Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Charles H. Faulkner, Paul W. Parmalee

Committee Members

Walter E. Klippel, David A. Etnier


The faunal remains examined for this study were from eight late Middle Woodland Owl Hollow phase sites situated on the upper Duck and Elk rivers, or their tributaries in Tennessee. Three of these sites (40CF108, 40CF111, and 40CF32) were located on the Duck River within the Normandy Reservoir; their excavations were sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Test excavation at the other five sites (40BD46, 40BD55, 40FR7, 40FR45 and 40CF214) were conducted as part of the Owl Hollow Archaeological Project, which was funded through a National Science Foundation grant. The results of the faunal analyses are first presented individually for each site. They were believed to be similar enough in make up, however, to view them as a single entity in the conclusion and to hypothesize an overall Owl Hollow faunal exploitation pattern. A total of 148,636 pieces bone was examined from the eight sites combined; 7,940 of these were identifiable to at least the order level. Additionally, 118,655 fresh water snails were identified from 40BD46, 40BD55, 40FR7, 40FR45, and 40CF214. There were also 12,052 terrestrial snails identified from 40BD55 and 40FR7, and 4,725 pelecypod valves from 40BD55, 40FR7, and 40FR45.

The typical Owl Hollow faunal exploitation pattern is very similar to that earlier hypothesized by the author for the Mississippian sites in the Normandy Reservoir. Mammals, especially the white-tailed deer, are believed to have been the principal meat resources. Birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, freshwater snails, mussels were utilized with some consistency and would have been important dietary supplements and sources of variety in the diet. An extensive bone tool industry was found at a number of the sites and this is also examined. The increased use of the nutritive poor freshwater mollusks and the raising of maize by the Owl Hollow peoples is seen as being the result of enforced sedentism and population pressure. The terrestrial snails found at 40BD55 and 40FR7 are not believed to have been food resources, but their presence does give some broad indications about the habitat surrounding the sites.

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