Journal article

Oxygen isotopes from limpet shells: Implications for palaeothermometry and seasonal shellfish foraging studies in the Mediterranean

AL Prendergast, BR Schoene



Limpet shells are common components of many archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. To test whether δ18O values from archaeological Patella caerulea shells can serve as a reliable palaeothermometer for the Mediterranean and a reliable archive of season of collection information, we collected live P. caerulea from eight Mediterranean locations in Croatia, Israel, Libya, Malta, Tunisia, and Turkey. Shell growth patterns were studied in section, and samples for oxygen isotope analysis were milled from the shells and used to calculate sea surface temperature (SST). As with other species of limpet, SST reconstructed from P. caerulea δ18O values were lower than expected from observational recor..

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Awarded by European Union's Seventh Framework Programme under REA

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Michael Maus and Soraya Marali for assistance with carbonate stable isotope analysis, Stefania Milano and Tobias Hager for assistance with Raman spectroscopy, and Marthese Azzorpadi, Adam Fadlallak, Mohumud Touati, Abdulgander Al-Mzeni, Daniella Bar Yosef-Mayer, Henk Mienis, and Ronald Pouwer, for access to and assistance with collection of modern specimens. ALP was supported by an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowship during the course of this research. BRS received funding for this study from the People Program (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013/) under REA grant agreement number (604802) (Marie Curie International Training Network ARAMACC).