ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE TILLETT SITE
ANALYSIS OF FISH BONES
FROM THE WANCHESE SITE, 31DR35
(*Icthyology Section, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History)
The fish remains come from thirteen species, listed taxonomically with a brief comment on presence in site followed by statement of occurrence on North Carolina area.
Odontaspis taurus, sand tiger, two or three large individuals, available in shallow water and common June to September.
Myliobatidae, sting rays, common, two or three species available in warm months.
Lepisosteus osseus, longnose gar, fairly common in site, fresh and brackish water.
Arius felis, hardhead catfish, rare in site, common in warm months.
Ictalurus catus, white catfish, common in site and common in river mouths.
Archosargus probatocephalus, sheepshead, common in site, common in warm months.
Sciaenops ocellatus, red drum, common in site rare in bays, adults on high energy beaches, juveniles in brackish or freshwater.
Fogonias cromis, black drum, common in site, present April to December, most abundant April and November, often damages oyster beds.
Micropogonias undulatus, Atlantic croaker, common in site, common in brackish areas around river mouths.
Paralichthys, flounder, rare in site, common in estuaries and brackish water. One species enters fresh water.
Caranx hippos, jack crevalle, few large in site, most abundant in bay mouths.
Chilomycterus schoepfi, striped burrfish, few in site, most common in moderate to high salinity. (Page 117)
Cynoscion, seatrout, rare in site, common in bays, grass flats, moderate to high salinity.
Pomoxis or Centrarchus, speckled perch, rare in site, common in tidal freshwater.
Three species, Lepisosteus, Ictalurus, and Pomoxis (or Centrarchus) are f reshwater species that invade brackish water to some extent. Five estuarine species, Arius, Archosargus, Sciaenops, Micropogonias and Paralichthys all are known to invade freshwater and (except for Arius are common in the site.
One estuarine species Pogonias cromis is dietarily specialized to feed on infaunal molluscs and is known to do damage to oyster bars. Prehistorically it was probably abundant in shallow brackish areas where oysters were abundant. Myliobatis is common at the site and probably also was common in areas rich in benthic molluscs. The remaining more marine species Caranx, Chilomycterus, Cynoscion, and Odontaspis are rare in the site.
Taken together the species indicate warm season fishing high in the estuary around river mouths and other low salinity areas, with little or no effort in higher salinity areas. The large size of Pogonias and Sciaenops indicates harpoons, hook and line, or large nets were used to catch fish.
No sharp difference occurs between the two components, Mount Pleasant and Colington. The distribution of fish bones in the excavated units is given in Table E1, below.
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