The fish bone remains



Publication Details

Clark, G. and Szabo, K. (2009). The fish bone remains. In G. Clark and A. Anderson (Eds.), The early prehistory of Fiji (pp. 213-230). Canberra, Australia: ANU E Press.


Fisheries are a fundamental part of Remote Oceanic economies and lifeways, used for different types of fishing, invertebrate capture and collection, and the gathering of marine plants. Where no bones or calcareous parts remain, these activities are invisible to archaeologists, but modern studies of marine exploitation in Fiji and elsewhere in the Pacific (e.g. Rawlinson et al. 1994; Dalzell et al. 1996) indicate that a good portion of activities should leave traces in the archaeological record. As with marine mollusca, tropical Indo-Pacific fish species diversity is high. However unlike the mollusca, our inability to identifY remains beyond the family level limits our ability to talk in any sensitive manner about ecology, niche exploitation, or often capture techniques. Nevertheless, through attention to ethnographic strategies and generalised family ecology, archaeologists have attempted to gain insight into prehistoric fishing strategies (e.g. Coutts 1975; Kirch and Dye 1979; Butler 1994), and we continue to build on this approach here, drawing in modern studies of subsistence and artisanal fishing in Fiji and elsewhere.

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