Marine Resource Use and Distribution on Ofu Island, Manu’a, American Sāmoa
Aakre, Allison Katie
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Marine resources have played a vital role in the lives of the prehistoric populations that settled Oceania. While it is widely accepted that marine resources make up a considerable component of the diet of prehistoric peoples, distinguishing between shell fragments as a result of food procurement or debris from tool manufacture can be a difficult task. This study, in addition to examining the density and distribution of shellfish use by human populations on Ofu Island, examines the various ways these shellfish might have been procured and processed by utilizing archaeological, ethnographic, and experimental methods. By analyzing excavation data from three sites, interviewing locals, taking part in a shellfish gathering trip, and performing test breaks on Turbo shells, it has been possible to gain a holistic view of shellfish use since initial human occupation. Findings reflect mobile populations that have exploited abundant marine resources in a resilient marine environment throughout prehistory.