Extended residence times for foraminifera in a marine-influenced terrestrial archaeological deposit and implications for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction

Nagel, Texas, Rosendahl, Daniel, Hua, Quan, Moss, Patrick, Sloss, Craig, Petchey, Fiona, and Ulm, Sean (2016) Extended residence times for foraminifera in a marine-influenced terrestrial archaeological deposit and implications for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 5. pp. 25-34.

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Abstract

Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating and taphonomic grading was undertaken on foraminifera preserved in the archaeological shell matrix site of Thundiy, Bentinck Island, southern Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Foraminifera were assigned to one of six taphonomic grades ranging from pristine to severely abraded. AMS dating demonstrates a weak relationship between preservation status and age. Foraminifera ages are inconsistent with multiple ages on marine shell from the same deposit implying significant sediment transport system residence ages (the time between death of the organism and final deposition) for foraminifera in the deposit. Results demonstrate that foraminifera cannot be assumed to be contemporary with other components of the sedimentary context in which they occur, indicating that caution is required in interpreting chronologies and palaeoenvironmental records based on foraminifera recovered from highly dynamic depositional settings. Findings point to the potential of foraminifera AMS dating of coastal archaeological deposits to contribute to evaluations of site integrity and chrono-stratigraphic analyses.

Item ID: 41265
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: foraminifera; taphonomy; site formation processes; shell midden; palaeoenvironmental reconstruction; AMS radiocarbon dating; microfauna
ISSN: 2352-4103
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE), Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. (AACAI)
Projects and Grants: ARC Discovery Project Number DP120103179, ARC Discovery Project Number DP0663047, AINSE ALNGRA13017, Ironbark Heritage/AACAI Student Support Fund Award, ARC Future Fellowship project number FT120100656
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2015 00:37
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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