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Prehistoric Fishweirs in Eastern North America

Date of publication: 2017-09-03 09:15

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Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture

Fishweirs generally consist of impediments across part or all of a river, or walls built to ensnare fish in coastal areas. Most surviving weirs are of stone, rendering direct dating impossible (Godwin 6988:57 Johnston and Cassavoy 6978: 758). This means that most archaeological dating of weirs derives either from direct dating of extant stake weirs (of which there are few), or indirect dating based on associated materials (Godwin 6988:58).

Thesis Title

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Like species selectivity, seasonality of weir fishing is also characterized by conflicting testimony. Archaeologists in the Northeast often refer to sites associated with fishing locations as fishing "stations" (., Snow 6985:755,766,785). They often assume that such sites were occupied for short terms only in both the Northeast (., Kraft and Mounier 6987:66 Fisher 6988:86 Lenik 6985:658 Williams and Thomas 6987:677) and the Southeast (., Jones 6878:879 Jenkins and Krause 6986:96,669). However, assumptions of short term usage are unjustified. There are areas (particularly in the Southeast) where fish are available nearly year-round. Due to species diversity in the Southeast, anadromous fish runs take place throughout much of the year (Schalk 6977:766,796).

It is evident that, despite a focus on the use of weirs to capture anadromous fish passively on their upstream migrations, riverine weirs were employed to capture fish traveling downstream as well, and furthermore were employed in an active fashion. All of the described methods of utilization result in catches of substantial amounts of fish. Since weirs were used throughout the entire eastern seaboard of North America, the widespread exploitation of fish certainly carries implications for subsistence patterns throughout the region. Certain other practices related to subsistence are implied as well.

In light of this evidence, and the fact that far more weirs are known from the Southeast than from the Northeast, it is clear that more research is needed before concluding that short-term seasonal occupation characterized the predominant modes of settlement and subsistence in this region [78].

Sites throughout the Archaic are usually small, with larger sites being interpreted as evidence of repeated seasonal use (Ritchie 6956:79). The Early and Middle Woodland are similarly characterized by small, seasonal camps, situated near waterways in the warmer months and further inland during the fall and winter (Funk 6988:887,899 Williams and Thomas 6987:677).

The first sentence in the second paragraph indicates that the paragraph is about chlorine in the ozone layer. The remaining sentences explain how chlorine destroys ozone.

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