A major goal of the Siouan project is to describe and explain change in aboriginal Piedmont cultures after European contact. Since data on plant remains from the 1985 field season add to the available body of archaeological evidence of plant use during the Historic period, one purpose of this paper is to assess previous interpretations of subsistence change in light of the newly acquired information. Concentration during the 1985 season on the Fredricks site (31Or231) has provided a large and carefully sampled quantity of plant remains from a single occupation. Therefore, an opportunity will be taken to outline in a general way the subsistence practices of the Fredricks site population with respect to plant foods. Archaeological evidence from the 1985 season, as well as past seasons, will be used to determine both the range of plant foods used and the relative contributions of various plant foods to the diet. Problems of interpretation will be discussed, including the relationship between preservability and frequency ranking of various types of plant remains.

Responses to spatial variation in the form of vegetational patches and regular temporal variation in the form of seasonality also will be addressed. Although archaeological evidence for the precise composition of the past environmental mosaic is not yet available, informed speculation about the use of different patch types can be offered on the basis of modern vegetational studies and archaeological evidence of plant use. Similarly, seasonality of particular deposits is difficult to determine due to background "noise" resulting from food storage. The fact that most food plants tend to ripen during the same time of year makes occurrence of specifically seasonal deposits of plant remains unlikely for certain times of year. Hypotheses about seasonal plant use patterns can nevertheless be proposed on the basis of existing evidence.