Windward vs. leeward: inter-site variation in marine resource exploitation on Ebon Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands

Harris, Matthew, Lambrides, Ariana B. J. and Weisler, Marshall I. (2016) Windward vs. leeward: inter-site variation in marine resource exploitation on Ebon Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 6 221-229. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.02.012


Author Harris, Matthew
Lambrides, Ariana B. J.
Weisler, Marshall I.
Title Windward vs. leeward: inter-site variation in marine resource exploitation on Ebon Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands
Journal name Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
ISSN 2352-409X
Publication date 2016-04-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.02.012
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 6
Start page 221
End page 229
Total pages 9
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Abstract The variation in windward and leeward marine environments has been linked to distinctions in marine subsistence on large, high volcanic Pacific Islands, but these patterns have not been explored on low coral atolls. We document windward vs. leeward islet site variation in the taxonomic composition of fish bone and mollusc shell assemblages from three archaeological sites at Ebon Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands, to elucidate the relationship between local environment, archaeological site type and the taxonomic composition of marine archaeofaunal assemblages. While the representation of taxa at each site was broadly similar in terms of measures of taxonomic heterogeneity (richness, evenness and dominance), chord distance and correspondence analysis reported variation in taxonomic composition at each site. For mollusc shell assemblages, variation in taxonomic abundance indicates the influence of the marine environments adjacent to each site and the relative exposure of these coastlines to heavy surf, wind, waves and extreme weather events. Fish bone assemblages recovered from 6.4 mm screens had less inter-site variation in richness, evenness and rank order, but differences were noted in the rank order of fish taxa recovered from selective 3.2 mm screening of archaeological deposits when compared between sites. In contrast to patterns for molluscs, variation in the taxonomic composition of fish bone assemblages likely relates to site function, rather than the marine environments adjacent to each site. These trends highlight for the first time the complex range of factors that influenced the prehistoric acquisition of marine resources between leeward and windward islets, and document variation in prehistoric marine subsistence within one atoll.
Keyword Archaeomalacology
Atoll archaeology
Ichthyoarchaeology
Marine subsistence
Marshall Islands
Micronesia
Pacific fishing
Shell midden studies
Zooarchaeology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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