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87Sr/86Sr and 14C evidence for peccary (Tayassuidae) introduction challenges accepted historical interpretation of the 1657 Ligon map of Barbados

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-05-14
Abstract: 

Contemporary West Indian biodiversity has been shaped by two millennia of non-native species introductions. Understanding the dynamics of this process and its legacy across extended temporal and spatial scales requires accurate knowledge of introduction timing and the species involved. Richard Ligon’s 17th century account and celebrated map of early colonial Barbados records the translocation of several Old World species to the island in the post-contact era, including pigs (Sus scrofa) believed to have been released by passing sailors the century prior. Here we challenge this long-accepted historical narrative, presenting evidence that Ligon’s “pigs” were in fact peccaries, a New World continental mammal often confused with wild boars. We document the first recorded instance of non-native peccary (Tayassuidae) on Barbados based on a securely identified mandibular specimen from a historic archaeological context. Results of specimen 87Sr/86Sr and AMS radiocarbon assays, along with newly reported data from Sr isotope environmental analyses, indicate a local origin dating to AD 1645–1670/1780–1800. These data support the presence of living peccary on Barbados some time during the first 175 years of English settlement, which, based on review of historical and archaeological data, most likely arises from 16th century peccary introduction from the Guianas/Trinidad by the Spanish or Portuguese. We argue dimorphic representations of “pigs” on Ligon’s map reflect the co-occurrence of peccary and European domestic swine on historic Barbados. Our findings overturn conventional history and provide greater taxonomic and chronological resolution for Caribbean bioinvasion studies, helping to refine our understanding of potential ecological impacts. In addition, the new bioavailable 87Sr/86Sr data for Barbados reported here advance current efforts toward mapping the Caribbean Sr isoscape.

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Article
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3500 Years of Shellfish Mariculture on the Northwest Coast of North America

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-02-27
Abstract: 

Ancient systems of mariculture were foundations of social-ecological systems of many coastal Indigenous Peoples. However, since such systems either do not leave tangible remains in the archaeological record, and/or are hard to date, we know little about their development and use. Clam gardens, traditional mariculture features located within the intertidal zone along the Northwest Coast of North America, are composed of a rock wall positioned at the low tide mark and a flattened terrace on the landward side of the wall. Because these features are largely composed of rock and sediment, and have complex formation histories, they can be difficult to age. On northern Quadra Island, British Columbia, we identify three variations in clam garden form, constructed in different geomorphological settings, each of which require different sampling approaches to obtain ages on construction and ongoing use. To age the clam gardens, we consider radiocarbon dating of invertebrates that inhabit beach deposits (both pre- and post-garden construction), and the relationship of the gardens and clam samples to the local sea level history and taphonomic processes. Within our study area, we find clam gardens have been in use for 3500 years, likely corresponding to other social and ecological changes of the time. These data allow us to formulate guidelines on samples most suitable to constrain the age of initial and on-going wall construction and use of clam gardens, which can be extrapolated to dating other ancient mariculture features in other regions. Such dating programs are the foundation for understanding the long-term development of traditional marine management practices and how they are situated in broader social-ecological systems.

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Article
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Digital Bridges Across Disciplinary, Practical and Pedagogical Divides: An Online Professional Master’s Program in Heritage Resource Management

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-02-21
Abstract: 

Growth and diversification in heritage resource management (HRM) archaeology since the 1960s have created new demands for training the next generations of HRM leaders and for addressing persistent and counterproductive divisions between academic and applied archaeologies. The Simon Fraser University Department of Archaeology (SFU) has responded to these demands with an all-new, cohort-based, thesis-focused graduate program created by and for HRM professionals. The program’s target audience is HRM practitioners who hold Bachelor’s credentials, have initiated promising careers in HRM, and desire advanced, research-focused degrees to enable their professional capacity and upward mobility. The SFU program is structured and focused to provide intensive, predominantly online training in the four essential dimensions of HRM: law and policy, ethics and practice, business management, and research design and methods. The program has been successful through initial cohort cycles and in attracting HRM industry interest in collaboration. Industry-academic partnerships in cognate disciplines have proved effective in comparable circumstances but remain underdeveloped as bases for planning and delivering state-of-the-art training in applied archaeology and the broader field of HRM. Critical next steps in program development entail the identification of attributes of HRM futures desired by all or most HRM stakeholders and the collaborative pursuit of those desired futures.

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Article
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Full Spectrum Archaeology

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-04-09
Abstract: 

Full Spectrum Archaeology (FSA) is an aspiration stemming from the convergence of archaeology’s fundamental principles with international heritage policies and community preferences. FSA encompasses study and stewardship of the full range of heritage resources in accord with the full range of associated values and through the application of treatments selected from the full range of appropriate options. Late modern states, including British Columbia, Canada, nominally embrace de jure heritage policies consonant with international standards yet also resist de facto heritage management practice grounded in professional ethics and local values and preferences. In response, inheritor communities and their allies in archaeology are demonstrating the benefits of FSA and reclaiming control over cultural heritage. Archaeology and heritage management driven by altruistic articulation of communal, educational, scientific and other values further expose shortcomings and vulnerabilities of late modern states as well as public goods in and from FSA.

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Article
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An Analysis of the State of Public Archaeology in Canadian Public School Curricula

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-09-01
Abstract: 

Public support of archaeology is required to have effective heritage legislation and the prevention of site vandalism and looting. One of the best ways for the public to understand the importance of archaeology and heritage conservation is through school-aged education. This paper examines the nature and extent to which archaeology is covered in Canadian public school curricula. To determine the extent of archaeological material in school curricula, Social Studies curricula from each province and territory are examined and critically evaluated. This analysis indicates that archaeology is not often taught in curricula, and when it is taught, lacks a Canadian focus. For further evaluation, these findings are compared to the guidelines developed by the Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA), to determine if its expectations for students' achievement in archaeology are appropriate and are being met. This research emphasizes the gap between CAA guidelines and Canadian curricula and pinpoints what is lacking in school-aged archaeological education in Canada.

 

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Article
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Towards an Evaluation-Based Framework of Collaborative Archaeology

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-04-01
Abstract: 

Collaborative archaeology is a growing field within the discipline, albeit one that is rarely analyzed. Although collaborative approaches are varied and diverse, we argue that they can all share a single methodological framework. Moreover, we suggest that collaborative archaeology projects can be evaluated to determine the variety among projects and to identify the elements of engaged research. We provide two case studies emphasizing project evaluation: (1) inter-project evaluation of community-engagement in British Columbia archaeology and (2) intra-project evaluation of co-management archaeology projects in Western Australia. The two case studies highlight that project evaluation is possible and that a single framework can be applied to many different types of projects. Collaborative archaeology requires analysis and evaluation to determine what facilitates engagement to further the discipline and to create better connections between archaeologists and community members. The discussed case studies illustrate two shared methods for accomplishing this. The paper argues that collaborative approaches are necessary for advancing archaeological practice.

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Article
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The Ancestral Shape Hypothesis: An Evolutionary Explanation for the Occurrence of Intervertebral Disc Herniation in Humans

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015
Abstract: 

Background

Recent studies suggest there is a relationship between intervertebral disc herniation and vertebral shape. The nature of this relationship is unclear, however. Humans are more commonly afflicted with spinal disease than are non-human primates and one suggested explanation for this is the stress placed on the spine by bipedalism. With this in mind, we carried out a study of human, chimpanzee, and orangutan vertebrae to examine the links between vertebral shape, locomotion, and Schmorl’s nodes, which are bony indicators of vertical intervertebral disc herniation. We tested the hypothesis that vertical disc herniation preferentially affects individuals with vertebrae that are towards the ancestral end of the range of shape variation within Homo sapiens and therefore are less well adapted for bipedalism.

Results

The study employed geometric morphometric techniques. Two-dimensional landmarks were used to capture the shapes of the superior aspect of the body and posterior elements of the last thoracic and first lumbar vertebrae of chimpanzees, orangutans, and humans with and without Schmorl’s nodes. These data were subjected to multivariate statistical analyses.

Canonical Variates Analysis indicated that the last thoracic and first lumbar vertebrae of healthy humans, chimpanzees, and orangutans can be distinguished from each other (p<0.028), but vertebrae of pathological humans and chimpanzees cannot (p>0.4590). The Procrustes distance between pathological humans and chimpanzees was found to be smaller than the one between pathological and healthy humans. This was the case for both vertebrae. Pair-wise MANOVAs of Principal Component scores for both the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae found significant differences between all pairs of taxa (p<0.029), except pathological humans vs chimpanzees (p>0.367). Together, these results suggest that human vertebrae with Schmorl’s nodes are closer in shape to chimpanzee vertebrae than are healthy human vertebrae.

