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People of the Clam: Shellfish and Diet in Coastal Maine Late Archaic and Ceramic Period Sites
Arthur E. Spiess

Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume 10 (2017): 105–112

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Journal of the North Atlantic A.E. Spiess 2017 Special Volume 10 105 Introduction Data presented here indicate that clams were important to the diet of native peoples, and therefore possibly to the settlement pattern, along the Maine coast, rather than being reserve food of convenience for winter or bad-weather use. The importance of clams in coastal Maine pre-Contact diets is not an effect of ecological change or population growth in the last two or three millennia. Clams may have been relatively more important to the diet compared with vertebrates during the Late Archaic period than during more recent Ceramic (Woodland) period (Spiess and Lewis 2001). The coast of Maine, its ecology and cultures, have changed dramatically over time since the last glaciation. Coastal bedrock has been subsiding at various rates along the coast, with maximum postglacial relative emergence about 13,000 (cal) years ago. Combined with post-glacial sea-level rise, the coast has been transgressed by the sea at varying rates (Belknap et al. 1989, Kelley et al. 2010), with a generally sequential erosion of the older coastal sites (Fig. 1). Tidal amplification, increasing intertidal zone size, and the cooling effects of tide-driven upwelling have accelerated during the last few millennia (Spiess and Lewis 2001:159–161 for references). Evidence (e.g, stone tools) of some of the earlier coastal archaeological sites survives underwater (Kelley et al. 2010), but the terrestrial coastal archaeological record has been truncated. The erosional effects of relative sea-level rise have been less intense along the central coast of Maine, where the earliest surviving terrestrial components date to about 5000 B.P. (radiocarbon), during the Late Archaic period (Bourque 1995, Spiess and Lewis 2001). Several Late Archaic cultures (Smallstemmed point, Moorhead phase, 5000 to 3800 B.P.) preceded a terminal Archaic Susquehanna tradition (3800 to 2800 B.P.) occupation of the coast. After ca. 2800 B.P., a sequence of cultures used ceramic pots, subdivided into the Early, Middle, and Late Ceramic period (also called Woodland, or Maritime Woodland elsewhere in New England and the Maritime Provinces). Shellfish (clam, mussel, oyster) have played a part in coastal Maine subsistence for at least 9000 years (Kelley et al. 2010), though much of the early record has been submerged. The terrestrial coastal sites that remain uneroded often contain substantial amounts of shell, called shell middens. Many archeologists have assumed or commented casually that the shells in these middens, which are mostly softshell clam (Mya arenaria), represent a “fall back” or predictable reserve food resource, particularly for the winter, based on some ethnographic accounts from the region (Spiess and Lewis 2001:139–140). Others have speculated about the importance of shellfish in regional coastal diet, and its relatively recent importance based on a perceived increase in the number of shell middens about 2000 years ago (Braun 1974, Perlman 1980, Yesner 1980); however, these authors failed to understand the erosional effects of sea-level rise. Even after 150 years of investigation of Maine shell middens (Spiess 1985), there are only 3 sites where quantitative work, such as counting of shellfish hinge parts or weight or volume estimates of shell and bone, can be used to estimate the numbers of individual shellfish harvested and compare weight or numbers of shellfish with that of vertebrate faunal remains: Indiantown Island near Boothbay (Spiess et al. 2006), Kidder Point (Spiess and Hedden 1983) on upper Penobscot Bay, and the Turner Farm (Bourque 1995, Spiess and Lewis 2001) on North Haven Island in the middle of Penobscot Bay (Fig. 2). The lower levels from the People of the Clam: Shellfish and Diet in Coastal Maine Late Archaic and Ceramic Period Sites Arthur E. Spiess* Abstract - Relatively few shell midden sites around the Gulf of Maine have been excavated and analyzed for the quantity of shellfish incorporated into the site. Such data would help us understand the intensity of past shellfish-harvesting pressure on nearby shellfish beds, and the ef fects of shellfish collection on settlement patterns. Moreover , the relative amounts of protein contributed to diet by shellfish versus vertebrates, based on the remains discarded in the midden, indicate that shellfish may have provided the majority of dietary protein. In particular, the softshell clam (Mya arenaria) was of primary importance to regional coastal subsistence and