Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Walter E. Klippel

Committee Members

Barbara J. Heath, Gerald F. Schroedl


During the 2003-2004 archaeological investigations at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest Plantation, a small, subfloor pit feature was discovered on the Southeast Terrace, in an area well known for its historical connection to the plantation’s 19th century enslaved African American laborers. Among the collected artifacts, the subfloor pit feature yielded over 33,000 faunal materials; not included in this calculated total are several thousand eggshell fragments. Although eggshell and avian faunal materials continue to be an understudied, peripheral component to faunal analyses, this thesis aims to show how, based on a few selected measurements and morphological variations observed in eggshell structure, a positive identification for these fragments can lead to a better understanding of species diversity, consumer choice, and subsistence practices. Furthermore, the development of a modern comparative eggshell collection can allow for an evaluation of current identification methods. This thesis provides a unique resource for documenting taxa abundance among faunal assemblages from historic sites.

Attachment 1. Comparative Metrics.xlsx (50 kB)
University of Tennessee Zooarchaeology Laboratory Comparative Eggshell (Excel source data)

Attachment 2. Poplar Forest Metrics.xlsx (88 kB)
Poplar Forest Subfloor Pit Eggshell Assemblage (Excel source data)

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