Sclerochronology of the Tiger Lucine Clam (Codakia orbicularis): Implications for Florida Keys and Northern Caribbean Archaeological Site Seasonality
Author(s): Ryan Harke
The Tiger Lucine (Codakia orbicularis) is a large bivalve native to the West Indies. This tropical species is a common constituent of late prehistoric (AD 800-1500) shell middens in the Florida Keys, the Lucayan Archipelago, and the Greater Antilles (e.g., Jamaica). C. orbicularis’ prominence in the archaeological deposits of these regions is the predictable result of its abundance, relative ease of access, and widespread efficacy as both a subsistence resource and raw material for tools (e.g., fish-net sinker). For the present study, I constructed stable isotope profiles (δ18O and δ13C) for modern and archaeological (~AD 1250) C. orbicularis specimens from the Lower Florida Keys to determine growth rates and seasonality, and season(s) of collection, respectively. Preliminary results align well with published data from the Bahamas, providing further support that this species precipitates shell throughout most of the year, ceasing growth only at or near winter minima temperatures. The archaeological specimen yielded three annual temperature (δ18O) cycles, ending on the most negative value observed in the dataset (-2.1‰), suggesting it was collected during the summer. These stable isotope data form a solid foundation from which prehistoric season of habitation can be ascertained for the Florida Keys and western North Atlantic.
Cite this Record
Sclerochronology of the Tiger Lucine Clam (Codakia orbicularis): Implications for Florida Keys and Northern Caribbean Archaeological Site Seasonality. Ryan Harke. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431184)
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min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;
Abstract Id(s): 14500