ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE TILLETT SITE
OF SAMPLES FROM THE TILLETT SITE
Paul R. Green*
(*Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Economics, East Carolina University)
Twenty-four samples of waterscreened excavation fill from five units at the Tillett site (31DR35) were submitted for analysis. Macroscopic examination of the samples (Table C1) revealed the following:
(A) Several samples (1, 12, 17, 20, 23, 24) still contained large amounts of sediment and required additional waterscreening;
(B) Several samples are composed of a single constituent; 2 and 7 are wood charcoal, 16 is a crab claw fragment, and 15, 18, and 21 are entirely uncarbonized organic matter;
(C) Despite previous sorting, substantial amounts of shell, small animal bone, and uncarbonized organic matter remained in the samples.
All samples were weighed and sorted by class, with classes weighed and percentages of total sample calculated accordingly. Because of their small size or particular composition (e.g., large hunks of charcoal), seventeen of the twenty-four samples were sorted and weighed directly. The remaining seven were passed through geological sieves to aid in sorting and identification. Results of the sorting are given in Tables C2 (by weight) and C3 (by percentage). Carbonized wood fragments (as yet unidentified to genus and species, though it seems likely that the majority is oak, hickory, juniper, and pine) dominate the carbonized fraction in all samples.
Small animal bones (fish, birds, reptiles, and small mammals) comprise a modest (0.02 to 11.29%) but consistent fraction of the samples, and more so in -42L6 than 56R2. Several uncarbonized seeds were identified. Though of recent age and undoubtedly intrusive in nature to these sample contexts, they are given here for comparison and general interest:
DR35-15 - 1 seed, weight = 0.39 gm, Smilax sp. (hispida?) L., greenbrier.
DR35-18 - 1 seed, weight = 0.20 gm, Paspalum sp. L.
Uncarbonized seeds, currently unidentified, were also found in DR35-19 and 10. (Page 103)
Turning to potential food resources and other usable plants, we note again the presence of molluscan and vertebrate faunal remains. Table C4 lists potential plant food resources. A very small amount (0.25 gm) of acorn shell occurs in levels 1 and 3 of -42L6. Feature 6 (DR35-1) of that unit contained one seed of hackberry, whose berries are "available in autumn ... (and which grows) ... in rich, moist, well-drained soil, gravelly and rocky hillsides, and riverbanks; very shade tolerant" (Yarnell 1964:72).
Square -56R2, Feature 4, produced one seed each of cleavers and plantain, both of which mature from May to October and served medicinal purposes in some aboriginal groups. Feature 4 also contained two unidentified seeds, weighing 0.14 gm. Not included here are sixteen seeds and seed fragments of an unidentified seed, resembling Juniperus virginiana L. (Eastern Red/cedar); four of these were in Feature 4, twelve in Feature 5. (Page 104)
Sample DR35-4 from unit -48 contained 0.95 gm of hickory nutshell and meat fragments (Carya sp. Nutt.) (nuts available in October) and one seed of the "juniper" type noted earlier.
In summary, the plant remains and faunal resources are quite consistent with the notion of the site as a seasonal camp; a clearer idea of the diversity of plants available and utilized will be obtained when the remaining unidentified seeds are pinned down. (Page 107)
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