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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter highlights zooarchaeology’s contribution to our understanding of the trade in animal pelts (furs, skins, and hides) that flourished between Native Americans and Europeans in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in eastern North America. Hides from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) dominated exchanges in the southern trades, whereas the northern trades focused mainly on acquiring pelts from American beaver (Castor canadensis) and other fur-bearing animals. Zooarchaeological signatures of hunting to procure deerskins for commercial trade are outlined on the basis of evidence from Native American animal economies in southwestern Virginia. A case study focused on early historic-period Susquehannock deer hunting and beaver harvesting in south-central Pennsylvania is then presented.

Keywords: pelts, furs, hides, deerskins, deer, beaver, hunting, Native American, early historic period, eastern North America

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