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A Tale of Two Shell Middens: The Natural versus the Cultural in “Obanian” Deposits at Carding Mill Bay, Oban, Western Scotland

  • László Bartosiewicz
  • Lydia Zapata
  • Clive Bonsall
Chapter

Abstract

Composed largely of mollusc shells resulting from food procurement activities, coastal shell middens have been regarded as valuable sources of information about past human exploitation of coastal and marine resources. It is less widely appreciated that these sites, which lie at the interface between the sea and the land, have significant potential to inform us about the terrestrial environment and its resources. In this chapter, an attempt has been made to integrate results of paleoethnobotanical and zooarchaeological studies with existing archaeological knowledge concerning Mesolithic and Neolithic environments and subsistence at a shell midden site on the west coast of Scotland. We compare and contrast the information derived from macrobotanical and vertebrate faunal remains from two locations at the site of Carding Mill Bay. Although the midden deposits were also studied from the malacological point of view, the shellfish remains are not considered here as they characterize only the marine environment. Moreover, the terrestrial component of a midden may tell us more about post-depositional taphonomic processes than the marine component.

Keywords

Bank Vole Wood Charcoal Field Vole Shell Midden Midden Deposit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The excavations at CMB II were sponsored by Historic Scotland. Clive Bonsall thanks the landowner, Mr Danny Keenan, for his forbearance throughout the excavations, and members of the Lorn Archaeological & Historical Society (especially, Margaret Kay and Charles Hunter) for their assistance in the field.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • László Bartosiewicz
    • 1
  • Lydia Zapata
  • Clive Bonsall
  1. 1.Institute of Archaeological SciencesLoránd Eötvös UniversityBudapestHungary

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