Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Detailed faunal analyses were conducted on two major subsistence resources, oysters and marine catfish, at Rollins Shell Ring, a Late Archaic (5000 – 3000 B.P.) site on the northeast coast of Florida. The focus of this investigation was on resource exploitation, and, specifically, whether there was evidence that oysters from this site were over-exploited. Three units from previous excavations at the site were selected for analysis, and represent the span of occupation recorded for this site. Measurements were obtained from oysters to determine habitat, and, along with shell height, were compared across time for any changes in the pattern of exploitation that would indicate over-exploitation. Marine catfish otoliths were used to provide seasonal data for oyster harvesting, as well as information on fish ages and harvesting of this resource. My analysis revealed that the majority of oysters used in the construction of the main shell ring, ringlets, and other structures at this site were harvested from the same habitat. While there were differences in oyster habitat exploitation and shell height between samples, the difference was attributed to the variability of oyster habitats exploited and shell height in the earliest sample of the analysis, Test Unit 10, and in the latest sample, Test Unit 2; there was less variability noted in oyster habitat and shell height for the middle activity period recorded at the site, Test Unit 12c. Further results indicated a seasonal preference for exploitation of both oyster and marine catfish in warm water temperatures, and that oyster resources did not appear to be under stress during the period of activity recorded for the site. These data suggest that it is unlikely that over-exploitation of oysters played a role in permanent site abandonment.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Saunders, Rebecca