This article examines faunal remains from the Carter Creek Site, a Late Woodland Weaver phase (ca. A.D. 250- A.D. 500) site in west central Illinois. The site is located in the forest, but it is also near edge of the prairie; this location would have given the residents easy access to forest, aquatic, and prairie resources. It is a site of great interest because it represents a movement out of river valleys into uplands. Faunal remains include snails, mussels, white-tailed deer, elk, gray and fox squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, skunks, gray foxes, beavers, raccoons, turkeys, prairie chickens, crows, turtles, frogs, and fish. Hand-collected sampling indicates that deer constituted a majority of the diet, while flotation sampling suggests that diet was dominated by fish. Both sampling methods have inherent biases, so the author cannot determine whether fish or deer were more important. However, it is clear that they were both major components of the diet.
The author compares her findings from this site with other Late Woodland sites in the Midwest in order to test two hypotheses about Late Woodland faunal exploitation. The first prediction, proposed by Green, states that early Late Woodland groups who moved from riverine areas into uplands would continue to focus on riverine resources. Styles, on the other hand, theorizes that the geography around the settlement would dictate which fauna were utilized. Due to the biases in sampling, Holt could not determine if fish or deer were more prominent in the diet. However, it is clear that fish were an important part of subsistence, which supports Green's theory that early groups who moved into uplands from riverine locations would continue to exploit the fauna that they were familiar with; in short, they would continue to focus on fish because their parents focused on fish. But, data from the Cater Creek Site also supports Style's theory. Although the residents of Carter Creek did consume fish, most of the fish was from local creeks rather than major rivers. In addition, they consumed animals like prairie chicken, which are from the nearby prairie environment and which would not have been available in the riverine habitat that their ancestors inhabited. The author concluded that both theories have truth to them; tradition influenced this group to continue exploiting fish, but the fish and other resources that they exploited were a product of their environment.
Purdue, James R., Bonnie W. Styles, and Mary Carol Masulis
1989 Faunal Remains and White-Tailed Deer Exploitation from a Late Woodland Upland Encampment: The Boschert Site (23SC609), St. Charles County, Missouri. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 14:146-163.