Estimating crown conch (Melongena corona) tissue weight from archaeological shell measurements: An allometric methodology for
coastal historical ecological research
Authors: Kendal Jackson, Elizabeth Southard, Sharlene O'Donnell, John Arthur
Coastal archaeologists and historical ecologists are taking an increasingly robust interest in marine shell assemblages recovered from coastal villages and civic-ceremonial sites. These assemblages must be quantified before archaeologists can make assessments of biomass flows and subsistence contributions. We present the results of an experimental allometric study on Melongena corona snails collected from the mangrove dominated shoreline of Weedon Island Preserve, Florida, USA. Our analysis produced regression constants for predicting tissue weight estimates from four independent linear shell metrics, including: length, aperture-length, height, and width. This study is unique in its integration of field and laboratory experimentation, and in the large sample size used to develop allometric constants. To exemplify the utility of our regression models, we apply our allometric constants to a late-Precolumbian (ca. 895-1268 CE) marine shell assemblage excavated from the Weeden Island site (8PI1), Pinellas County, Florida, USA. For more information, please see paper.