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Fishweirs -Reviews


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This lavisly illustrated book is a magnum opus and remarkable synthesis, filled with enough data to sink a swimming archaeologist, but beautifully written, edited, organized, and produced. ...at nearly 600 pages of rich text, 160 illustrations, and wealth of data, it is a bargain for anyone interested in the deep history of human fishing and fishing technologies. ...Connaway has done an immense service to archaeologists, historians, and other managers and scholars of fisheries and cultural resources. Fishweirs is a marvelous book that will be an invaluable resource for future research on fishweirs, submerged archaeological sites, and the evolution of fishing societies and technologies.

-- Jon M. Erlandson, Journal of Island & Coastal Archaeology (2009)

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The massive, 564-page, illustrated book...contains everything anyone could want to know about weirs, and then some.... The scholarly book contains numerous black and white photos, drawings, charts, measurements, plus detailed descriptions.  [Full review may be accessed at www.enterprise-journal.com.]

      -- McComb, Miss., Enterprise Journal, 12/15/07

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John Connaway's massive volume, Fishweirs: A World Perspective with Emphasis on the Fishweirs of Mississippi, is the result of more than three decades of research on Mississippi's fishweirs. But more than that, Connaway's desire to understand fishweirs spurred far-reaching study of then phenomenon in a truly global perspective.  With more than 1000 entries--from well-known accounts to some pretty obscure references from Maryland and Virginia--this compendium is a testament to the depth of Connaway's research. Other appendices include an inventory of fishweirs listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a questionnaire for use in future fishweir studies, and a very helpful and informative glossary.  Fishweirs is an impressive book. It is a must-have for anyone studying these structures. More than that, it is a great source for generalists, as it entices the reader to really think about an otherwise mundane pursuit--fishing--from technological, subsistence, and societal perspectives. John Connaway has produced a masterpiece.

      -- Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology, Volume 24 (2008)

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Fishweirs: A World Perspective with Emphasis on the Fishweirs of Mississippi by John M. Connaway is a 564-page compendium of descriptive, archeological, and historical information on a form of trap used to catch fish. Called a 'fishweir,' these traps come in many forms and (according to archaeological record) have been utilized in streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans for thousands of years. An impressive and seminal work of exhaustive, comprehensive scholarship, Fishweirs... is organized into two main sections. Fishweirs in a Global and Regional Context describes what fishweirs are, provides a global perspective into their uses and designs, and the development of fishweir law in North American waters. Fishweirs in Mississippi draws a tighter focus into the use and design of fishweirs in the Mississippi from prehistory and in Native American cultures down to the present day. A third section is devoted to four appendices: an Annotated Bibliography: Worldwide Archaeological and Historical Source Material on Fishweirs; Fishweir Questionnaire; and Glossary of Selected Terms Related to Fishweirs and Mass Fish Procurement. Enhanced further with occasional illustrations and maps, as well as the inclusion of an extensive bibliography and a comprehensive index, Fishweirs... is a unique and valued contribution that should be a part of professional and academic library reference collections.

         -- John Burroughs, Reviewer for The Midwest Book Review