Defining fur trade diet in northern Alberta: an examination of faunal material from Fort Vermilion I

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Read, Joshua
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : Universtiy of Lethbridge, Department of Geography
This thesis presents the faunal material from Fort Vermilion I (IaQf-1), a northern Alberta fur trade site. These data, totaling 49,967 faunal elements, were used to study dietary practices at the fort. Statistical values (NISP, MNI, MAU) were combined with utility indices (MUI, SCI), historical documents, and modern butchering methods to examine species and element choice. Finally, faunal data from contemporaneous forts was presented to contextualize the differences noted in the Fort Vermilion I faunal assemblage. The presence of “preferred” animals (moose, beaver) suggests that fur traders at Fort Vermilion I experienced a high degree of dietary choice, while the lack of less desirable animals (snowshoe hare, elk) indicate that starvation was not common at Fort Vermilion I. Specific faunal elements showed that selection patterns described historically were present at the fort. Overall, Fort Vermilion I shows an atypical dietary signature, making it unique among Northern Alberta fur trade posts.
Fort Vermillion I Site (Alta.) , Trading posts -- Alberta, Northern -- History , Wildlife as food -- Alberta, Northern , Excavations (Archaeology) -- Alberta, Northern , Kitchen middens -- Alberta, Northern -- Analysis , Animal remains (Archaeology) -- Alberta, Northern , Fur trade -- Canada , Fur traders -- Alberta, Northern , Diet -- Alberta, Northern -- HIstory , Food habits -- Alberta, Northern -- History , dietary options , faunal material , northern fur trade forts