Wildlife in urban Charleston, South Carolina, USA


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  • Wildlife in urban Charleston, South Carolina, USA

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Wildlife in urban Charleston, South Carolina, USA


S2-5, Animals, and their bones, in the modern world (AD1750-1950), oral



The quantity and variety of animals contributing to foodways and landscapes are often overlooked in studies of urban experiences after AD 1700. Charleston, South Carolina (USA) was founded in its present location in 1680, though the earliest archaeological evidence dates to 1692. Taken together, the Charleston assemblage consists of over 130,000 vertebrate specimens, representing an estimated minimum number of 2,100 individuals. These materials indicate that wild and domestic animals contributed to a unique low-country cuisine. Charleston was land modified for human occupation but also was shared space with a diverse fauna. Many aspects of the environment were designed to accommodate and restrict these animals. By considering animals as components of cuisine and of the landscape, we find that the urban setting was a rich mosaic of human and non-human endeavours. In exploring colonization and urbanization, we consider the quantity and variety of wild, commensal, domestic, and feral animals that shared the environment with human residents. The activities of animals shaped, and were shaped by, the developing urban environment. Many features of the landscape, from buildings to fences and walls, were designed to accommodate, and restrict, animals living in the city. Unlike other environmental components, though, the animals were active players in the affairs of daily life, and efforts to control them varied in their success.


REITZ Elizabeth J.1 and ZIERDEN Martha A. 2


1 Georgia Museum of Natural History, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-1882, USA, ereitz@uga.edu
2 The Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29403, USA, mzierden@charlestonmuseum.org


Reitz, Elizabeth J.
Zierden, Martha A.


August 2010

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Reitz, Elizabeth J. and Zierden, Martha A. . " Wildlife in urban Charleston, South Carolina, USA ," in BoneCommons, Item #1485, http://alexandriaarchive.org/bonecommons/items/show/1485 (accessed August 7, 2020).