Archeology and Oysters

Oysters retain a complete story of their life history in their shells – the challenge is to decipher the story. Oysters were a significant part of the diet of early colonial settlers and have remained an important factor in the economy and societal development of the mid Atlantic states. A collaboration between Dr. Juliana M. Harding of VIMS and researchers at Jamestown VA opened the opportunity to examine oysters recovered from well excavations at Jamestown as recorders of local river environmental conditions during the early years of colonial settlement. The collaboration expanded to include participation of Dr. Howard Spero (University of California, Davis), Dr. Gregory Herbert and Jennifer Sliko (University of South Florida), and resulted in a publication in PNAS. Dr. Harding continues her work on Chesapeake archaeological collections in her new faculty position at Coastal Carolina University.

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