not just a bad-w eather, last-resort food. North American East Coast Shell Midden Research Journal of the North Atlantic *Maine Historic Preservation Commission, 65 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333; arthur.spiess@maine.gov. 2017 Special Volume 10:105–112 Journal of the North Atlantic A.E. Spiess 2017 Special Volume 10 106 Turner Farm are Late Archaic in age, but the upper strata at the Turner Farm and the other 2 sites are all Middle to early Late Ceramic, or Middle to early Late Woodland in age. Corn, bean, and squash horticulture did not arrive in Maine until 1100 to 1200 A.D, at the beginning of the Late Ceramic or late Woodland period, and then it was confined to southwestern Maine (Asch Sidell Figure 1. Relative sea level (shoreline elevation) along the coast of Maine since ice retreat, in calibrated or calendar years. Note that relative sea-level rise has been about 2 m in the last 4000 years. However, tidal amplitude has increased as well. Graphic from Joseph Kelley, used with permission. For further information see Kelley et al. (2010). Figure 2. Three shell middens with quantitative shell and vertebrate fauna data shown on a graphic of the central Maine coast. Journal of the North Atlantic A.E. Spiess 2017 Special Volume 10 107 1999). Horticulture did not penetrate into the central Maine coast or the Canadian Maritime provinces until after European arrival. Therefore, the small sample of shell midden sites examined in this paper were created by hunter-gatherer-fishers, without the effects of agricultural carbohydrates on diet or the effects of seasonal farming on settlement pattern. The Data Base: Shell Midden Numbers, Chr onology, and Sea-Level Rise There are ~2000 shell middens, or habitation sites incorporating shell into the site matrix, located along the Maine shoreline. A total of 1730 shell midden sites are currently listed in the Maine prehistoric archaeological database (MHPC data). Mya or softshell clam comprises 95% or more of the shell in these sites. Mussel shell, which preserves poorly, and other shellfish species (e.g., hard shell clam or quahog [Mercenaria], oyster [Crassostrea]) comprise most of the rest (Spiess and Lewis 2001 with references). Only 320 of these sites have been assessed for age of occupation either by excavation or recovery of age-diagnostic artifacts from eroded context. (For this paper, I omit Contact period and Euroamerican historic components; thus my assessment is for pre- European-age sites.) Ninety-five percent of these 320 sites have recorded Ceramic period (ca. 2800 to 400 B.P.) components exclusively, or a Ceramic period upper stratigraphic component. Approximately 40 sites have Late Archaic components (12%), including 15 identified as Moorehead phase and 21 as Susquehanna tradition. Among the sites with known-age Ceramic period components, there are 22 identified as Early Ceramic (Vinette I ceramics, 2800 to 2200 B.P.), 85 as Middle Ceramic (ca. 2200 to 800 B.P.), and 83 as Late Ceramic (cord-wrapped stick and later ceramics, 800 to 400 B.P.) It is likely that the larger and deeper shell-middens are overrepresented in the samples of sites with “known age” cultural components because they have attracted more professional archaeological attention. These larger sites tend to be the ones with the earlier components. The majority of the smaller sites, mostly not assessed for age, are probably Middle and/or Late Ceramic. Thus, the vast majority of the ~2000 shell midden sites along the Maine coast cover a roughly 1800-year span of time from about 2200 to about 400 B.P. As mentioned above, relative sea level is rising along the coast of Maine. All of the Early and Middle Archaic coastal archaeological record is now under water (e.g., Kelley et al. 2010). Younger coastal sites are differentially preserved in lesseroded condition. Mid-coast Maine (Penobscot Bay) has the oldest un-eroded shell midden layers at the base of some sites: Late Archaic, with a maximum age of ~5000 years. The coastal archaeological record could be conceived as a sliding window of visibility for shell middens. They have been formed for millennia by people living on the shore near clam or other shellfish beds, and then eroded as the coast, mud flats, and estuaries move inland with sea-level rise. The window of time for shell midden survival is a little larger in mid-coast Maine then elsewhere along the coast because the rate of relative sea-level rise is lower there for unknown reasons. Publications from 40 years ago (Braun 1974, Yesner 1980) often focused on a supposed sudden efflorescence of shellfish productivity and midden formation, and gave the impression that Gulf of Maine coast Indians “discovered” shellfish about 2000 to 3000 years ago. This impression is simply an effect of differential