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eggshell ware
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Small, delicate beakers, bowls, or jars, usually in white or cream, but occasionally black. The name refers to the sides of the vessels which are typically 2mm or less thick. Imported to Britain in the 1st century AD and imitated locally.
Fuegian tradition
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A primitive people inhabiting the South American archipelago of Tierra del Fuego from c 2000 BC. The culture, a coastal tradition of the Alacaluf tribes, was often called the Shell Knife culture. It was based on the exploitation of marine resources and operative on the southern coast and offshore islands of southern Chile. The beginning of the tradition was marked by a change from land-oriented hunting and gathering; bone and stone tool technology persisted well into historic times. The primitive cultures of the Ona and Yámana (Yahgan) of Tierra del Fuego are so similar that anthropologists traditionally group them with the neighboring Chono and Alakaluf of Chile into this one Fuegian culture area". The Ona inhabit the interior forests and depend heavily on hunting guanaco (a small New World camel). The Yámana are canoe-using fishermen and shellfish gatherers. They are all nomadic and are sparsely scattered over the landscape and poor in material culture."
kitchen midden
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: midden; shell midden
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A mound or deposit that is formed from the accumulation of domestic refuse, including cooking and eating equipment, food, and garbage. Some of these mounds are of sea shells left by some food-gathering peoples. The term was first used in Danish to describe the middens of the Ertebolle culture and is also used as an adjective for the people who create middens. In Scandinavia, there are many mounds of shellfish debris.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: mollusc, snail shell
DEFINITION: Any of a large phylum (Mollusca) of invertebrate animals (as snails, clams, or squids) with a soft unsegmented body usually enclosed in a calcareous shell. Often occurring in calcareous deposits, they may give useful information if associated with archaeological remains. A group may give an indication of environmental conditions and general climatic conditions. More tentatively, a deposit containing mollusks may be dated against the geological scale. The phylum Mollusca is divided into five classes: Amphineura (chitons), Gastropoda (snails and slugs), Scaphopoda (elephant's tusk shells), Lamellibranchiata (bivalve mollusks, such as mussels, clams, oysters), and Cephalopoda (octopus and squids). With the exception of the gastropods, most of these groups are aquatic; shells of gastropods and lamellibranchs are frequently found on archaeological sites. Shells also remain from the exploitation of these animals for food, most often found in middens found near coastal sites. Land snails are increasingly used as an adjunct to pollen and insect analysis in attempts to reconstruct past environments.
Orchestra Shell Cave
DEFINITION: Cave near Perth, Western Australia, occupied at least 6500 years ago. The finger markings resemble those in Koonalda Cave.
ostrich eggshell
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: The shells of ostrich eggs, sometimes used as containers for water and pigments like ochre and specularite. Fragments were also made into beads by Later Stone Age people in southern and East Africa. Sometimes decorated with incisions and often found buried near springs and streams. Fragments found at Middle and Later Stone Age sites. Earliest from 14,000-year-old fragments at Boomplaas Cave in South Africa.
CATEGORY: fauna; artifact
DEFINITION: A hard rigid usually calcareous covering or support of an animal, as a mollusk. Many varieties of shell were used in antiquity, apart from the use of their contents as food. Some were used for tools (oyster, conch) and others were made into jewelry or used for decorative inlays. Others, such as ostrich and smaller seashells, were used to make beads. Shell was perforated and strung on necklaces since at least the Upper Palaeolithic. It is frequently found in tombs, probably symbolizing the resurrection. Shell was traded widely to areas where it was not locally available.
shell midden
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: An archaeological deposit consisting of a refuse mound of discarded shells, offering evidence of early human use of certain mollusks. These often extensive heaps are the result of many years of exploitation of marine resources as a main or supplementary food source. Shell middens provide information on diet, harvesting techniques, subsistence economy, and seasonality.
shell tempering
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: The addition of small pieces of crushed shell to the paste used in creating a ceramic object.
shell-gritted ware
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Pottery made from a fabric tempered with crushed marine shell or fossil shell.
Sidemi culture
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A culture of the Vladivostok area of eastern Siberia from the late 2nd millennium BC. The population lived in coastal settlements of semi-subterranean houses, which are associated with shell middens. Characteristic tools were made of polished slate, though small quantities of iron were also used. The area came under strong influence from Manchuria and China, and in the 1st millennium AD it formed part of the Po Hai state.

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