Living on Pipi (Paphies australis): Specialised Shellfish Harvest in a Marginal Environment at Karamea, West Coast, New Zealand

  • Chris Jacomb Department of Anthropology, Gender & Sociology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin.
  • Richard Walter Department of Anthropology, Gender & Sociology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin.
  • Emma Brooks Department of Anthropology, Gender & Sociology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin.
Keywords: Shell midden, chronology, West Coast, economic change, Paphies australis

Abstract

A large, single-species shell midden on the South Island’s West Coast is investigated. The deposit is remarkable both for its size in an otherwise sparse and resource-poor archaeological landscape and its composition. Because of its single-species nature and apparent lack of stratigraphic variability several methods of analysis were required for its investigation. In addition to standard archaeofaunal identification these included measurement of bivalve size as well as examination of chronological patterns. The results demonstrate a continuity of use of the site over several centuries that followed a change in economic strategy from broad-spectrum multi-species exploitation to a highly specialised mono-species harvest. More significantly, they show that this change happened suddenly, near the end of the fourteenth century AD, within only about one hundred years of Polynesian settlement in New Zealand.
How to Cite
Jacomb, C., Walter, R. and Brooks, E. (1) “Living on Pipi (Paphies australis): Specialised Shellfish Harvest in a Marginal Environment at Karamea, West Coast, New Zealand”, Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 1(1), pp. 36-52. Available at: https://pacificarchaeology.org/index.php/journal/article/view/8 (Accessed: 15July2019).
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Articles