Methods in our Madness : Approaches in Archaeomalacology.
Archaeomalacology Working Group Meeting. 5th-8th April 2016
The diverse implications of examining malacological assemblages in archaeological contexts are widely recognized. From understanding past environments and reconstructing palaeo-landscapes to exploring past subsistence strategies; and from elucidating socio-cultural dynamics of maritime interactions to the use of shell as raw materials in both technological and cultural spheres, shellfish play an important part in archaeological narratives. This workshop plays two roles: first to present current archaeomalacological research from around the world – demonstrating the above. The second part aims to discuss and develop more standardized approaches to taxonomic classification, collection, quantification and analysis of shell assemblages and reporting techniques. While there is a vast array of archaeological examination of shell remains, current outputs lack appropriate standardization, making cross-cultural or inter-site analysis difficult – something that will become increasingly detrimental to the discipline. The AMWG has reached a critical mass whereby such standardization should become practical and possible.
Themes of particular interest:
– Current research in archaeomalacology from across the world
– Socio-cultural value of shells
– Shells as raw material
– Archaeomalacological methodologies
– Taxonomy, classification and quantification
– Palaeo-environmental studies