Otoliths in archaeology: methods, applications and future prospects

Disspain, Morgan C.F., Ulm, Sean, and Gillanders, Bronwyn M. (2016) Otoliths in archaeology: methods, applications and future prospects. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 6. pp. 623-632.

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Otoliths are small structures found in the inner ear of teleost fish that act as organs of equilibrium and as direction and sound detectors. They possess unique characteristics that set them apart from other skeletal structures, notably a continuous growth structure deposited on a daily basis. While otolith analyses are widely employed in modern fisheries studies, they have slowly been increasing within archaeological and palaeoenvironmental research. This paper overviews the development and future prospects of otolith studies in archaeology. The main methods of analysis are outlined and major advances and research in each area detailed. In spite of some limitations, the benefits and unique information that otolith analyses can provide ensure that otoliths should be an important part of archaeological research. Continuing development of methods and technologies within this area will serve to further increase the importance and use of otoliths, while raising the profile of this unique resource.

Item ID: 38953
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2352-409X
Keywords: otolith; chemistry; morphology; palaeoenvironment; fisheries science; archaeozoology; isotopes
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Future Fellowship FT120100656, ARC Discovery grant DP110100716, ARC Future Fellowship FT100100767
Date Deposited: 19 May 2015 05:45
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430101 Archaeological science @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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