• Zooarchaeological analysis at 49-RAT-32: historical ecology and maritime subsistence in the late Aleutian period

      Sippel, Kevin M.; Clark, Jamie; Reuther, Joshua; Rogers, Jason (2020-05)
      This thesis utilizes a zooarchaeological collection from 49-RAT-32 on Amchitka Island in the Western Aleutians to examine Unangax̂ subsistence strategies, and human/environment interactions from 620 ± 20 to 320 ± 20 years B.P. The materials used for this analysis were recovered from primary and secondary fill overlaying the House 1 floor. Paleoecological records within this region are limited and conflict with each other, but the cool and wet conditions of the Little Ice Age 600-100 years B.P, or C.E. 1350-1850 are believed to be in effect during the deposition of the fill materials. Marine mammal, fish, and sea urchin remains were analyzed to understand subsistence practices, seasonality, and land/seascape use. The relative abundance of the exploited taxa and fork lengths of marine fishes were analyzed to identify potential resource stress and change over time. Atka mackerel dominates the faunal assemblage and Pacific cod are present in very low frequencies, both of which make 49-RAT-32 unique when compared to other Aleutian assemblages. Atka mackerel, Pacific cod, and Irish lords are larger in size than their modern counterparts, with the large size of Pacific cod indicating deep sea fishing practices. The size differentials in Atka mackerel and Irish lords may reflect differences in ocean conditions. This analysis of fauna from 49-RAT-32 does not indicate the presence of human-driven resource depression, in fact, fish sizes were increasing, and diet breadth was shrinking. The opposite pattern from what would be expected if humans were overfishing. The data from this analysis increase our understanding of resource utilization and landscape use during the Late Aleutian Period, and provides baseline information for future studies analyzing changes in fish size over time.