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What is a shell circle?

What is a shell circle?

Located along the barrier islands and coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, shell rings (also called middens or trash heaps) are circular and semicircular deposits of shell, bone, soil, and artifacts. The largest of Georgia’s shell rings are more than nine feet high and three hundred feet in diameter.

What were shell rings used for?

Marquardt suggests in a 2010 article in American Antiquity that these “rings” built from oyster shell were used to capture rain and ground water. Other archaeologists, including Dr.

What are shell rings made of?

Made up of hundreds of thousands of oysters, clams and mussels, it is a circular shell deposit roughly 150 feet across, surrounding a wide, shell-free “plaza.” Part of a broader tradition of ring-building, the Sea Pines Shell Ring is one of some 50 known shell rings found along the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and …

What is the shell mound archaic culture?

Although the term is sometimes more broadly applied, the “Shell Mound Archaic” (SMA) is used here to refer to a set of distinctive sites present only along the Ohio River and its tributaries (Claassen 2010, 36) in portions of northern Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and West Virginia (Figure 1).

Why are shell middens important?

Why are middens important? Freshwater shell middens provide valuable information about past Aboriginal economy and land use. They are one of the few sources of information about Aboriginal use of lakes, rivers and swamps. Although mussel shells are fragile, they often survive longer than animal bones and plant remains.

Why might the shell rings have been abandoned?

“Native American shell ring villages may have been occupied then abandoned because of climate change: Analysis of mollusk shells reveals environmental changes in U.S. coastal communities around 4,000 years ago.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2022.

What is a shell mound?

shell mound, also called Kitchen Midden, in anthropology, prehistoric refuse heap, or mound, consisting chiefly of the shells of edible mollusks intermingled with evidence of human occupancy.

How are shell middens formed?

Concentrations of shell washed to shore by natural processes such as strong tides or storms can sometimes create mounds of shell that appear similar to an Aboriginal midden. These natural deposits are usually found at the high tide mark, and predominantly contain small shellfish such as Venus Clams and Dog Cockles.

Why are middens an important source of information for archaeologists?

Archaeologists love middens because they contain the broken remains from all kinds of cultural behaviors. Middens hold food remains—including pollen and phytoliths as well as the food themselves—and pottery or pans that contained them.

What do the rings on an oyster shell mean?

Oyster shells have rings, much like tree rings, which give clues about oyster growth and age. Scientists can use local conditions (i.e. environmental clues – cold winters with slow growth and a dense age ring, warm summers with faster growth and a less dense ring) to determine the age of the oyster.

What are shell deposits?

Shell midden deposits are valuable records of the human past and often supply the scaffolds on which to build our understanding of prehistoric coastlines. They often provide exceptional preservation conditions for artefacts as well as human and animal remains.

What is a shell midden and why is it important?

Shell middens provide valuable information about Aboriginal use of the coast and can show changes in diet, behaviour, activities and settlement over the last 12,000 years. One of the most important features of midden places is that the shell can easily be dated using the radiocarbon method of dating.

Where are shell middens found?

Freshwater shell middens are found along river banks and flood plains, near swamps and lakes, and in sand dunes. They are sometimes found in dry areas, where fresh water was once present. Freshwater mussel shells may also be found in Aboriginal oven mounds, but usually only in small quantities.

What other archeological remains are found in shell middens?

While biased toward animals and plants indigenous people found useful, they are however, one of the limited sources of information of the region’s paleoenvironments. The remains of extinct species, such as the Sea Mink and the Great Auk, are found in shell middens.

Why do oysters have shells?

Oyster shells are made of calcium carbonate. Oysters create their shells by secreting proteins and minerals from their mantle extracellularly. This creates new layers of shell. Oysters don’t shed their shell, they enlarge them as they grow.

Why are seashells important?

Seashells are an important part of coastal ecosystems: They provide materials for birds’ nests, a home or attachment surface for algae, sea grass, sponges and a host of other microorganisms. Fish use them to hide from predators, and hermit crabs use them as temporary shelters.

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