Shell Microband Analysis as a Tool in New Zealand Archaeology
Recent improvements in animal biology and microscopy now allow for finer-grained analyses of microstructures in archaeofaunal specimens than previously possible. Novel new applications of microscopy methods applied to in the intertidal New Zealand cockle (Austrovenus stutchburyi) species demonstrate a strong link between microbands and tidal and lunar cycles. The application of the technique has significant implications for high-precision seasonal and absolute dating in New Zealand archaeology. Applying the technique to a short-lived archaeological midden deposit from Wairau Bar demonstrates the time-of-death in archaeological samples can be calculated with much higher-precision than tools which are currently available in the temporal-dating suite. The method holds significant potential for sclerochronological, Bayseian applications in radiocarbon dating, and palaeoclimate analyses.
Advisor: Walter, Richard
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Anthropology and Archaeology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Archaeology; New Zealand; Sclerochronology; Austrovenus stutchburyi; Biological rhythms; Seasonality; Palaeoseasonality; Dating; Wairau Bar; Settler population; Shellfishing; Microband analysis; SEM; Scanning Electron Microscopy; EDS; Cockle; Estuary; Resource use; tidal cycles; lunar cycles; Dating alternative; human settlement; maori resource use; shellfish; midden deposit; seasonal resource; malacology; electron dispersive spectroscopy; backscatter electron micoscopy; seasonal growth; summer growth; early new zealand hunting
Research Type: Thesis