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To fish or not to fish? Fish processing at Iron Gates: an experimental approach

Petrović, Anđa; Lemorini, Cristina; Nunziante-Cesaro, Stella; Živaljević, Ivana

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    <subfield code="a">use wear analysis, FTIR analysis, experimental archaeology, chipped stone tools, fish processing, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Iron Gates</subfield>
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    <subfield code="d">7-11 September 2020</subfield>
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    <subfield code="a">MESO' 2020 – Tenth International Conference on the Mesolithic in Europe</subfield>
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    <subfield code="u">Department of Ancient World Studies, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy</subfield>
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    <subfield code="a">To fish or not to fish? Fish processing at Iron Gates: an experimental approach</subfield>
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    <subfield code="a">&lt;p&gt;It is well known that many Mesolithic and Early Neolithic sites have been recovered during&amp;nbsp;the past century in the Iron Gates region (Eastern Serbia). The application of diverse analysis&amp;nbsp;on human remains and artefacts raised many questions, but also offered new ideas about the&amp;nbsp;transitional period in the middle and lower course of Danube. New methods and studies of&amp;nbsp;the artefacts enabled the researchers to have a look at the everyday life of the hunter-gatherer-fishermen groups who inhabited the area during Late Glacial and Early Holocene.&lt;br&gt;
Communities in Iron Gates consumed fish and exploited the bank in the prehistory. This is&amp;nbsp;visible in the results of isotope analysis done on the human individuals implying that they fed&amp;nbsp;on aquatic resources, in some periods more than in others. Fish remains were also found in the&amp;nbsp;settlements and based on the iconography present on the sculpted boulders and other artefacts,&amp;nbsp;the bond between the people, river, and eco-system was compelling.&lt;br&gt;
The idea of this communication is to present the possible fish working using chipped stone tools&amp;nbsp;in the Iron Gates region during the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition. The traces are observed by&amp;nbsp;various methods, having in mind how hard is to detect activity specific as fish processing. The&amp;nbsp;analyses consisted of both low- and high-power approach combined with FTIR analysis.&lt;br&gt;
The experimental approach has also been applied as a usual procedure in the use-wear analysis.&amp;nbsp;A couple of experimental sets were done on the larger fish, like common carp (Cyprinus carpio)&amp;nbsp;with an idea to reproduce use-wear traces on chipped stone replicas. Diverse activities as scale&amp;nbsp;removal, hide working, organ removal and filleting were done. In the case of experimental tools,&lt;br&gt;
FTIR analysis was of additional help to test the tracing of chemical elements that could be&amp;nbsp;connected to activities on diverse fish parts and organs.&lt;br&gt;
Finally, the experimental results represented by macro traces and polish are being compared&amp;nbsp;to the use-wear traces found on the archaeological sample. Traces of filleting, butchering and&amp;nbsp;decapitation found on the bones were also compared to the ones found on Lepenski Vir, Vlasac&amp;nbsp;and Padina site. This combined and specfiic study helped us understand the processing of fish&amp;nbsp;in the prehistoric period in detail, from the tool selection to the hide tanning.&lt;/p&gt;</subfield>
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