The use of foraminifera in the identification and analysis of marine shell middens: A view from Australia

Lilley, Ian, Brian, Deborah, and Ulm, Sean (1999) The use of foraminifera in the identification and analysis of marine shell middens: A view from Australia. In: Mountain, Mary-Jane, and Bowdery, Doreen, (eds.) Taphonomy: The Analysis of Processes from Phytoliths to Megafauna. Research Papers in Archaeology and Natural History, 30 . ANH Publications, Canberra, ACT, Australia, pp. 9-16.

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Abstract

Three test pits were excavated at Roods Peninsula on the central Queensland coast in an area which exhibits both cultural and natural shell deposits. In addition to the conventional criteria for distinguishing cultural shell middens from non-cultural shell deposits (especially cheniers), we analysed sediment samples from each pit to determine whether they contained the remains of foraminifera. Foraminifera are microscopic marine organisms whose calcium carbonate exoskeletons ought to occur in any deposit laid down or reworked by seawater. As an experimental element of our analysis of the deposits, this technique was successful in distinguishing samples from a chenier and from a midden each of which met the general criteria for non-cultural and cultural origins respectively. The method was then applied to a sample from a more ambiguous depositional context. This paper details our preliminary study in foraminiferal analysis, setting it in the context of previous work by Gill (1954). Gill et al. (1991) and by McNien (1996).

Item ID: 18330
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-7315-3313-8
Date Deposited: 22 May 2012 01:45
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 70%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology @ 30%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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