Assessing protocols for identifying Pacific island archaeological fish remains: the contribution of vertebrae

Lambrides, A. B. J. and Weisler, M. I. (2015) Assessing protocols for identifying Pacific island archaeological fish remains: the contribution of vertebrae. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 25 6: 838-848. doi:10.1002/oa.2354

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Author Lambrides, A. B. J.
Weisler, M. I.
Title Assessing protocols for identifying Pacific island archaeological fish remains: the contribution of vertebrae
Journal name International Journal of Osteoarchaeology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1047-482X
1099-1212
Publication date 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/oa.2354
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 25
Issue 6
Start page 838
End page 848
Total pages 11
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Three fish bone identification protocols used for determining taxa composition for Pacific island archaeofaunal assemblages are evaluated. The protocols include using the following: (1) the most commonly identified five paired cranial bones and ‘specials’ or unique elements; (2) an expanded number of cranial bones; and (3) the less common inclusion of all vertebrae. Explicit identification and quantification protocols are outlined for systematically incorporating all vertebrae which, predictably, increases the number of identified specimens for an assemblage, thus providing more bones useful for reconstructing live fish biomass (weight and length). Significantly, a range of unique archaeological vertebrae are useful for calculating minimum number of individuals. Using a well-preserved assemblage from Henderson Island, Pitcairn Group, southeast Polynesia, numbering 6480 fish bones (concentration index = 21 580 m3), we demonstrate differences in rank-order abundance from three taxon identification protocols. For example, when using all vertebrae grouper (Serranidae) and surgeonfishes (Acanthuridae) are more numerically equivalent than when relying mostly on cranial bones for identification for minimum number of individuals and number of identified specimens. This has important implications for making comparisons between sites or across regions where different identification protocols were used. This pilot study demonstrates that using all vertebrae for taxon identification and quantification, not just unique hypurals (terminal vertebrae) or those from sharks and rays (Elasmobranchii), should be standard practice for identifying a greater number of bones to taxon and thereby providing better reconstructions of prehistoric fishing and subsistence practices in the Pacific.
Keyword Fish vertebrae analysis
Prehistoric fishing
Henderson Island
Polynesia
Fish bone identification protocols
Pacific island archaeofaunal
Vertebrae
Subsistence practices
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 13 Mar 2014, 11:41:11 EST by Debbie Lim on behalf of School of Social Science