The subject of `Molluscs in Archaeology' has not been dealt with collectively for several decades as most previous volumes in this subject area have been confined to studies of either land or marine molluscs, or mollusc shells as artefacts. The 23 specially commissioned papers presented here address many aspects of molluscs in archaeology. Marine molluscs are a common find on archaeological sites, where they may represent food waste or their shells having been utilised as tools, artefacts and ornaments. Land snails are also found as food waste in middens, but more commonly their microscopic remains are used to examine site environmental and land use histories. This comprehensive collection by most of the leading researchers in the field will give the reader an overview of the whole topic: methods of analysis and approaches to interpretation. It aims to be a broad-based textbook giving readers an insight into how to apply analysis to different present and past landscapes, and how to interpret those landscapes. Contributors present marine, freshwater and land snail studies, and examine topics such as diet, economy, climate, environment and land-use, isotopes and molluscs as artefacts, providing archaeologists and students with the first port of call regarding a) methods and principles, and b) the potential information molluscs can provide.
Combining authoritative overviews with a range of case studies, Molluscs in Archaeology concentrates on analysis and interpretation that most archaeologists and students can undertake and understand, and reviews the `heavier' science in terms of potential, application and interpretational value.
Michael J. Allen is proprietor of AEA Allen Environmental Archaeology and is one of the UK's leading environmental archaeologists, specialising in geoarchaeology (particularly the analysis of hillwash and colluvium), land snail analysis, prehistoric landscape reconstruction and the management of environmental archaeological projects.
Preface List of contributors Acknowledgements Molluscs in Archaeology; an introduction Michael J. Allen and Bas Payne Part 1: Palaeo-environments; environment and land-use Terrestrial habitats, contexts and landscapes 1. Land snails in archaeology Michael J. Allen 2. The geoarchaeology of context; sampling for land snails (on archaeological sites and colluvium) Michael J. Allen 3. Numerical approaches to land snail palaeoecology Matt Law 4. Molluscs and the palaeo-environment of coastal blown sand and dunes Thomas Walker 5. Molluscs from machair-dune systems: archaeological site formation processes and environmental change Matt Law and Nigel Thew 6. Caves and molluscs Chris O. Hunt and Evan A. Hill Wetlands and Fresh- and Brackish-water 7. Molluscs from the floodplain alluvial sediments in the Thames Valley Mark Robinson 8. Wetlands; freshwater and slum communities Terry O'Connor Palaeo-environmental reconstruction: Europe, the Mediterranean and Near East 9. The southern English chalklands: molluscan evidence for the nature of the post-glacial woodland cover Michael J. Allen 10. (Some thoughts on) using molluscs for landscape reconstruction and ecology in Malta Michael J. Allen and Bri Eastabook 11. Molluscan remains from Early to Middle Holocene sites in the Iron Gates reach of the Danube, Southeast Europe Catriona Pickard, Adina Boroneant and Clive Bonsall 12. Land Mollusc middens Victoria K. Taylor and Martin Bell Marine and Food and Diet 13. Marine molluscs from archaeological contexts; how they can inform interpretations of former economies and environments Liz Somerville, Janice Light and Michael J. Allen 14. Oysters in archaeology Jessica Winder 15. Shell middens Karen Hardy 16. The collection, processing and curation of archaeological marine shells Greg Campbell Artefacts 17. Shell ornaments, icons and other artefacts from the eastern Mediterranean and Levant Janet Ridout-Sharpe 18. Molluscan shells as raw materials for artefact production Katherine Szabo 19. How strong is the evidence for purple dye extraction from the muricid gastropod Nucella lapillus (L. 1758), from archaeological sites in Britain and Ireland? Janice Light and Thomas Walker 20. Marine shells as artefacts?; a cautionary tale of natural wear and tear as compared to resourceful anthropogenic modification processes Janice Light Science and Shells 21. Bivalves and Radiocarbon Ricardo Fernandes and Alexander Dreves 22. Radiocarbon dating of marine and terrestrial shell Katerina Douka 23. Stable Isotope ecology of terrestrial gastropod shells Andre Carlo Colonese Index