preservation due to relative sealevel rise and erosion (Kellogg 1995). Enough Late Archaic components are still extant (with oyster, quahog, and softshell clam), and enough dated oyster, softshell, and hard shell clam shells have been recovered from inshore sea-bottom cores associated with an archaeological site (e.g., Kelley et al. 2010), to know that oysters and both species of clams have been available on the Maine coast for 10,000 years. Shell Middens, Shellfish, and Coastal Settlement Patterns Shell midden locations and coastal settlement patterns are one possible expression of the importance of shellfish in prehistoric diet, in addition to the quantitative data explored below. A comparison of coastal archaeological site location and modern (ca. 2010) mapped clam-flats (MHPC and Maine Office of GIS data) visually reveals a high correlation between the site locations and clam flats (Fig. 3). Most of the shell middens are 2000 years or less in age, as discussed above. I assume that the clam flats may have been present for centuries to a millennium, with some recent enhancement in clam-flat area in the upper reaches of bays and estuaries due to relative sea-level rise and migration of estuarine environments inland. Shell midden sites were apparently not, however, placed at locations specifically for clam-flat access. Statistical work by the late Douglas Kellogg (1987, 1994, 1995), as student of David Sanger, indicate that more than 80% of coastal shell midden sites are located on relatively flat, relatively welldrained pieces of ground (of an acre or less in size, Journal of the North Atlantic A.E. Spiess 2017 Special Volume 10 108 sometimes), with an east through south or southwest aspect, and immediately abutting a cobble, gravel, or sand beach. Even a small or “pocket” beach that was accessible at all tides served to attract local adjacent settlement. The Ceramic period people were birchbark canoe-based travelers, who camped where they could land or launch a canoe at any tide (Ibid.). These sites are also all within a few hundred yards or less of a clam flat, so access from the habitation site to the clam flat was by foot and/or canoe with minimal effort. Thus it seems clear that along with other factors, access to clam flats was a major determinant for coastal settlement location (and shell midden formation at the settlements). Shell midden locations may be useful in testing hypotheses of shellfish importance in the diet. If clams or other shellfish were an emergency resource, then foot access to the clam flats or shellfish beds during weeks of stormy winter weather would have been a necessity. Denys (1908:359) in fact states that oysters were “a great manna for the winter when the weather does not permit going on the hunt” in 17th-century Nova Scotia (see also Spiess and Lewis 2001:139–140 for discussion and other references). If clams were utilized for more than a bad-weather emergency resource, then presumably the need would not have been for so physically close an association, but rather an easy canoe paddle to access any clam flat within a few kilometers in reasonably protected inshore water of the coast would have sufficed. Unfortunately, the resolution of the data (e.g., site locations, clam-flat size and location) do not at present allow a test of the hypothesis of winter/bad-weather foot access versus canoe-based access to the clam flats. A focus on winter-season clam harvesting would support the “bad-weather emergency resource” hypothesis. It is relatively easy to cut a section through a clam shell and detect the season of death or harvest, in the case of the shells in a midden (e.g., Spiess and Hedden 1983:106–107, Spiess and Lewis 2001:49–54 with references). The key is reading the width and growth status of the last layer formed when the clam died. Only a relatively few Maine shell middens have been investigated with shellfish seasonality techniques (A.E. Spiess, unpubl. data). There are some sites with warm-season (late spring, summer, fall) harvests (e.g., Kidder Point; Spiess and Hedden 1983), some with cold-season harvests (winter and early spring; e.g., Indiantown Island; Spiess et al. 2006:177), and shell middens with multiple seasons represented (e.g., Turner Farm; Spiess and Lewis 2001). We do have enough information from clam and vertebrate season-of-harvest information at various sites to say that Ceramic period people were living on the coast of Maine all year around. The coast was not deserted, nor were shellfish ignored, for any particular season during the Ceramic period. Moreover, the numbers of shellfish harvested seem beyond “emergency” food use, as we shall see below. Figure 3. The spatial coincidence of coastal archaeological sites (shell middens, blue squares ½ km scale) and modern (ca. 2010 mapped) Mya