The Effects of Warfare on the Daily Food Quest: Changes in Fishing Strategies in the Mississippian-period Central Illinois River Valley

Poster Session
Haas, Hannah - University of California, Santa Barbara
Amber Vanderwarker - University of California, Santa Barbara
Greg Wilson - University of California, Santa Barbara

Starting around AD 1200, warfare significantly increased in the Central Illinois River Valley, creating major safety concerns that would have led to alterations in subsistence strategies. It is hypothesized that with increasing violence and hindered mobility, villagers would have restructured their fishing strategies to limit the number of fishing trips and shift to more efficient mass capture strategies. Our analysis compares fish assemblages recovered at five Mississippian sites spanning three time periods: the Eveland phase (AD 1100-1200) predating increased violence; the Orendorf phase (AD 1200-1250) marking the shift to increased violence; and the Larsen phase (AD 1250-1300), a time of continued warfare. We test a possible shift towards net-fishing through (1) measurements of fish vertebral centra, and (2) changes in the dietary contribution of fish (relative to other classes).  We compare these variables among the sites in order to better understand changes in fishing strategies coincident with increasing violence.