Morphometric reconstructions and size variability analysis of the surf clam, Atactodea (=Paphies) striata, from Muralag 8, southwestern Torres Strait, northern Australia

06th November 2013

LR Figure 2Jeremy Ash, Patrick Faulkner, Liam M. Brady and Cassandra Rowe

This paper describes (a) the methods and results of a morphometric reconstruction and (b) a size variability study of a heavily fragmented Atactodea (=Paphies) striata (surf clam) assemblage recovered from a small midden on the island of Muralag in the southwest Torres Strait, Queensland. Two intense but discrete pulses of late Holocene cultural activity at the site have been determined. Phase 1 is centred around 622 cal. BP (544–674 cal. BP) and Phase 2 is centred around 485 cal. BP (426–532 cal. BP). The results from our morphometric reconstruction reveal a statistically significant change (reduction) in the mean valve size of A. striata between occupational phases. Mean size and range of valve sizes are used as measures to determine when people were potentially exploiting the surf clam in Phases 1 and 2. While more data is required to determine an exact season of death, our findings reveal a relative signal of the seasonal exploitation of A. striata between these two phases.

Figure caption: East section of Square A, Muralag 8 (published in Australian Archaeology 77:84).

Ash, J., P. Faulkner, L.M. Brady and C. Rowe
Morphometric reconstructions and size variability analysis of the surf clam, Atactodea (=Paphies) striata, from Muralag 8, southwestern Torres Strait, northern Australia
Dec 2013
77
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