Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Charles H. Faulkner

Committee Members

Paul W. Parmalee, Major C. R. McCollough


The faunal remains from the Mississippian components on three archaeological sites (40CF111, 40CF32, and 40CF5) along the Duck River in the Normandy Reservoir, Coffee County, Tennessee, were analyzed for this study. From the three sites combined, 56,664 pieces of bone were examined of which 1,903 were identifiable to at least the family level; a minimum of 18 species of mammals, 5 birds, 7 reptiles, 4 amphibians, and 8 species of fish were represented. In addition, 4,922 identifiable gastropod shells from 12 species and 30 freshwater mussel valves from 4 species were identified from 40CF111 and 40CF32. The faunal species represented at each site were similar enough in overall composition to be considered as depicting a typical Mississippian hunting pattern for the upper Duck River area. Large vertebrates, especially the white-tailed deer, were found to have been the major sources of meat, but smaller vertebrates and mollusks were utilized consistently and were an important source of additional protein in the Mississippian diet.

Also discussed are the Mississippian faunal exploitative patterns and the possible alterations that the raising of domestic plants (especially maize) had upon these patterns. This author hypothesizes that with the introduction of maize agriculture, there were no major selection changes in the overall types of game species hunted. At most, there might have been a slight rescheduling of the times when hunting was conducted. This hypothesis is in opposition to proposals that the introduction of agriculture brought about a focus of hunting on only a few of the larger game species which yielded greater amounts of meat. Based on the numerous faunal reports for archaeological sites in eastern North America, there appears to have been a consistent hunting pattern for the aboriginal inhabitants from the Archaic cultural period through the Mississippian period.

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