Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Charles R Cobb


A diachronic analysis of five faunal assemblages from Chickasaw sites is carried out to evaluate their anthropogenic ecological impacts during the colonial time period (A.D. 1650-1750). Change in faunal exploitation, diversity measures and disturbance taxa frequencies are analyzed to gauge these impacts. A comparison with late Mississippian period faunal use provides a benchmark to examine how shifts in the cultural system initiated new ecological impacts. Results from the faunal analysis are also compared with reports of faunal utilization and landscape management practices in the historical record. These reports provide a basis for assessing change in prey preferences according to the social context of the colonial era which demonstrates that change in faunal utilization can be attributed to the implementation of a new social order. The presented evidence is used to further the goals of historical ecology and confront the ecologically noble savage slot by showing the Chickasaw impacted their environment in a multitude of ways and did so in a strategic effort that best contributed to their survival.


© 2014, Marybeth Harte

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