Meta-analysis of Queensland’s coastal Indigenous fisheries: examining the archaeological evidence for geographic and temporal patterning

Lambrides, Ariana B. J., McNiven, Ian J., and Ulm, Sean (2019) Meta-analysis of Queensland’s coastal Indigenous fisheries: examining the archaeological evidence for geographic and temporal patterning. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 28. 102057.

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Marine fisheries have been a critical part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s connection to land and sea country in Queensland, Australia for millennia. However, no archaeological studies have examined regional variability in the role of fish within subsistence regimes or the distribution of targeted fish species throughout the Holocene. We utilised a meta-analysis approach to conduct the first comprehensive assessment of Indigenous fisheries along the eastern Queensland coast. Data from 44 archaeological sites were grouped according to marine bioregion to facilitate broad comparison between sites across the study area. These sites were predominantly associated with mid-to-late Holocene occupation, and provided an assemblage of 45,052 recovered fish bones, of which 6,606 were identified most commonly to family-level. Results indicate clear geographic patterning in the ubiquity of fish species captured, and for some marine bioregions an increase through time in the range of species targeted. Archaeological data indicate mixed species fisheries, with a complex range of habitats and diverse fish species harvested by people in relative proximity to the sites. These harvesting decisions were mediated by local ecological knowledge, awareness of fish behaviour, and cultural preference for certain species. These outcomes support existing models for the region, which document a shift in subsistence regimes during the mid-to-late Holocene, particularly an increased reliance on marine resources and expansion in diet breadth. Future research needs to address geographic gaps in data availability and implement globally recognised ichthyoarchaeological quantification and identification protocols to comprehensively examine geographic and temporal variability in Queensland’s Holocene Indigenous fisheries, and contribute to regional models of long-term subsistence change.

Item ID: 60909
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2352-409X
Keywords: Fisheries; Ichthyoarchaeology; Coastal foragers; Meta-analysis; Zooarchaeology; Australia; Great Barrier Reef
Copyright Information: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. The accepted manuscript version of this paper will be available Open Access from ResearchOnline@JCU under a Creative Commons Non-commercial No Derivatives international license from 1 November 2021.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: Centre of Excellence in Australian Biodiversity and Heritage CE170100015, ARC Future Fellowship FT120100656
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2019 00:48
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430101 Archaeological science @ 50%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history > 450101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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