Date of Award

12-2003

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Anthropology

Major Professor

Walter E. Klippel

Committee Members

Charles Faulkner, Gerald Schroedl, John Rehder

Abstract

This research concerns the faunal remains from two sites on the former Danish island of St. John, now part of the United States Virgin Islands. The first site, Cinnamon Bay, a small-scale cotton plantation that was later incorporated into a larger sugar plantation, was occupied from 1718 to 1917. The East End, a provisioning estate and later free African community, was occupied from 1725 to 1950. Cinnamon Bay and the East End are significant to historic zooarchaeological research in the Caribbean for two reasons. First, the assemblages represent subsistence choices and procurement in two contrasting occupation types in the 18th and 19th centuries. Second, the assemblages were formed primarily during a period dominated by the social and political reality of enslaved labor used for the production of plantation cash crops. Materials for this dissertation were excavated during the summers of 1997, 2000, and 2001.

Fish resources dominate the assemblages, especially those from reef habitats. Resource utilization at Cinnamon Bay focuses on fish until emancipation that was later followed by an increased use of domestic mammals and molluscs. A comparison of the Cinnamon Bay and East End faunas to several other archaeological sites reveals that the Virgin Island sites differ because of the high reliance on marine resources and the presence of imported North Atlantic fish at Cinnamon Bay. An assessment of fishing strategies and fish size reconstruction reveals that the majority of fish utilized at Cinnamon Bay were likely captured in traps.

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