The Ness of Brodgar: fish and marine shell remains

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Abstract

Despite an excellent sampling programme and good recovery of environmental materials, fish remains and marine shells are rare at the Ness of Brodgar. Bone and shell preservation on site are less than ideal, but the presence of extensive mammal bone deposits makes it clear that this pattern is not simply an artefact of survival. Work on the mammal bone has allowed investigation of many aspects of human-animal interac- tions, including diet, economy, wild resource use, and the non-dietary significance of animals. Against that background, the low frequency of fish remains and marine shells poses important questions. Is the lack of fish simply a recovery bias, or does it indicate a true avoidance of fish in the Neolithic diet? If so, why were people not eating marine or freshwater resources? Are the few fish that we have found definitely the result of human activity, or could there be other explanations for their presence? Contextual and comparative evi- dence can be used to help explore these questions, alongside analyses of the bones and shells themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication The Ness of Brodgar As it Stands
EditorsNick Card, Mark Edmonds, Anne Mitchell
Place of PublicationKirkwall
PublisherThe Orcadian
Chapter22
Pages278
Number of pages11
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2020

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