Willis, L. M., Eren, M. I. and Rick, T. C. (2008). Does butchering fish leave cut marks?. J Archaeol Sci 35 (5). Vol 35(5), pp. 1438-1444.

Title
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Title:
Does butchering fish leave cut marks?
Issue
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Issue:
J Archaeol Sci 35 (5)
Series
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Series:
Journal of Archaeological Science
Volume
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Volume:
35 (5)
Page Start/End
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Page Start/End:
1438 - 1444
Biblio Note
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Journal
Abstract
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Abstract:
Despite the fact that fish are a common component of coastal and other aquatic archaeological sites, cut marks are rarely reported on archaeological fish remains. To assess whether butchering practices leave cut marks on fish bones, the authors butchered thirty-seven fish using stone tools and a metal knife following methods provided in ethnographic accounts and by modern fish processors. Their research demonstrates that butchering commonly produces cut marks on fish bones, with 4019 cut marks and 2167 cut mark clusters identified on the bones of thirty fish. Cut marks occurred frequently on vertebral neural and haemal spines, vertebral transverse processes, pterygiophores, ribs, and other bones not generally identified to low taxonomic categories by zooarchaeologists (e.g., family, genus, or species). To test their experimental data, they also analysed 9391 archaeological fish remains from a Late Holocene shell midden on the California coast, noting thirty-three previously undocumented cut marks. They hypothesize that the scarcity of cut marks reported on archaeological fish bones is the result of researchers overlooking cut marks because they occur primarily on undiagnostic bones, taphonomic factors such as root etching that may destroy or obscure cut marks, differences between fish, mammal, and bird anatomy, or ancient butchering strategies that relied on limited cutting of fishes.
Author
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Author:
Lauren M Willis
Metin I Eren
Torben C Rick
Year of Publication
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Year of Publication:
2008
Locations
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Subjects / Periods:
Metal Knife (Auto Detected Subject))
Shell Midden (Auto Detected Subject))
Fish (Auto Detected Subject))
Fishes (Auto Detected Subject))
Fish Bones (Auto Detected Subject))
Late Holocene (Auto Detected Temporal)
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BIAB (The British & Irish Archaeological Bibliography (BIAB))
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URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03054403
Created Date
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Created Date:
23 Jul 2008