In the land of the Ichthyophagi: Modelling fish exploitation in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman from the 5th millennium BC to the Late Islamic period [book]

Mark J. Beech
2004 unpublished
This study addresses a number of key issues relating to the coastal archaeology of southeast Arabia. Namely, what role did chronological developments play in the characterisation of fisheries exploitation patterns? What was the influence of the environment in this region? Are there any modern fisheries or archaeological data to support the notion that the inhabitants of this region practised a transhumant and seasonally based existence, occupying the coast or interior during particular seasons?
more » ... Is it possible to identify traces of fish processing, dried fish or possible evidence for fish storage and trade in the archaeological record of the area? The primary data forming the basis for this study are 23 archaeological fish bone assemblages from sites located in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, with a particular focus on the southern Gulf region and the present day coastline of the United Arab Emirates. The chronological focus of this study is from the 5'h millennium BC to the Late Islamic period. Various techniques were used to model regional variability in archaeological fish bone assemblages. These included standard zooarchaeological quantification techniques as well as percentage sample presence, measures of ecological diversity (Shannon-Wiener and Simpson diversity indices), cluster analysis and Renkonen's percentage similarity. The study highlighted three main types of assemblages, sites with shallow water and reef species, sites with numerous remains of Chondrichthyes, and sites with higher numbers of pelagic fish, particularly tuna and mackerel. Sites clustered according to similar regions or environments rather than according to any chronological principle. A pilot study on Lethrinid otoliths questioned some of the currently adopted models relating to transhumance and seasonality. It is suggested that further studies should be carried out in conjunction with other researchers working in the region to critically evaluate these pilot results.
doi:10.30861/9781841715773 fatcat:vvjnbgb4hbbuxisyklnztt7g44