shellfish flats (red-filled areas) in the Mount Desert/Frenchman’s Bay area of the Maine coast. View is ~44 km across, east to west. Journal of the North Atlantic A.E. Spiess 2017 Special Volume 10 109 Quantification of Shell Fish Before examining quantitative data, we must point out that the soft parts of clams, and shellfish in general, are a source of protein but not fat. In a hunter-gatherer-fisher diet without substantial carbohydrates from corn or crops, calories are derived from fat at the rate of 9000 kcal/kilogram. And if fat is in short supply, the body will derive calories from meat protein at 4000 kcal/kilogram of (dry) meat, but that is a starvation diet and will eventually cause kidney function problems (e.g., Guyton and Hall 2000:804ff; Scrimshaw and Young 1976). During the Archaic and Ceramic periods along the Maine coast, dietary fat (calories) was derived from fish oil and mammal and bird fat, including seal oil. What we will look at now is the shellfish contribution to the protein portion of the Maine coastal Native American diet. See also Erlandson (1988) for a primarily west-coast–oriented review, including the important factor that shellfish contribute primarily to the protein fraction of diet. The most-detailed quantification of clam shell and vertebrate bone of a Maine shell midden so far accomplished was done for an excavation project on a large shell-midden on Indiantown Island, near Boothbay, central Maine coast (Spiess et al. 2006). The Indiantown Island site shell-midden covers over 3000 m2, with the deepest portion, ~850 m2 in areal extent, having a depth of 1.0 to 1.3 m. Thirtyfive m2 were excavated. Shell chondrophores were counted, shell was weighed, column samples were fine screened, vertebrate bone was separated into fish, mammal, and bird and counted and weighed (as well as identified, tested for season of death, etc.). The 1.3-m-deep main portion of the site was accumulated during the Middle and Late Ceramic period, beginning about 2300 years ago, and ending about 600 years ago, for a total span of 1700 years. During this entire time, the season of occupation was winter and early spring, with a major spring cod fish (Gadus) harvest at the end of the occupation. As mentioned, the deepest part of the site covers 850 m2. We calculated 510,000 kg of shell in this area. Based on the size distribution of the clams, 150 clam shells weigh ~2 kg; so this midden represents millions of clams that were harvested. We calculated 980,000 kg (~1 million kg) of clam shell in the site as it is preserved on the landscape, or ~35 million clams harvested and deposited in the midden (data in Spiess et al. 2006:179:table 15). Most of that harvest occurred within a 1700-year span of time, or an average of 20,000 clams/year. There are large gaps in the Ceramic period sequence, so peak harvest years may have approached 50,000 clams, in a seasonal occupation of 4 months or so. Clams are about 2/3 shell and 1/3 wet-meat weight when alive, so the total harvest at the site is about 1.5 million kg of clams. A rough average annual clam harvest rate would be 1000 kg per year over 1700 years. That is the level of productivity that the Indiantown Island site Ceramic period inhabitants would have achieved from the clam flats they harvested. Today, Maine softshell clams are harvested by hand in the intertidal zone using steel digging forks. The Ceramic period people probably used digging sticks or fingers, but the general approach was similar. The modern softshell clam harvest from mud flats in some of the most productive coastal towns of Maine range from 5000 to 100,000 lbs per year, or roughly 2500 to 50,000 kg per township (Maine DMR 2014). Hancock and Sullivan townships, in upper Frenchman’s Bay near Acadia National Park, consistently have the largest annual clam harvests along the Maine coast from about 20 linear km of clam flats. Combined, these townships yield 50,000 to 200,000 lbs of clams per year (variable harvest over several decades). At 1000 kg (2200 pounds) per year, the inhabitants of Indiantown Island may have been approaching the sustainable harvest limit on the clam flats within a kilometer or two radius of the site, although the site may only have been occupied for 4 months of each year. At a smaller, eroded clam-midden site on Kidder Point, in upper Penobscot Bay, a colleague and I hand-counted about 32,000 clam hinges in the excavated area (Spiess and Hedden 1983). The site was a summer camp site, of Early and early Middle Ceramic age. The midden was not a single occupation, but a limited number of occupations over ~500 years of time. Although the site was too disturbed to yield useful data for shorter occupation spans (individual occupations), direct counting of clam numbers indicated substantial harvest rates for clams