Applications of vertebral morphometrics in Pacific Island archaeological fishing studies

Lambrides, Ariana B. J. and Weisler, Marshall I. (2015) Applications of vertebral morphometrics in Pacific Island archaeological fishing studies. Archaeology in Oceania, 50 2: 53-70. doi:10.1002/arco.5059

Author Lambrides, Ariana B. J.
Weisler, Marshall I.
Title Applications of vertebral morphometrics in Pacific Island archaeological fishing studies
Journal name Archaeology in Oceania
ISSN 0003-8121
Publication date 2015-07-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/arco.5059
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 50
Issue 2
Start page 53
End page 70
Total pages 18
Place of publication Richmond, VIC Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Significant differences between fish bone identification protocols in Pacific Island archaeology and other regions (e.g. Europe and North America) have influenced the use of vertebral morphometrics for the reconstruction of fish length and weight. Fish vertebral morphometrics using vertebrae identified to taxon and type (e.g. caudal, thoracic) are routinely reported in the archaeological literature outside of the Pacific Islands. Conversely, in Pacific Island archaeological fishing studies, vertebrae that are not identified to taxon have been utilised to assess change in average fish vertebrae size, and to reconstruct changes in fish length and weight over time. Using a fish bone assemblage from a prehistoric habitation site on Ebon Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands, we report false trends when vertebrae – not identified to taxon and type – are used to assess differences in average vertebrae size among cultural layers. These results are compared to the same assemblage where taxon and vertebra type are used to more accurately determine fish size. It is essential that vertebrae from Pacific Island fish bone assemblages are identified to taxon and type prior to assessing change in fish size over time, especially when investigating human impacts to finfish resources, capture technology or charting environmental change.
Keyword Faunal analysis
Fish vertebrae
Marshall Islands
Morphometric measures
Pacific fishing
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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