Zooarchaeological Fish Remains and Signals of Resource Depression from Jamaica and Beyond

Author(s): Diana Azevedo; David Byers

Year: 2015


This poster presents an analysis of archaeofaunal fish remains from Bluefields Bay, Jamaica and findings of resource depression from the Caribbean. The Jamaican collection derives from recent excavations of a shell midden in Belmont, encompassed by the Bluefields Bay marine sanctuary. Preliminary radiocarbon results suggest the site dates to the late Taino occupation of Jamaica known as Meillacan Ostionoid (900-1500 AD). The Jamaican collection contains over 17,000 bones, with 8,961 specimens identified to Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) representing 50.45% of the collection. Zooarchaeologists have documented the effects of resource depression by measuring changes in prey choice and prey size. We use a combination of average adult body size and habitat zone to determine rank order of Caribbean fishes. The Jamaican collection suggests a reliance on high-ranked reef fishes as opposed to lower-ranked pelagic fishes. We use published data to identify signals of resource depression on Tobago, St John, and others. Based on this data, we suggest human impacts to fish populations are idiosyncratic, not inevitable, and require particular attention to specific reef ecosystems to understand the impacts of human predation on each.

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Zooarchaeological Fish Remains and Signals of Resource Depression from Jamaica and Beyond. Diana Azevedo, David Byers. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397578)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;