Indian Museum: Fishing Village / Fish Weirs

img_5546Fish weirs were developed by complex hunter-gatherers during the Archaic period in North America. Where rivers were shallow, a fish weir or fish trap could be built of stone

Fish weirs were developed by complex hunter-gatherers during the Archaic period in North America. Where rivers were shallow, a fish weir or fish trap could be built of stone, reeds or wooden posts placed within the channel of a stream intended to capture fish as they swim along with the current. The fish swim in or are “herded” in, and are trapped within the structure and may then be harvested by hand or caught within woven wooden fish baskets.

The Fish Weirs highlighted in this exhibit are from the Trestle Archaeological site located on the Pee Dee River, approximately 8 miles north of the North Carolina/South Carolina border. The Trestle site is associated with an extensive fish weir system depicted by the “VVVV” shaped structures located within the river pictured on the exhibit mural. This system, most active during the fish migration season, mostly likely provided food for hundreds of Native Americans and also contributed to trade between villages.

The Trestle site was excavated and studied by Dr. David McLean during his tenure as a professor at St. Andrews University.