Accepted Paper:

Snails, other invertebrates and coastal archaeology in South West Britain  


Matt Law (Cardiff University)

Paper short abstract:

Snails from coastal sites can reveal very detailed pictures of land use, environment and taphonomy, although the discipline is relatively under-developed in these contexts compared to inland sites. This paper presents a review of work in the region, and proposes a research agenda.

Paper long abstract:

The sediments of the north coast of the South West Peninsula, from the wind-blown sands of Cornwall to the intertidal peats and clays of the Severn Estuary, have the potential to contain a wealth of archaeological remains, often associated with well-preserved assemblages of snails and other invertebrates. The palaeoenvironmental potential of snails from blown sand was the subject of an important review paper by Evans in 1979, and were summarised more recently by Davies in 2008, however in general molluscan analysis has flourished more in inland sites than on the coast. This paper presents a summary of published and unpublished work to date, highlighting aspects of taphonomy and site history that may be revealed, and proposes an agenda for future invertebrate zooarchaeology in coastal sites in the South West.

Panel S02
Palaeoeconomy and palaeoecology of south west Britain