A tale of two shell middens: the natural versus the cultural in ‘Obanian’ deposits at Carding Mill Bay, Oban, western Scotland

Laszlo Bartosiewicz, Lydia Zapata, Clive Bonsall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

Composed largely of mollusc shells resulting from food procurement activities, coastal shell middens have been regarded as valuable sources of information about past human exploitation of coastal and marine resources. It is less widely appreciated that these sites, which lie at the interface between the sea and the land, have significant potential to inform us about the terrestrial environment and its resources. In this chapter, an attempt has been made to integrate results of paleoethnobotanical and zooarchaeological studies with existing archaeological knowledge concerning Mesolithic and Neolithic environments and subsistence at a shell midden site on the west coast of Scotland. We compare and contrast the information derived from macrobotanical and vertebrate faunal remains from two locations at the site of Carding Mill Bay. Although the midden deposits were also studied from the malacological point of view, the shellfish remains are not considered here as they characterize only the marine environment. Moreover, the terrestrial component of a midden may tell us more about post-depositional taphonomic processes than the marine component.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntegrating Zooarchaeology and Paleoethnobotany
Subtitle of host publicationA Consideration of Issues, Methods, and Cases
EditorsAmber VanDerwarker, Tanya Peres
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherSpringer-Verlag GmbH
Pages205-225
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4419-0935-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-4419-0934-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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