Date of Award

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Jean L. Hudson

Committee Members

Robert J. Jeske, Brian D. Nicholls


Faunal Analysis, Food Processing, GIS Archaeology, Vertebrate Diet, Wisconsin Archaeology, Zooarchaeology


The focus of this study is the intrasite analysis of the vertebrate faunal assemblage from the Finch Site. The Finch Site (47JE-0902) is located in Jefferson County, southeastern Wisconsin, roughly one mile east from Lake Koshkonong’s southeastern shoreline and the Rock River drainage. Stratigraphy and diagnostic artifacts from numerous cultural features indicate that the site was repeatedly occupied over a temporal span of several thousand years including Paleoindian, Archaic, and Woodland periods. Faunal remains were recovered from 169 excavated units and 119 cultural features across the full horizontal extent of the site.

Investigations of faunal remains from archaeological sites can yield interpretations about prehistoric diet, resource acquisition strategies, food processing, and site function. The multicomponent nature of the Finch site assemblage offers an exceptional opportunity to analyze and explore possible chronological shifts in diet and resource utilization at a single locale. This thesis focuses on the following questions. What vertebrate resources were utilized by occupants of the Finch site? Does vertebrate resource use change through time? What evidence is there for food processing at the site? Does food processing intensity change through time? Where is vertebrate resource use identified spatially at the Finch site? Does vertebrate use change spatially through time?

The total sample analyzed consists of 14,544 vertebrate remains collected from a combination of dry-screen, water-screen, and flotation recovery techniques. Temporal comparisons are made between proveniences using vertebrate class-level identifications. Species level identifications are used in an attempt to identify the season of occupation for the site. A Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis is applied to taxonomic identifications, fragmentation data, and categories of burned bone to investigate differences in the spatial and temporal utilization of the site and to identify patterning in food processing.