zones of fill were distinguished in this burial pit. These zones contained a total of 683 bone fragments, 110 of which were identifiable to species. The first zone, a brown loam with numerous small pebbles, contained 39.8% of the bone fragments. The third zone, also a brown loam, contained 37.2%, Zone 5 contained 10.5%, and the rest (12.5%) was contained in the bottom zone. Animals represented were white-tailed deer, squirrel, raccoon, white-footed deer mouse, passenger pigeon, box turtle, snapping turtle, and painted turtle.

Feature 7 (Burial 9). This burial pit had two primary zones of fill that contained 217 fragments of animal bone. Only 15 of these fragments were identifiable, and all were white-tailed deer. The deepest zone of fill, a mottled orange clay, contained 65.9% of the bone, and the rest (34.19%) was contained in the upper (brown loam soil) zones of fill.

Feature 8. Feature 8 was a tree disturbance and did not contain animal bone.

Feature 9. Feature 9 has been interpreted as a fire pit associated with Structure 1, probably the remains of a sweat house. The bottom of this pit was lined with charred bark, and clusters of charred maize kernels were found lying within the charred remains of woven containers, probably baskets. Along with the maize kernels, one of these clusters contained the charred foot bones of a gray fox. The uppermost zone of fill in this pit (a dark yellowish-brown sandy ash) contained 26.1% of the bone fragments, the center zone (a combination of fill similar to that in Zone 1 mixed with orange clay) contained 6.7%, and the deepest zone (charcoal, reddish clay, and ash), which contained the charred maize, accounted for 67.2% of the bone. All of the bone fragments in this third zone of fill were charred. In addition to the fox bones and a single horse molar, there was white-tailed deer, raccoon, bear, and dog.

Feature 10. Feature 10 was a trash-filled storage pit with two zones of fill. The uppermost zone was a dark brown loam, which contained 96.3% of the 722 animal bone fragments. Of these fragments, 134 could be identified as white-tailed deer, squirrel, turkey, and box turtle.

Feature 11. Feature 11 contained 13 identifiable bones (from a total of 94 fragments), all of which were identified as white-tailed deer. There was only one zone of fill in this feature.

Feature 12. Feature 12 had two zones of fill containing 282 bone fragments. The upper zone, a dark reddish-brown soil, contained 54.2% of the bone, and the lower, a brown sandy loam mottled with orange clay, contained 45.7%. The 75 identifiable bones were comprised of white-tailed deer, squirrel, white-footed deer mouse, black bear, and box turtle.

Feature 13. There were two zones of fill in Feature 13. An uppermost shallow zone of mottled yellow clay, which contained almost no bone, intruded into a thicker zone of dark brown, highly organic soil, which contained 98.1% of the bone. Of the 755 bone fragments, 209 were identifiable. Animals represented were white-tailed deer, fox squirrel, unidentified squirrel, raccoon, bear, turkey, passenger pigeon, sparrow, box turtle, frog, sunfish, and sucker.

Comparisons. The four burial pits most similar in terms of fill were Burial 1, Burial 2, Burial 3, and Feature 1. In all of these pits, the vast majority of the animal bone was recovered from the uppermost zone of fill, a dark, organically rich soil. The bone from these pits was well preserved and each pit contained most of the 31 species identified in the overall assemblage. The four pits also were very closely aligned in terms of spatial arrangement.

Feature 2 (Burial 4) is somewhat similar to these four pits in that the majority of the bone fragments were recovered from an upper zone of dark organic fill. Only 65.6% of the bone from this pit was recovered from this zone, however, as opposed to the 84.5-99.4% for the same zone in the other aforementioned pits.

Feature 3 (Burial 5) likewise could be grouped with the burial pits mentioned above. The majority of the bone was recovered from an upper zone of fill that consisted of a dark organic soil. Also, the species identified in this pit were almost identical to those identified in Feature 1.

Feature 7 (Burial 9) and Feature 4 (Burial 6) were very similar to one another and quite different from the other pits. In addition to being located next to one another, the two pits are similar in that the only identifiable remains recovered in either is white-tailed deer. The remainder of the bone fragments were too poorly preserved to identify. In both pits, about 65% of the bone was recovered in a deep zone of mottled orange clay. It is likely that the acidic nature of this clay is responsible for the poor preservation. Zones of brown loam or humus were identified in each of these pits, but unlike Burials 1-3 and Feature 1, these zones contained very few animal bones.

Feature 6 (Burial 8) was unique in that the faunal remains were recovered in zones of brown loamy soil separated from one another by zones of orange and brown mottled clay. No single zone contained the vast majority of bone. The preservation of the bone in this pit was not as good as in the other burial pits.

Finally, Feature 5 (Burial 7) was unique in that it was the only burial pit from which no faunal remains were recovered. This pit was also more shallow (by 0.75 ft) than any of the other pits and lacked an upper zone of dark organic soil (which may have been plowed away).