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Northeast Historical Archaeology

Abstract

This article analyzes the zooarchaeological remains from historical deposits to increase our understanding of the relationship between diet and ethnicity in early colonial New York City. Excavations at the Broad Financial Plaza recovered faunal remains documenting approximatley two centuries of historical occupation (middle 17th to the middle of the 19th century), a sequence rivaled by few other early colonial North American localities. Several trends are apparent in the data. Relative frequencies of pig remains declined while mutton and cattle increased correspondingly as New Amsterdam became the British colony of New York and as the Dutch residents on the block were replaced by inhabitants with British surnames. Wild animals such as deer decresead rapidly with the urbanization of Manhattan island during the British administration. Also, Old World rats appeared in the earliest levels, implying they were a part of New York life from the earliest colonial periods.

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