The Role of Shell Middens in Prehistoric Economies
University of Cambridge
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Bailey, G. (1975). The Role of Shell Middens in Prehistoric Economies (doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.79072
This investigation takes its inspiration from a view of the human economy which has been developed in recent years by the British Academy Major Research Project on the Early History of Agriculture, that the problem of the origins of agriculture in the narrow sense can admit of no satisfactory solution unless examined in relation to unifying framework of theory and concepts which applies to the whole range of man-resource relationships, irrespective of their placement within the traditional categories of hunting and gathering and irrespective of their chronological or geographical context. It is to the continuing development of this approach that this thesis is offered as a contribution. The thesis falls into two major sections. The first comprises Chapters I to IV, which set the study of shell-midden economies in a global context and provide a general analysis of the theoretical background to their study, using archaeological, ecological and ethnographic data. Chapter I is an introduction to the problem and to the theoretical framework used in its solution, together with a justification of the wide-ranging comparative approach adopted; Chapter II is a general survey of the archaeological and ecological background to the study of prehistoric shell food exploitation; Chapter III is a detailed study of the economic potential of shell food, combined with an analysis of theoretical concepts; and Chapter IV is a survey of the ethnographic literature on shell-midden economies. The second section, comprising Chapters V to X, is concerned with analysis and interpretation of the archaeological field data. Chapter V discusses the techniques employed; Chapters VI to IX are the central which refer respectively to northern New South Wales and the Cape York Peninsula in Australia and to Denmark and northern Spain in Europe; and Chapter X is a general conclusion viewing the whole field of enquiry. The detailed archaeological case studies are based on my own excavations and on my own observations in the field and the laboratory. Specialist identification of specimens or analysis undertaken by others is acknowledged below. References are cited in the text according to the name of author and date of publication, and details are supplied in a list of references in Volume II. Maps and aerial photographs consulted in the the course of detailed archaeological work are listed after the references. For ease of consultation, appendices, figures and plates have been grouped with the references in Volume II. Abbreviations used in the text follow, as far as possible British Standards 1991:Part 1:1954 To the best of my knowledge, the ideas and interpretations proposed and the syntheses of existing data, unless otherwise specified, are original.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.79072