Zooarchaeology of the Native American Sturgeon Fishery in Coastal Oregon, 350 BC to AD 1150

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 11 May, 2017 - 13:45
, Dalyn - University of Wyoming
, Austin - University of Oklahoma
, Courtney - Unversity of Oklahoma
, Torben - National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Sturgeon remains are relatively rare in the archaeological record due to their largely cartilaginous skeleton. What remains are the scutes, bony scale-like plates found on the outside of the body, and some diagnostic cranial features. Consequently, questions remain about both the prehistoric dietary importance of sturgeon and the species that were being exploited in western North America. The Par Tee site on the Oregon Coast produced a massive faunal collection, allowing for the comprehensive analysis of usually under-represented faunal categories. Two sturgeon species on the Northwest coast, Acipenser medirostris and Acipenser transmontanus are both of conservation concern. Here we present the results of our analysis of sturgeon remains from the Par Tee site, including abundance and element data and ancient DNA species identifications. These data provide the first species identifications for sturgeon from the Oregon Coast and enhance our understanding of the prehistoric fishery.