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Trends and Traditions in Southeastern Zooarchaeology$
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Tanya M. Peres

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049274

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049274.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Behavioral, Environmental, and Applied Aspects of Molluscan Assemblages from the Lower Tombigbee River, Alabama

Behavioral, Environmental, and Applied Aspects of Molluscan Assemblages from the Lower Tombigbee River, Alabama

Chapter:
(p.186) 8 Behavioral, Environmental, and Applied Aspects of Molluscan Assemblages from the Lower Tombigbee River, Alabama
Source:
Trends and Traditions in Southeastern Zooarchaeology
Author(s):

Evan Peacock

Stuart W. McGregor

Ashley A. Dumas

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813049274.003.0008

In chapter 8, “Behavioral, Environmental, and Applied Aspects of Molluscan Assemblages from the Lower Tombigbee River, Alabama,” Evan Peacock, Stuart W. McGregor, and Ashley A. Dumas explore recent work along the Lower Tombigbee River and the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, southern Alabama, that has revealed a number of sites containing shells of numerous freshwater mussel species and varying quantities of Rangia cuneata, a brackish water clam, and in some cases a few salt-water specimens. Data derived from these shell assemblages are relevant to three major lines of inquiry. In terms of prehistoric human behavior, mussel assemblages inform on settlement patterns and economic issues: Lower Tombigbee assemblages mirror those from the Central Tombigbee Valley in that a peak in shellfish use is seen during the Late Woodland period. This fact is examined in light of a previously published hypothesis that Late Woodland sites on the Central Tombigbee River represent sedentary settlements, and that increased mussel exploitation is related to resource stress stemming from high human population density. From a paleoenvironmental perspective, Lower Tombigbee shell assemblages contain small numbers of brackish-water species, despite being tens of kilometers north of the head of Mobile Bay. The authors investigate whether this is a result of past sea-levels, the presence of salt springs in the area, or some other environmental factor. Finally, comparison of archaeological data with those obtained from modern mussel surveys provides biogeographical information useful for conservation biologists today.

Keywords:   Freshwater mussels, Late Woodland period, settlement, patterns, sea level

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