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Biometric studies of morphological variation in the intertidal gastropod Nucella lapillus (L): environmental and palaeoeconomic significance
Andrews, M.V.; Gilbertson, D.D.; Kent, M.; Mellars, P.A. (1985). Biometric studies of morphological variation in the intertidal gastropod Nucella lapillus (L): environmental and palaeoeconomic significance. J. Biogeogr. 12(1): 71-87
In: Journal of Biogeography. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford. ISSN 0305-0270, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Nucella lapillus (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Andrews, M.V.
  • Gilbertson, D.D.
  • Kent, M.
  • Mellars, P.A.

Abstract
    The objectives of this paper are to establish by shellform biometry and statistical analysis: (1) the sea state/exposure conditions, and (2) the areas from which shell fish might have been harvested, during the late Mesolithic occupation. This information is of archaeological, palaeoenvironmental, and palaeoeconomic significance but is often very difficult to obtain. The shell-shape-exposure relationship frequently reported from the coasts of north-western Europe was firmly verified for Oronsay. Statistical comparisons between the dogwhelks of modern shorelines and from the middens suggested that the sea state during the period of Mesolithic exploitation was calmer than today. This must have been of considerable importance in an economy and life style so closely tied to the sea. Potential shell fish gathering zones from which dogwhelks might have been harvested were identified around each midden. The precision of the reconstruction obtained varied according to the quality and sample size of archaeological and palaeogeographic data. The analysis shows that notable areas were also not significantly exploited for shellfish. The palaeoenvironmental and palaeoeconomic reconstructions are unusual in that they depend entirely upon palaeontological and geological investigations, and not upon seeking ethnographic parallels or the extrapolation of anthropological, geographic, or economic models.

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