Reconstructing prehistoric fishing zones in Palau, Micronesia using fish remains: a blind test of inter-analyst correspondence

Giovas, Christina M., Lambrides, Ariana B.J., Fitzpatrick, Scott M., and Kataoka, Osamu (2017) Reconstructing prehistoric fishing zones in Palau, Micronesia using fish remains: a blind test of inter-analyst correspondence. Archaeology in Oceania, 52 (1). pp. 45-61.

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Archaeologists routinely reconstruct the types of marine environments fished by past human societies in order to understand economic systems, foraging behaviour, maritime technology and seafaring abilities. These reconstructions are based on ecological data provided by archaeofish identifications, but can be problematic where coarse-grained designations, such as inshore or pelagic, are used, or the influence of fish behaviour and life history traits on movement between habitats is overlooked. In tropical waters, intra-family diversity complicates habitat reconstruction by precluding lower-level taxonomic identifications that provide precise habitat information (e.g. surge channels, dropoffs). Consequently, a single generalised habitat may be imposed on fishes that could be caught in multiple environments, thereby eroding the reliability of fishing zone reconstructions. This study employs the archaeofish assemblage from Chelechol ra Orrak (c. 3000–0 BP), Palau to examine the analytical impact of these variables on fishing habitat reconstruction based on a blind assessment of taxon-derived environmental data by two analysts. We assesses how analysts' variable decision protocols for the handling of imprecise environmental data impact resulting habitat exploitation profiles. Our results address the issue of spatial resolution in habitat information gleaned from fish assemblages like Orrak's, with important implications for the interpretation of foraging practices and maritime adaptations.

Item ID: 59053
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1834-4453
Keywords: Caroline Islands, palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, ichthyoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, pelagic fishing, reef fishing
Copyright Information: © 2016 Oceania Publications.
Funders: National Science Foundation (NSF), Sigma-Xi (SX)
Projects and Grants: NSF (SBR-0001531)
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2019 05:03
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430101 Archaeological science @ 50%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4513 Pacific Peoples culture, language and history > 451301 Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl. New Zealand) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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