Australian Museum Journal Changing Perspectives in Australian Archaeology, part IX. Fishing for data—the value of fine-mesh screening for fish-bone recovery: a case study from Peel Island, Moreton Bay, Queensland

Shortform:
Ross and Tomkins, 2011. Tech. Rep. Aust. Mus., Online 23(9): 133–145
Author(s):
Ross, Anne; Tomkins, Helene
Year published:
2011
Title:
Changing Perspectives in Australian Archaeology, part IX. Fishing for data—the value of fine-mesh screening for fish-bone recovery: a case study from Peel Island, Moreton Bay, Queensland
Serial title:
Technical Reports of the Australian Museum (online)
Volume:
23
Issue:
9
Start page:
133
End page:
145
DOI:
10.3853/j.1835-4211.23.2011.1574
Language:
English
Date published:
17 June 2011
Cover date:
17 June 2011
ISSN:
1835-4211
Publisher:
The Australian Museum
Place published:
Sydney, Australia
Subjects:
ABORIGINES: AUSTRALIAN; ARCHAEOLOGY; CULTURE: INDIGENOUS; FISHES
Digitized:
17 June 2011
Available online:
17 June 2011
Reference number:
1574
EndNote package:
EndNote file
Title page:
Title page (40kb PDF)
Complete work:
Complete work (660kb PDF)

Abstract

The age and extent of the Aboriginal fishery in Moreton Bay have been debated ever since excavations revealed low numbers of fish bones in coastal sites in southeast Queensland. Aboriginal people recall fishing as a major subsistence activity, yet archaeological evidence of low rates of fish bone discard have questioned this memory. In an effort to address these contrasting perceptions, excavation of the Lazaret Midden on Peel Island employed a 1 mm mesh sieve to maximize fish bone recovery. Our results suggest that fish remains are indeed numerous in this site, although the extreme fragmentation of the bone recovered from the fine sieve makes identification of fish taxa largely impossible. We discuss the implications of these findings for reconstructing Aboriginal subsistence patterns in Moreton Bay.