A systemic approach to understanding prehistoric shell-bearing deposits in New Zealand: a case study from Shag Point, North Otago
Wheadon, Christopher James Daniel
This thesis describes a systemic approach to the study of shell' remains, using material from the site of Shag Point (J43/11), in North Otago. This approach analyses the relationship between sampling, identification, quantification, and site formation processes. An historical and methodological framework is used to assess the analysis of shell-bearing deposits in New Zealand, and provide innovative solutions to bias. Historical research outlines the common research methods in New Zealand, which are relevant to Shag Point. Methodological research outlines the range of potential research methods used in the study of shell-bearing deposits. Reviewing the data from Shag Point, sampling, identification, quantification, and site formation processes are used to assess the quality of data from the site. Data from coastal sites are commonly used to generate regional level syntheses. These syntheses do not deal with all of the possible sources of bias in shell-bearing deposits. Cumulative sampling is used to assess representativeness. The data from Shag Point are indicative of a representative sample. The site is compared to three other coastal southern South Island assemblages: the nearby Shag River Mouth, Pleasant River, and Pounawea. The data from Shag River Mouth may be representative; the same cannot be said for the Pleasant River and Pounawea archaeological assemblages, thus hampering regional-level syntheses.
Advisor: Weisler, Marshall
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Anthropology
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis