Assessing Mid- to Late Holocene Predation of Conomurex luhuanus and Tectus niloticus at Lizard Island, Northeastern Australia

28th May 2015

Samantha Aird

BA(Hons), College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University, October 2014

Dingaal oral histories and ethnohistoric evidence suggest that Lizard Island may have been the site of ‘gatherings and ceremonies’ in the past. However, it is unclear whether Lizard Island was (1) only occupied during periodic visits (e.g. during times of ceremony), (2) was permanently settled, or (3) if the pattern of occupation and use of the island changed through time. The archaeological record documents the fact that people collected easily accessible reef-flat shellfish species for subsistence purposes at Lizard Island from at least 2000 cal. BP. This thesis aims to answer the question of permanent or periodic occupation of Lizard Island by examining the extent to which local midden shells reflect sustained or episodic predation, respectively. Morphometric analyses of Conomurex luhuanus (strombus) and Tectus niloticus (trochus) is used to build an understanding of: the intensity of predation pressure on the dominant reef-flat shellfish species targeted for subsistence purposes at Lizard Island during the mid-to-late Holocene; and, to identify, in conjunction with available radiocarbon dates, if human occupation at Lizard Island was permanent or periodic. Results demonstrate that C. luhuanus and T. niloticus were subject to low predation pressures during periodic phases of mid- to late Holocene human occupation.

Aird, S.
Assessing Mid- to Late Holocene Predation of Conomurex luhuanus and Tectus niloticus at Lizard Island, Northeastern Australia
June 2015
80
S136
Thesis Abstracts
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