Species Diversity

One way in which it was possible to distinguish differences in the use of faunal resources by the inhabitants of the Wall and Fredricks sites was through the calculation of diversity.

Using the Shannon-Weaver Index, species diversity was calculated as 1.46 for the Wall site assemblage and 2.19 for the Fredricks site assemblage. These numbers indicate that there is a greater diversity of species represented in the Fredricks site assemblage than in the Wall site assemblage. Using the same formula, Wing (1977) calculated diversity for assemblages from 43 other sites in the Southeast. The diversity indicated for the Wall and Fredricks site assemblages is lower than that indicated for all 43 of Wing's assemblages. The three sites that displayed diversity nearly as low as that of the Wall and Fredricks sites were sites at which the economy was based on specialized fishing (Wing 1977:87). As neither the techniques used in analyzing the faunal remains nor lists of species identified at each site were presented in Wing's discussion, it is difficult to evaluate whether or not a comparison of the Wall and Fredricks site assemblages with those reported by Wing is valid. However, at both the Wall and Fredricks sites, fish represented over 50% of the individuals identified and were the second most important resource, following deer, in terms of meat yield. At both sites, deer and fish were the most important resources. At the Fredricks site these species accounted for 56.68% of the MNI, whereas at the Wall site they accounted for 79.5% of the MNI. It is the dominance of these two resources that accounts for the fact that the two sites appear to be similar, in terms of diversity, to the specialized fishing sites described by Wing (1977).

Another method chosen for calculating diversity is Lieberson's variation of Simpson's Index of Diversity. This method is described by Dickens (1980:40) as providing an "index that represents statistical probability of obtaining unlike characteristics in a population." The percentages of individuals of each species identified from the Wall and Fredricks sites were used with this formula. The resulting percentages were 0.55 for the Wall site and 0.73 for the Fredricks site. This indicates that there were only 55 chances out of 100 that any two randomly selected individuals identified from the Wall site assemblage will be different, whereas the chances of two individuals from the Fredricks site being different species are 73 out of 100.

The final method is Simpson's Index of Diversity. Using this index, the lowest possible diversity would be 0 whereas maximum diversity for an assemblage is 1 - 1/s, s being the total number of species (Styles 1981:45). At the Wall site maximum diversity is 0.969 and actual diversity is 0.539. For the Fredricks site assemblage, maximum diversity is 0.966 and actual diversity is 0.726. Thus, using Simpson's Index of Diversity, the Fredricks site assemblage exhibits more diversity than the Wall site assemblage. Also, the Wall site assemblage is only moderately diverse, whereas the Fredricks site assemblage exhibits fairly high diversity.

From the results of all four calculations, it is clear that the faunal assemblage from the Fredricks site exhibits more diversity than that from the Wall site. Increased diversity of faunal exploitation may have been a trend already developing in the Piedmont prior to European contact or it may represent a response to increased disruption of the social and natural environments following contact. To further investigate this problem, calculations were made of the diversity exhibited by assemblages from an Early Contact site and a Middle Contact site, both located in the North Carolina Piedmont on the upper Dan River. Early Upper Saratown (31Sk1) dates to the early seventeenth century, and nearby Upper Saratown (31Sk1a) dates to the late 1600s (see Wilson 1983:225). In age, Early Upper Saratown falls between the Wall and Fredricks sites, whereas Upper Saratown may overlap slightly with the early portion of the occupation of the Fredricks site. The later of the two Dan River sites exhibited greater diversity than the earlier site when calculated using the first and third formulas, whereas the second formula yielded equal values for both sites. The results when each formula was used, however, indicate that the assemblages from these two sites exhibited greater diversity than either the Wall or Fredricks sites. Thus there is no evidence to indicate that increased diversity in faunal exploitation was a general trend from late prehistoric through historic times in the Piedmont. Likewise, there is no clear indication that the utilization of a greater diversity of species was necessarily a response to environmental disruption created by the presence of Europeans.