Exploring Accumulation Rates of Shell Deposits Through Seasonality Data

Exploring Accumulation Rates of Shell Deposits Through Seasonality Data Shell middens are often analysed as the result of short- or long-term depositional activities. In order to confidently interpret such deposits, it is necessary to have accurate estimations of shell accumulation rates, most commonly produced by radiocarbon dates. This paper introduces the application of seasonality data as a temporal measurement of short-term shell deposition. This gives access to an additional estimate of shell accumulation rates, which work on a shorter timescale than can be analysed through radiocarbon dating. We focus on shell deposits on the Farasan Islands, Saudi Arabia, which comprise over 3000 shell midden sites dating to the mid-Holocene (6500–4500 calBP). One site (JW1727) was chosen to (1) explore the potential of seasonality data to reconstruct accumulation rates, (2) analyse the intensity of exploitation and (3) assess the visibility of short-term shellfish deposits. Stable oxygen isotope values (δ18O) were obtained from the marine gastropod Conomurex fasciatus (Born 1778), representing 72 % of the shell weight of JW1727, to reconstruct season of capture. Seasonality data was grouped by their spatial distribution, which allowed successive episodes of deposition within a stratigraphic sequence to be connected. This allowed us to make an estimation of exploited shell meat of ∼200 kg over a 7-month period (∼400 shells/day). We argue that excavation methods and low resolution stratigraphic data cause imprecision in the seasonality data and the low visibility of rapidly accumulated shell deposits. Also, an increase of analysed shells per layer is key to understanding the seasonal brickwork of more middens in the future. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory Springer Journals

Exploring Accumulation Rates of Shell Deposits Through Seasonality Data

Loading next page...
 
/lp/springer_journal/exploring-accumulation-rates-of-shell-deposits-through-seasonality-30qmnnng70
Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Social Sciences; Archaeology; Anthropology
ISSN
1072-5369
eISSN
1573-7764
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10816-016-9287-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Shell middens are often analysed as the result of short- or long-term depositional activities. In order to confidently interpret such deposits, it is necessary to have accurate estimations of shell accumulation rates, most commonly produced by radiocarbon dates. This paper introduces the application of seasonality data as a temporal measurement of short-term shell deposition. This gives access to an additional estimate of shell accumulation rates, which work on a shorter timescale than can be analysed through radiocarbon dating. We focus on shell deposits on the Farasan Islands, Saudi Arabia, which comprise over 3000 shell midden sites dating to the mid-Holocene (6500–4500 calBP). One site (JW1727) was chosen to (1) explore the potential of seasonality data to reconstruct accumulation rates, (2) analyse the intensity of exploitation and (3) assess the visibility of short-term shellfish deposits. Stable oxygen isotope values (δ18O) were obtained from the marine gastropod Conomurex fasciatus (Born 1778), representing 72 % of the shell weight of JW1727, to reconstruct season of capture. Seasonality data was grouped by their spatial distribution, which allowed successive episodes of deposition within a stratigraphic sequence to be connected. This allowed us to make an estimation of exploited shell meat of ∼200 kg over a 7-month period (∼400 shells/day). We argue that excavation methods and low resolution stratigraphic data cause imprecision in the seasonality data and the low visibility of rapidly accumulated shell deposits. Also, an increase of analysed shells per layer is key to understanding the seasonal brickwork of more middens in the future.

Journal

Journal of Archaeological Method and TheorySpringer Journals

Published: May 6, 2016

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve Freelancer

DeepDyve Pro

Price
FREE
$49/month

$360/year
Save searches from Google Scholar, PubMed
Create lists to organize your research
Export lists, citations
Read DeepDyve articles
Abstract access only
Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles
Print
20 pages/month
PDF Discount
20% off