kitchen midden

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kitchen midden,

refuse heap left by a prehistoric settlement; more specifically, a deposit consisting primarily of discarded shell and related cultural material in coastal environments. First studied (1848) in Denmark, middens are an important source of ecological and cultural information. Kitchen middens, generally known as shell mounds in the Americas, usually date from the late Mesolithic periodMesolithic period
or Middle Stone Age,
period in human development between the end of the Paleolithic period and the beginning of the Neolithic period. It began with the end of the last glacial period over 10,000 years ago and evolved into the Neolithic period; this
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. Their contents include artifacts that can be dated, suggesting the mode of life and technology of ancient peoples. Analysis of animal remains can indicate the climate, season, length of occupation, hunting patterns, and the possible presence of domestication. Such middens generally represent only one component of a complex foraging strategy of migratory hunter-gatherers.

Kitchen Midden


(also shell mound, shell heap), an accumulation of shells of edible mollusks and other food remains at certain habitation sites of the Neolithic period (about the fifth to third millennia B.C.). They are generally found on seacoasts and riverbanks. The best studied are those in Denmark, where they measure as much as 100 to 300 m long and 1 to 3 m high. Small kitchen middens have been found in the USSR in the vicinity of the Dnieper River.

References in periodicals archive ?
Dr Stuart Pearson, of the University of Newcastle, has collected and analysed hair and bone samples from more than 20 stick-nest rat middens located in rock shelters and shallow caves.
However, the number of middens owned by females was no longer a significant predictor (Table 8), presumably because although sharing females owned on average more middens than females from the other two categories, there was virtually no difference in midden ownership between keeping and bequeathing mothers (Fig.
Substantial midden deposits on sand plains associated with buried features like a flangerim bowl and a pit on Dmasech, and on the mid-island limestone ridge of Ngeanges indicates that permanent settlements in the Rock Islands were established as early as AD 800-1100.
03 ha) centered on the midden or random location from the focal tree as described by Smith and Mannan (1994) and 10-m by 5-m subplots extending in 40-m transects in each cardinal direction from the circular plot (Fig.
The middens are providing unique terrestrial records to compare against nearby deep ocean-core records, allowing us to think in much more detail about what drives African climate change.
Eleven were obtained by Bourke (2000) from three shell middens also a decade ago, and more recently on one midden and three shell scatters (Bourke 2005a).
To determine whether an agave-containing midden had originated during the Younger Dryas years, the researchers applied radiocarbon dating to fecal pellets in the same midden.
Skins laid on wooden or whalebone rafters and covered with midden served as roofs.
We determined distance from midden to nest for individuals by direct measurement or by using the Distance and Azimuth extension (Version 1.
The Lazaret Midden pairs presented here are from apparently secure stratigraphic contexts without obvious post-depositional disturbance, were collected from the same small excavation units and conform to the age-depth sequence for the site (excluding the disturbed surface layer, see Prangnell 2002: 35).
The machine "took to the air", but unfortunately just went far enough to precipitate pilot Alcander into the middle of the muck midden.
We have previously reported (Ross et al 1999) that fish bone in the Lazaret Midden represents almost 60,000 NISPs (number of individual specimens) weighing almost 250 g, from just one 50 x 50 cm pit.