Since the earliest appearance of archaeomalacological papers in the late 1970s, the
importance of and interest in archaeomalacology as a subdiscipline has increased
significantly. The objective of the proposed session at the ICAZ conference in Mexico
City is to bring together the various archaeomalacological researchers to discuss
their current research. The ICAZ conference facilitates the sharing of diverse scientific
approaches and new methodologies within the field, fostering a better understanding
regarding human interaction with maritime environments. Papers for this session ideally
will focus on a broad range of topics: comparing and discussing molluscan evidence
in terms of global ecological trends; aquatic adaptations; human impact on environment;
continuity and discontinuity in cultural traditions; trade relationships; gender
and social identity. Papers dealing with regional, inter-regional, methodological,
environmental, and anthropological problems, bringing in multiple proxy-data together
are encouraged rather than restrictively site-specific discussions or merely descriptive
The Archaeomalacology Session at Mexico City and its Working Group Meeting
Reported by Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer, Working group liaison.
The archaeomalacology working group decided during its initial business meeting in
Florida, in February of 2005 to meet every other year, alternating between a session
within the general ICAZ meeting and an independent meeting elsewhere.
During the recent ICAZ meeting in Mexico City due to logistical reasons our session
was split into two parts on different days. The session was very variable and included
10 oral presentations and two posters. The topics varied from oyster cultivation
to the production and exchange of shell artifacts; from paleoenvironmental reconstruction
and dating of mollusks to their dietary significance in an island society as well
as shell symbolism. (The abstracts are available on the Bone Commons website). A
wide chronological and geographical range was represented, and all papers were stimulating
contributions for future research.
In our previous meeting the group welcomed a contribution of sea urchins, while this
time we included a study on Ostracod Paleoecology. Being the only working group dedicated
to invertebrates, we are open to include such studies and benefit from them.
In addition to the archaeomalacology session, there was a session dedicated to Mollusks
of Precolumbian Mexico. Withn the entire conference there were about 30 papers and
posters that discussed mollusks in various contexts, many of them within the session
on Exploitation of Coastal Resources but also elsewhere.
A business meeting was carried out dedicated primarily to discuss the publication
of the proceedings and to our next meeting. Canan Cakirlar and Victoria Stosel agreed
to undertake the editing and publishing of the proceedings of the Archaeomalacology
and the Mollusks of Precolumbian Mexico sessions in one volume.
Esteban Álvarez Fernández and Diana Rocio Carvajal Contreras volunteered to co-organize
the next meeting of the Working Group in Santander, Spain during 2008.