The excavation of two 17th-century sites in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, provides an opportunity to explore the impacts of domesticated livestock on the surrounding landscape. Faunal assemblages are analyzed following Henry Miller’s (1984, 1988) foundational study of subsistence practices of early English colonists in the Tidewater region. Data sets from Sparrow’s Rest (18AN1436) and Shaw’s Folly (18AN339) are examined to determine the percentages of domestic livestock vs. wild game consumed by the families at each site as compared to the patterns identified on contemporaneous sites in Miller’s survey, as well as to elucidate potential environmental impacts from the free-ranging herds of cattle and swine. Analysis shows the Shaw and Sparrow families relied primarily on domesticated livestock, rather than exploiting indigenous mammal, bird, and fish species for the majority of their dietary needs. However, each family’s domesticated livestock reshaped the colonial landscape, causing far greater impacts than 17th-century subsistence and cultivation practices alone.
Hall, Valerie M. J.
"“Wild Neat Cattle…”: Using Domesticated Livestock to Engineer Colonial Landscapes in Seventeenth-Century Maryland,"
Northeast Historical Archaeology:
47, Article 8.
Available at: https://orb.binghamton.edu/neha/vol47/iss1/8