during a warm-season occupation. Over a period of more than a decade, Bourque excavated from the Turner Farm site, a large shellmidden about 1.5 m deep on North Haven Island in the middle of Penobscot Bay, an estimated half of the total volume of the site (Bourque 1995, Spiess and Lewis 2001). The earliest shell-midden layer, Occupation 2, is Late Archiac Moorehead phase, about 4200 years old. Occupation 3 is Susquehanna tradition, about 3600 years old. Occupation 4 is a series of Ceramic period (Woodland) occupations, encompassing from the beginning to the end of the Ceramic period. The site was excavated without screening, but we (Spiess and Lewis 2001:92–97) did some quantification of shellfish in the site from Journal of the North Atlantic A.E. Spiess 2017 Special Volume 10 110 We have total clam-shell weight and bird, fish, and mammal bone weights (and counts) for the excavated middle Ceramic period occupation at Indiantown Island (Table 1). It is fairly simple to correct from whole carcass bone weight for fish, bird, and mammal to total (wet) meat weight, and also from softshell clam shell weight to total (wet) clam meat weight (see Spiess et al. 2006 for data). In large mammals, bone weight multiplied by 15 gives a reasonable wet meat weight. In large fish (such as cod) the multiplier is 50 (Spiess et al 2006). For clams, wet meat weight is 55% of shell weight, so a multiplier of 0.55 is applied. Twelve kilograms of fish bone, mostly cod, constituted tens of thousands of bone fragments at the Indiantown Island site. At Indiantown Island, the relative protein contribution to the seasonal (winter, early spring primarily) diet can be calculated from the remains deposited in the Middle Ceramic period excavated area of the midden. Mammals contributed about 2%, fish (primarily cod) about 7%, and clams about 90% of the protein meat weight (Spiess et al. 2006:182). Similarly, at Kidder Point, we weighed clam shells and vertebrate bone. At that summer Early Ceramic period site, mammals contributed about 13% and clams about 86% of the protein. Fish and birds were insignificant components of the remains there. Similar results have been obtained by analysis of shell midden sites in the Quoddy Region of New Brunswick (Black 1992), where calculated total meat weight contribution by shellfish ranged from 35% to 95% in 9 Maritime Woodland components. The quantification of shell and bone at the Turner Farm is on a less-precise basis than at the Indiantown and Kidder Point sites. For various reasons, we can only compare the relative diet contributions of different faunal taxa at Turner Farm among the various levels at the Turner Farm. But one fact stands out. The relative amount of clam shell to vertebrate bone is higher in the Late Archaic level than in the Ceramic levels (Spiess and Lewis 2001:149). In fact, the evidence indicates that clams were twice as important to the Late Archaic Moorehead phase bulk samples taken from various layers. All occupations at the site are multi-seasonal, including cold and warm season, and perhaps at some times the site had people living on it year-round. In the excavated area of the Turner Farm site, Occupation 2 or Moorehead phase Late Archaic inhabitants left the shells of about 1 million clams. Occupation 3 or Susquehanna tradition inhabitants left the shells of about 800,000 clams. All of the Ceramic or Woodland period occupations left the shells of 6 million clams. (We have individual clam counts but not weights for this site.) The site has been partially eroded, so these are underestimates of total harvest. Based on the stratigraphy and horizontal distribution patterns of the site (Bourque 1995), the Late Archaic and Susquehanna tradition layers were probably preserved mostly in the excavated area. The unexcavated volume of the site is probably Ceramic period in age. As speculation, if the excavation left 50% to 60% of the volume of the Ceramic period deposit unexcavated, then 12 to 15 million clams were harvested over roughly 2500 years, or a long-term average of 6000 clams/year. Relative Protein Contributions of Shellfish and Vertebrates We are sure that shellfish, primarily Mya or softshell clam, were an important component of coastal diet. The dietary contribution was for protein, not fat or carbohydrate. For vertebrate bone and meat weights, we use data on total bone weight and body mass from specimens in the Maine Historic Preservation Commission comparative faunal collection. For example, a deer of dressed weight 79 kg has a total bone weight of 5.9 kg, and a Gadid (fish, cod family) of 1.7 kg dressed weight has a total bone weight of 0.31 kg. (see Spiess et al. 2006:181:table 16 for data and discussion). Converting bone weight to dressed (meat, fat, skin, and bone weight) is comparatively