Prehistoric fishing strategies on the makatea island of Rurutu

Weisler, Marshall I., Bolt, Robert and Findlater, Amy (2010) Prehistoric fishing strategies on the makatea island of Rurutu. Archaeology in Oceania, 45 3: 130-143. doi:10.1002/j.1834-4453.2010.tb00089.x

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Author Weisler, Marshall I.
Bolt, Robert
Findlater, Amy
Title Prehistoric fishing strategies on the makatea island of Rurutu
Journal name Archaeology in Oceania
ISSN 0728-4896
Publication date 2010-10-01
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/j.1834-4453.2010.tb00089.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 45
Issue 3
Start page 130
End page 143
Total pages 14
Place of publication Sydney, NSW, Australia
Publisher University of Sydney
Language eng
Abstract Recent observations of fishing, the ethnohistoric literature, the archaeological fishing tool kit, marine environments adjacent to the site, and the fish bone assemblage were considered to understand fishing strategies on the makatea island of Rurutu, Austral Islands, French Polynesia. Excavations totalling 53.5 m(2) at the Peva dune site (ONI) were conducted in 2003. The sandy, calcareous deposits from Area 2 (33 m(2)) were dry sieved through 3.2 mm mesh and 5,011 fish bones weighing 2,229.7 g were retained for analysis. Two distinct cultural layers were identified. Archaic period layer D had 20 fish families inventoried from a total of 141 minimum numbers of individuals (MNI) and 1,081 numbers of identified specimens (NISP). Average bone weight was 0.42 g and median vertebra width between 5-6 mm (n=747). The Classic period layer A, associated with a marae complex, contained only seven fish families, a MNI of 24 and NISP of 403. Average bone weight was 0.63 g and median vertebra width between 10-11 mm (n=107). While a broad spectrum fish capture strategy is inferred for the Archaic, selective larger fish, including an order of magnitude increase in shark, were likely prestige items used in ritual offerings during the Classic period. Comparisons of the archaeological assemblages from five makatea islands show that in all but one case, sites are dominated by groupers, unlike many other Pacific island sites where parrotfish are most frequent. This, alone, might be the unique signature of makatea assemblages.
Keyword Prehistoric fishing
Austral Islands
Archaic period
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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