Evaluating contemporaneity and post-mortem age of malacological remains using sclerochronology and dendrochronology

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    Abstract

    Sclerochronology and dendrochronology are based on series of incremental skeletal and cambial growths that have been correctly aligned in time via cross-dating (i.e., incremental dating through synchronization of the growth variability on a visual and statistical basis). Here we report a study of the shell increments of two anthropogenic death assemblages of freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) originating from Finnish Lapland. First, we cross-dated a new sclerochronology from an assemblage of river pearl mussel shells with unknown post-mortem age. Second, this chronology was cross-dated with the previously published sclerochronology of the same species and geographical source. Third, the composite of the two sclerochronologies was compared to dendrochronologies from Lapland. Temporal association of the two types of chronologies was markedly high, as confirmed by t-values of 7.1 and 8.9, which are well above the acceptable limit of 3.5. Our study demonstrates the potential of sclerochronological and dendrochronological materials and techniques in assessing the contemporaneity (i.e., temporal overlap) and post-mortem age of archaeomalacological deposits. In the palaeontological context, these results also show the wider possibility of dating shells with a large number of annual increments from natural deposits.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalArchaeometry
    Volume51
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)861-877
    Number of pages17
    ISSN0003-813X
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Fields of Science

    • 117 Geography, Environmental sciences

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