Neolithic Fisheries: Osteoarchaeology of Fish Remains in the Baltic Sea Region
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
The variety of fish species found at the archaeological sites indicates the exploitation of local and regional ecosystems. The focus of the fisheries varies from site to site.
The study is based on the analyses of faunal materials from 10 archaeological sites from Eastern Middle Sweden, Gotland, and Åland dating to approximately 3800 – 1850 B.C. The mainland assemblages are mainly burnt and highly fragmented. When comparing burnt and unburnt bone materials, results showed a marked predominance of fish specimens within the unburnt assemblages. The burnt bone materials showed a striking preponderance of marine mammals. The burning process impairs identification and quantification of fishbone. Species presence per context complemented summary data and showed that low and medium frequency species were handled more often than summary data indicate. Intra-site studies of burnt bones demonstrated the importance of detailed studies of the taphonomic history of the faunal assemblages.
At Ajvide on the island of Gotland, large amounts of well preserved unburnt faunal remains, and ca. 600 bone fishhooks have been unearthed. Replicas of fishhooks from this assemblage were subjected to strength test, osteometric, morphological, and breakage studies. Results point to an elaborated fishing technology for capturing medium sized cod. Incremental studies of cod otoliths (ear stones) from Ajvide showed that most cod were captured in fall and winter. A comparison with the contemporaneous Jettböle site on the Åland islands, showed that in general smaller cod and herring were captured there.
The ecological conditions were somewhat different during the Neolithic. The growth pattern for cod indicate a more rapid growth for young cod but with a lower asymptotic length compared to modern cod.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur , 2008. , 52 p.
Theses and papers in osteoarchaeology, ISSN 1652-4098 ; 5
Neolithic fisheries, local and regional ecosystems, species variation, burnt and unburnt bones, representativeness, contextual quantification, fishing technology, spatial patterns
Research subject Osteoarchaeology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8215ISBN: 978-91-7155-729-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-8215DiVA: diva2:199828
2008-10-24, DeGeersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8A, Stockholm, 10:00
Ekman, Jan, Professor
Storå, Jan, FDLImburg, Karin, Associate Professor
List of papers