The Natural Environment

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In this chapter, we explore the environmental context of the Killarney Bay site. We will focus mostly on the natural environments, viewed within the context of regional prehistoric human ecology. We will include some aspects of geoarchaeology at the Killarney Bay site, including site formation processes and the question of the burial mound on the beach ridge. The spatial perspective will be on several scales or levels, including the broader regional setting of Killarney and Manitoulin Island and details of local site environs. The broader regional perspective will approximate what may have been a seasonal band range of the Middle Woodland cultures represented at Killarney Bay, excluding their widespread trade networks. From the perspective of human ecology, the larger region includes where the majority of the sites of their seasonal round may have occurred, and where most subsistence and raw materials, including local lithic sources, may have been procured. We will describe the floral and faunal communities and the Georgian Bay fishery and other available aquatic resources, including the potential for wild rice. However, we will first review the geological context and Holocene water level changes at Killarney Bay, as these can help provide relative geological dating for this beach ridge site. The local geographic context and beach ridge stratigraphy and sedimentology will also help address the question of whether the Killarney Bay mounds are cultural or natural beach ridge formations.




Julig, P. (2021). The Natural Environment. In Killarney Bay: The Archaeology of an Early Middle Woodland Aggregation Site in the Northern Great Lakes (pp. 8–22). University of Michigan Press.

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