Using foraminifera to distinguish between natural and cultural shell deposits in coastal eastern Australia

Rosendahl, Daniel, Ulm, Sean, and Weisler, Marshall I. (2007) Using foraminifera to distinguish between natural and cultural shell deposits in coastal eastern Australia. Journal of Archaeological Science, 34 (10). pp. 1584-1593.

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Abstract

Foraminifera are single cell protozoa that are ubiquitous in marine environments. Although the hard casings, or tests, of foraminifera are routinely studied in the earth sciences, they have been little studied by archaeologists, despite their potential to contribute to understandings of coastal site formation processes and palaeoenvironments. In this study techniques and methods of foraminiferal analysis are developed and applied to the problem of distinguishing between natural and cultural marine shell deposits, using the Mort Creek Site Complex, central Queensland, Australia, as a case study. Results allow separation of natural and cultural deposits based on foraminiferal density. Natural deposits were found to have >1000 foraminifera per 100 g of sediment, while cultural deposits exhibited <50 foraminifera per 100 g of sediment. Results allow us to better understand site formation processes at the Mort Creek Site Complex and highlight the potential of foraminiferal analyses in the interpretation of terrestrial marine deposits.

Item ID: 15743
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: foraminifera, site formation processes, shell midden, chenier, taphonomy
ISSN: 1095-9238
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2011 01:03
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 50%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 6
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