Friday, September 09, 2011

Prehistoric Fish Weirs (GA)

"My goal is to document these rarely recognized archaeological features. They occur in many of the rivers or northern Georgia. Summer is the best survey season.
Most of them are likely of prehistoric origin, however, it is well documented that some of the weirs were used by historic Cherokees and may have been modified. Wooden structures associated with some would indicate historic usage.

Alan Cressler

22 photos

items are from between 31 Mar 2007 & 19 Jun 2011.
Alqan writes:
 "Etowah River, prehistoric fish weir No. 2, below U.S. 411, Bartow County, Georgia 1

"The Etowah River is famous for prehistoric fish weirs. They were constructed for the purpose of corralling presumably migratory fish into traps. The technology is used throughout eastern North America and is thought to have spanned many archaeological periods. Documentation by local historians indicates that some weirs were modified and maintained into the 1800's. The fact that wooden structures are present in some of the weirs would indicate this may be true. Some of the weirs on the lower Etowah River seem to have been damaged or partially dismantled possibly to allow boat traffic to traverse the river.
"Chapman documented 37 stone weirs were in a 45 mile stretch of the Etowah River between Cartersville and Rome, but admitted that a number are historic (Chapman 1975:6). They consist of four basic shapes: curved, "V"-shaped (with one or more openings), "L" shaped (with openings), and irregularly shaped (Chapman 1975:8). Chapman (1975:6-7) describes a dichotomy between weirs utilizing large rocks and those with small. Embedded historic materials appear to be associated solely with the former. George Henry Loskiel described a "V"-shaped stone weir in use by Native Americans in 1794: "(T)he Indians run a dam of stones across the stream, where its depth will admit of it, not in a straight line, but in two parts verging towards each other in an angle. An opening is left in the middle for the water to run off. At this opening they place a large box, the bottom of which is full of holes" (Jones 1873:332-3)." This is an quote from:

A wooden frame structure is visible in this weir. It was constructed by what appear to be cut nails."

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