Fish otoliths from Brazilian shell mound sites: more than a by-product of fishing

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 10:00
, Daniela - Universidade Federal de Sergipe

Otoliths are elements commonly recovered from Brazilian shell mound and midden deposits, and their presence has usually been explained as a simple by-product of fish processing and consumption by hunter-gatherer groups. However, many groups used and still utilize otoliths as charms, oracles, medicinal ingredients, and raw material for jewelry. Realization that the relationship between humans and animals encompasses more than just a subsistence-based connection encouraged a review of the fish assemblage recovered from a cemetery site. Research at the Jabuticabeira II site in southern Brazil unveils new hypotheses for the use and deposition of otoliths by prehistoric coastal hunter-gatherer populations.