Conclusions

The results support the hypothesis that intervertebral disc herniation preferentially affects individuals with vertebrae that are towards the ancestral end of the range of shape variation within H. sapiens and therefore are less well adapted for bipedalism. This finding not only has clinical implications but also illustrates the benefits of bringing the tools of evolutionary biology to bear on problems in medicine and public health.

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Article
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Bayesian Modeling and Chronological Precision for Polynesian Settlement of Tonga

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015
Abstract: 

First settlement of Polynesia, and population expansion throughout the ancestral Polynesian homeland are foundation events for global history. A precise chronology is paramount to informed archaeological interpretation of these events and their consequences. Recently applied chronometric hygiene protocols excluding radiocarbon dates on wood charcoal without species identification all but eliminates this chronology as it has been built for the Kingdom of Tonga, the initial islands to be settled in Polynesia. In this paper we re-examine and redevelop this chronology through application of Bayesian models to the questioned suite of radiocarbon dates, but also incorporating short-lived wood charcoal dates from archived samples and high precision U/Th dates on coral artifacts. These models provide generation level precision allowing us to track population migration from first Lapita occupation on the island of Tongatapu through Tonga’s central and northern island groups. They further illustrate an exceptionally short duration for the initial colonizing Lapita phase and a somewhat abrupt transition to ancestral Polynesian society as it is currently defined.

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Article
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Classic Maya Bloodletting and the Cultural Evolution of Religious Rituals: Quantifying Patterns of Variation in Hieroglyphic Texts

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-09-25
Abstract: 

Religious rituals that are painful or highly stressful are hypothesized to be costly signs of commitment essential for the evolution of complex society. Yet few studies have investigated how such extreme ritual practices were culturally transmitted in past societies. Here, we report the first study to analyze temporal and spatial variation in bloodletting rituals recorded in Classic Maya (ca. 250–900 CE) hieroglyphic texts. We also identify the sociopolitical contexts most closely associated with these ancient recorded rituals. Sampling an extensive record of 2,480 hieroglyphic texts, this study identifies every recorded instance of the logographic sign for the word ch’ahb’ that is associated with ritual bloodletting. We show that documented rituals exhibit low frequency whose occurrence cannot be predicted by spatial location. Conversely, network ties better capture the distribution of bloodletting rituals across the southern Maya region. Our results indicate that bloodletting rituals by Maya nobles were not uniformly recorded, but were typically documented in association with antagonistic statements and may have signaled royal commitments among connected polities.

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Article
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Ancient Clam Gardens Increased Shellfish Production: Adaptive Strategies from the Past Can Inform Food Security Today

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-03-11
Abstract: 

Maintaining food production while sustaining productive ecosystems is among the central challenges of our time, yet, it has been for millennia. Ancient clam gardens, intertidal rock-walled terraces constructed by humans during the late Holocene, are thought to have improved the growing conditions for clams. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the beach slope, intertidal height, and biomass and density of bivalves at replicate clam garden and non-walled clam beaches in British Columbia, Canada. We also quantified the variation in growth and survival rates of littleneck clams (Leukoma staminea) we experimentally transplanted across these two beach types. We found that clam gardens had significantly shallower slopes than non-walled beaches and greater densities of L. staminea and Saxidomus giganteus, particularly at smaller size classes. Overall, clam gardens contained 4 times as many butter clams and over twice as many littleneck clams relative to non-walled beaches. As predicted, this relationship varied as a function of intertidal height, whereby clam density and biomass tended to be greater in clam gardens compared to non-walled beaches at relatively higher intertidal heights. Transplanted juvenile L. staminea grew 1.7 times faster and smaller size classes were more likely to survive in clam gardens than non-walled beaches, specifically at the top and bottom of beaches. Consequently, we provide strong evidence that ancient clam gardens likely increased clam productivity by altering the slope of soft-sediment beaches, expanding optimal intertidal clam habitat, thereby enhancing growing conditions for clams. These results reveal how ancient shellfish aquaculture practices may have supported food security strategies in the past and provide insight into tools for the conservation, management, and governance of intertidal seascapes today.

Document type: 
Article
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