The people at the Tchefuncte site fished in the nearby bayou and coastal marsh. They also went to higher ground inland to hunt animals like deer and to gather foods from the woodlands.
The archaeologists’ techniques in the 1930s and 1940s did not recover many animal bones. They did not screen the dirt and did not find many small items. Most of the bones they did collect were large and easy to see while they were digging. Small bones, like those from fish, were easy to miss. A small project at the site in 1986 used screens to find small bones, like those from fish. Recent study of these bones gave a good understanding of the diet of the people at the site.
(Above) The people at Tchefuncte had lots of dietary options because they lived so close to different ecological zones. (Right) Artist's interpretation of American Indians fishing. Painting by Jack McLehany, courtesy of Guaranty Corporation.
People caught many kinds of fish, but especially catfish and gar. Most of these came from the bayou, and only a few species were from Lake Pontchartrain. The Tchefuncte people ate a wide variety of animals, including bear, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, alligator, duck and turtle. However, deer was the preferred meat source. In addition to the meat, deer were valuable because the bones were used for tools. The people at the site surely ate plants as well, but researchers did not find any traces of them.
|© 2015 Louisiana Division of Archaeology - click here to return to Discover Archaeology's Interactive Exhibits.|