Robert A. Genheimer and Stanley E. Hedeen
Freshwater bivalves recovered from two trash-filled storage pits excavated at the Late Prehistoric Hahn site near Cincinnati, Ohio are analyzed. The nature of these two deposits suggest that they were probably single episode discards related to post processing of mussels as a food resource. A total of 26 species was identified for the combined feature assemblages. While small to medium-large species were collected, five individual species of small, medium, and medium-large mussels accounted for nearly three-quarters of the mussel sample MNI. A comparison to recently surveyed mussel populations illustrates that mussel diversity in the Little Miami River near Hahn has declined significantly historically, with those species sensitive to sedimentation and turbidity either found in low numbers or extirpated. Despite the large number of bivalves and bivalve fragments recovered from Hahn only a minor percentage exhibit cultural modification, with the majority of modifications visible on valve fragments. A dozen shell hoes from Hahn are also identified to species where possible. Existing data suggests that mussel soft tissue is low in caloric content and nutritional value. Nevertheless, the low return in nutrition may have been offset by easy access to large numbers of individuals.