THE INFORMATION POTENTIAL OF A PALAEOBIOCENOSIS. THE MALACOLOGICAL REMAINS USE AS A PALAEOENVIRONMENT DATA SOURCE
Keywords:archaeomalacology, malacological finds, palaeoenvironment, history of ecosystems
From a qualitative point of view shells represent the most significant animal remains in many stratigraphic contexts, and sometimes also the most quantitatively substantial; therefore they constitute a rich, and often underestimated, palaeoeconomic and palaeoecological source of data. The palaeoeconomic information obtainable through the analysis of malacological finds may relate to the collection, use and trade of molluscs for food, the processing of molluscs and their shells to obtain raw materials used in more complex production processes (e.g. purple and byssus extraction), or still the processing and use of shells as jewelry or tools of various kinds. The palaeo-environmental data obtainable by studying ancient malacological remains can often be even more relevant, though archaeomalacology has shown many practical and theoretical limits when dealing with this kind of speculations. In the article we will be briefly present the discipline and analyze some of its major criticalities.
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