Analysing marine shells, and oysters? Do you know the whys, how and whats of analysis and interpretation. Need a guide? See Molluscs in Archaeology available now at prepublication price of only £18.75 (448 pages, 109 figs, 37 in colour). The prepublication offer ends soon.
Includes a seminal chapter on oyster analysis by Jessica Winder, the doyen of oyster analysis whose research has defined analysis methods and the interpretation today. Much of her excellent work is scattered in obscure journals and monographs, but this seminal chapter brings all the ideas together in one easily accessible publication. She summarises her lifetimes work in a single well-illustrated chapter! It outlines methods and interpretation of models of oyster exploitation, summarising shape and statistical analyses, and outlines caution in interpretation.
What can marine shells tell you about?
How and where were they collected or harvested, how were they processed, consumed and discarded?
This book provides information on sampling strategies, recovery, and numbers of shells needed for analysis (Greg Campbell), on cleaning, identification and analytical approach (with handy information boxes of useful literature resources), as well as details of quantification, sizing/measuring and interpretation and provenancing (Somerville, Light etc).
Are your shells shaped? Really?
Jan Light shows how easy it can be to be fooled into thinking shells are modified and shaped, when she demonstrates that this can be natural wear in living colonies.
What is a midden, what does it represent? How do you excavate and sample middens, and what can they tell you is explained by Karen Hardy.
Ornaments and tools
Shells can be pierced (is this natural or deliberate?) and used for ornaments and as tools – Janet Ridout-Sharpe, and Kat Szabo guide you through some examples while Jan Light and Tom Walker look at dog whelks in archaeological contexts and the evidence for purple dye.
Can your shells be radiocarbon dated? What shells do you need? How many? what are the problems? Two chapters by Douka, and Fernandes & Dreves detail this for you.
Oh yes the book also cover land snails, – sampling, processing, interpretation, land-use and landscapes.
Particular strengths of this volume are that it integrates studies of terrestrial and marine molluscs, each often pursued separately, and covers a wide range of themes ranging from palaeo-environmental and palaeoeconomic topics to the use of molluscs as sources of information about technology, symbolism, dating and diet. Prof. Geoff Bailey
Allen, M.J. (ed.), 2017 Molluscs in Archaeology; methods approaches and applications. Oxford: Oxbow Books
- 448 pages, 109 figures (37 in colour), 12 tables, 5 information boxes