Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Walter E. Klippel

Committee Members

David G. Anderson, Kandace R. Hollenbach


Excavated during the late 1960’s and mid 1970’s, Zebree (3MS20) serves as a well-known yet under-analyzed example of a Terminal Late Woodland/Early Mississippian (A.D. 800 to 1000) site in the Eastern Lowlands of the Central Mississippi Valley. In particular, a large portion of the vertebrate fauna collected during Zebree’s multi-season excavations has remained unidentified and unanalyzed since the initial site report. This research seeks to readdress the Terminal Late Woodland/Early Mississippian Big Lake phase (A.D. 800 to 1050) faunal collection in order to gain a more in-depth understanding of subsistence strategies at the Zebree site during a transitional time frame in the prehistory of this region.

While taxonomic identifications employed here are on par with previous faunal studies completed by Guilday and Parmalee (1975) and Roth (1980), the amount of detail recorded and the use of various analytical methodologies provide a more complete picture of the Big Lake Zebree village site. Results show that aquatic resources were most commonly procured and served as the foundation for the Big Lake vertebrate diet, yet significant biomass contributions were obtained from certain terrestrial taxa. Although no convincing evidence of social differentiation is found in the content or distribution of the samples, the data do show signs of a multi-season subsistence strategy and supports the idea that the Big Lake component at Zebree was a year-round settlement. A comparison of Zebree to two other Transitional Late Woodland/Early Mississippian sites in the Central Mississippi Valley suggests that this time frame is characterized by localized subsistence strategies that may correlate with changes in the horticultural regime.

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