Faunal Research


While the primary research focus at Bone Sharp is the identification of faunal remains, we also offer another service. This is production of reports that integrate the primary historical sources into the analysis. The sources take the form of ethnohistoric and ethnographic studies, historic documents and oral histories.

Over the years through close associations with Plimoth Plantation, Inc. and various historical societies, Bone Sharp has built up a data base of seventeenth through nineteenth century sources. These sources pertain to the utilization of faunal resources by Native and non-Native peoples in New England. Other areas of study have been eighteenth century Virginia slave society, seventeenth century Native and Colonial foodway patterns, and nineteenth century rural Rhode Island and Boston.

This combination of archaeological and historical research enables us to help our clients interpret their assemblages more fully.

    Plymouth Colony Livestock This work is the first in a series of studies on the integration of the historical records and the archaeological data on the animals raised and used by the inhabitants of Plymouth Colony, 1620 to 1691, and subsequently the 18th and 19th centuries. The present study is an introduction to the livestock, and the archaeological deadstock, of Plymouth Colony.
    C-04 Robert Bartlett II Site Faunal Analysis site is located in South Plymouth, Massachusetts just on the other side of the Eel river from the Plimoth Plantation museum. The site was initially believed to be the home of Robert Bartlett, a colonist who arrived on the Fortune in 1623. Unfortunately, the artifacts recovered place the date of occupation at late 17th to early 18th century. It is now believed that the site was the home of Robert Bartlett II, Robert’s son, and dates from 1678-1743.
    C-06 Bradford II Faunal Analysis is located in Kingston, Massachusetts. Local tradition said that this was the homesite that Mayflower passenger William Bradford established in the second quarter of the seventeenth century. A stone marker was even placed on the site by the Society of Bradford Descendents stating the same. The late Dr. James Deetz was given the opportunity to excavate this site in 1960′s. During the course of the excavations he identified a typical hall and parlor house plan, two rooms flanking a central chimney and a lean-to addition on the rear, that had been robbed of its foundation stones, and a cellar hole. The majority of the material recovered came from the cellar hole. Stratigraphy within the cellar hole showed that the house had been dismantled in the 1730s and the cellar hole subsequently partially filled in. Later in the nineteenth century, more household rubbish was thrown into the depression left by the filling of the cellar hole, essentially filling the hole up.