straightforward. Returning to the Indiantown Island data, the detailed analysis (Spiess et al. 2006) of that site produced good estimates of total clam-shell weight and fish, mammal, and bird bone weight from the excavated area, again of Middle Ceramic period age. There was no hint that fish, mammal, or bird bone was being differentially discarded. For example cod fish head bones and vertebra were all abundant in the site, so the cod heads were not being lopped off and thrown into the ocean. (In fact, they were most likely being made into soup.) Likewise, with the exception of moose (Alces alces), whose distal limb bones are slightly over-represented, the parts of mammal skeletons appear on site without bias of skeletal element. Table 1. Relative contribution to the protein portion of the diet of major classes of fauna from the excavated area of the Indiantown Island site. See Spiess et al. (2006) for further information. Correction factor = bone or shell to meat weight. Total bone Total Percentage or shell Correction meat meat weight (kg) factor: contribution contribution Mammal 12.47 1:15 187.0 2.1% Bird 0.47 1:20 9.4 0.1% Fish 11.79 1:50 589.6 6.6% Clam 14,895.00 100:55 8129.0 91.2% Journal of the North Atlantic A.E. Spiess 2017 Special Volume 10 111 coast, consumption of the stored, dried clams would have been spread out over the year. In opposition, we have the data from the summer Kidder Point site in upper Penobscot Bay with a similar overload of clam protein compared to vertebrate protein. One logical answer to this seeming conundrum would be coastal-interior trade in dried and smoked shellfish meat, but again there is no ethnographic evidence for such trade. Conclusion Clams and other shellfish were not just an emergency food; rather, they appear to have been a primary source of protein in the diet of coastal Archaic and Ceramic period people around the Gulf of Maine. At a few sites where we can quantify this contribution, clams supplied 90% of the protein, although most of the data come from 2 relatively short-term, seasonal occupations (Indiantown Island, winter to early spring; Kidder Point, summer). Moreover, clams were relatively less important during the Ceramic period than they had been during the Late Archaic, compared to vertebrates (fish, mammals, birds) at least at the Turner Farm. Fish, mammals, and birds were, however, undoubtedly supplying the majority of the calories in the coastal diet in the form of fat. It is time to rethink some of our assumptions about coastal life around the Gulf of Maine, including what factors were driving local and regional settlement patterns. At least during the Ceramic period, some of the population was resident on the coast year-round (multi-seasonally). The importance of the clam (and other shellfish) to the diet must have had an effect on coastal settlement pattern, balanced by the potential for over-harvest of clam flats accessible by canoe. The importance of clams in the diet might have controlled both the size, duration, and intensity of coastal settlement, with clam flats acting as a settlement attractor, and rate of clam harvest acting as a limit to settlement concentration, or dispersor. Literature Cited Asch Sidell, N. 1999. Prehistoric plant use in Maine: Paleoindian to Contact Period. Pp. 191–223, In J.P. Hart (Ed.). Current Northeast Paleoethnobotany, New York State Museum Bulletin 494, Albany, NY, USA. Belknap, D.F., R.C. Shipp, R. Stuckenrath, J.T. Kelley, and H.W. Borns Jr. 1989. Holocene sea-level change in coastal Maine. Pp. 85–105, In W.A. Anderson and H.W. Borns Jr. (Eds.). Neotectonics of Maine: Studies in Seismicity, Crustal Warping, and Sea-Level Change. Bulletin 40, Maine Geological Survey, Augusta, ME, USA. diet than they were in the Ceramic period diet at this site, compared with vertebrate meat. To say that another way, the relative contribution of clams to the diet was apparently decreased from the Late Archaic to the Ceramic period. For one thing, these data completely destroy any hypothesis (ca. 1980) focusing on how coastal Indians learned to harvest clams efficiently only during the Ceramic or Woodland period, and how the importance of the shellfish increased dramatically during the Ceramic period. Discussion There are, of course, many assumptions and considerations herein. We could assume that some of the clams were being used to bait cod fish hooks at Indiantown Island, a likely assumption based on ethnographic accounts. Still, one does not use 8000 kg of clam meat to catch 12 kg of cod. Since there is little or no evidence of differential discard of vertebrate body parts on or off site, so no way to get rid of evidence of vertebrate catch, how do we interpret these data? Moreover, in non-agricultural societies along the Maine coast, the mammals, birds, and fish were