Mya arenaria and Oxygen Isotopes: An Analysis to Suggest Season of Occupation at Holmes Point East (62-6), Holmes Point West (62-8), and Joves Cove (44-13), Maine
Date of Award
Level of Access Assigned by Author
Master of Science (MS)
Quaternary and Climate Studies
Daniel H. Sandweiss
Second Committee Member
Alan D. Wanamaker Jr.
Third Committee Member
Additional Committee Members
Kendra D. Bird
Amber (Sky) Heller
The ratio of oxygen isotopes (ẟ18O) derived from archaeological bivalves can be used to suggest whether a site was occupied seasonally or year-round. To address the question of seasonality at three archaeological shell midden sites along the coast of Maine, modern samples of the soft-shelled clam, Mya arenaria, were collected from tidal mudflats associated with each site once a month for one year. An average of six modern shells per month were analyzed with their resulting ẟ18O values used to establish monthly ranges to which the archaeological samples of Mya arenaria were assigned; association of the archaeological shells to a monthly range provided a proxy for season of occupation at these archaeological sites. Over the course of this research, several variables that had not previously been recognized as having the potential to lead to misrepresentative results when using ẟ18O to analyze this species are explored, with several potential solutions suggested. These types of data are integral to our understanding of indigenous peoples’ subsistence and behavior patterns along Maine’s prehistoric coast, and any sources of potential error must be identified, addressed, and controlled for.
Blackwood, Emily, "Mya arenaria and Oxygen Isotopes: An Analysis to Suggest Season of Occupation at Holmes Point East (62-6), Holmes Point West (62-8), and Joves Cove (44-13), Maine" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3073.
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