supplying the vast majority of the fat and calories in the diet (with a possible exception of nuts and some wild plants). However, it seems that clams were supplying the bulk of the protein, and therefore clams had to have been a critical resource. Ethnographic accounts from Maine and the Canadian Maritime provinces record Indians storing seal oil in bladders. One recorded use of that oil was to add it to meals (Denys 1908 [1672]:253, 350), much as we dip steamed clams or lobster in butter today. Thus, the shellfish protein is recorded in ethnographic accounts as a primary diet item, supplemented with fat. There are a few accounts of Indians on the coast of Maine specifically smoking or drying shellfish for storage, transport, and later use. For example, in 1786, five canoes of Penobscots were observed returning from the coast to the Indian Island area (up the Penobscot River, near Bangor) with “some pots and kettles full of boiled clams” and “parched clams stuck on long sticks like candlerods” (Little 1786:79). However, Black and Whitehead (1988) have proposed that such drying and storage was a major factor driving the harvest of shellfish, based on their work on the New Brunswick coast. The ethnographic record of the Gulf of Maine certainly does not include accounts of the amount of shellfish (or fish, for that matter) drying and storage that went on, for example, in Northwest Coast British Columbia. In any case, if storage was a major factor in clam and other shellfish use along the Gulf of Maine Journal of the North Atlantic A.E. Spiess 2017 Special Volume 10 112 Bourque, B.J. 1995. Diversity and Complexity in Prehistoric Maritime Societies: A Gulf of Maine Perspective. Plenum Press, New York, NY, USA. Black, D.W. 1992. Living Close to the Ledge: Prehistoric Human Ecology of the Bliss Islands, Insular Quoddy Region, New Brunswick, Canada. Occasional Papers in Northeastern Archaeology 6. Copetown Press, Dundas, ON, Canada. Black, D.W., and R.H. Whitehead. 1988. Prehistoric shellfish preservation and storage on the northeast coast. North American Archaeologist 9(1):17–30. Braun, D. 1974. Explanatory models for the evolution of coastal adaptation in prehistoric eastern New England. American Antiquity 39:582–596. Denys, N. 1908. The Description and Natural History of the Coasts of North America (Acadia). Translated and edited by William F. Ganong. The Champlain Society, Toronto, ON, Canada. Erlandson, J.M. 1988. The role of shellfish in prehistoric economies: A protein perspective. American Antiquity 53:102–109. Guyton, Arthur C. and John E. Hall. 2000. Textbook of Medical Physiology, Tenth Edition. W.B. Saunders Company, Phildelphia, PA, USA. Kelley, J.T., D.F. Belknap, and S. Claesson. 2010 Drowned coastal deposits with associated archaeological remains from a sea-level ”slowstand”: Northwestern Gulf of Maine, USA. Geology 38(8):695–698. Kellogg, D. 1987. Statistical relevance and site locational data. American Antiquity 52:143–150. Kellogg, D. 1995. How has coastal erosion affected the prehistoric settlement pattern of the Boothbay region of Maine? Geoarchaeolgy 10:65–83. Kellogg, D. 1994. Why did they choose to live here? Ceramic period settlement in the Boothbay, Maine Region. Northeast Anthropology 48:25–60. Little, Rev. D. 1786. Diary of a Tour to Penobscot. Maine State Museum, Augusta, ME, USA. Microfilm. Cited in The Penobscot Nation and the 1796, 1818, and 1820 Treaties: An Anthropological and Historical Analysis, Bruce J. Bourque, opinion for Penobscot Nation versus Mills, 15 September 2014. Maine Department of Marine Resources (Maine DMR). 2014. Species information. Available online at http:// www.maine.gov/dmr/rm/speciesinformation.htm. Accessed July 2014. Perlman, S.M. 1980. An optimum diet model, coastal variability, and hunter-gatherer behavior. Pp. 257–310, In M.B. Schiffer (Ed.). Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory, Vol. 3. Academic Press, New York, New York. Scrimshaw, N.S., and V.R. Young. 1976. The requirements of human nutrition. In Food and Agriculture. San Francisco, CA, USA. Pp. 26–40. Spiess, A.E. 1985. Wild Maine and the rusticating scientist. Man in the Northeast 30:101–129. Spiess, A.E., and M.H. Hedden. 1983. Kidder Point and Sears Island in Prehistory. Occasional Publications in Maine Archaeology, Number 3. Augusta, ME, USA. Spiess, A.E., and R. Lewis. 2001. The Turner Farm Fauna: Five Thousand Years of Hunting and Fishing in Penobscot Bay, Maine. Occasional Publications in Maine Archaeology 11. Augusta, ME, USA. Spiess, A.E., K. Sobolik, D. Crader, J. Mosher, and D. Wilson. 2006. Cod, clams, and deer: The food remains from Indiantown Island. Archaeology of Eastern North America 34:141–187. Yesner, D.R. 1980. Maritime hunter-gatherers: Ecology and prehistory. Current Anthropology 21:727–750.