Minimum Number of Element Counts in Archaeology
Type de publication:Conference Paper
Résumé (en anglais):
The calculation ofthe minimum number of anatomical elements (M.N.E.) per taxon is basic to all but the simplest manipulations of archaeological faunal data. It is the hidden calculation, for instance, in deterrnining Mnimum Number of Individual (M.N.I.) counts, and forms the basis of Bindfords more recent Minimal Animal Unit (MAU.) strategy. Yet most researchers have apparently given very little thought into how M.N.E.s are calculated. Most seem to simply count distal and proximal ends, a procedure which may be adequate for some kill sites, but is woefully inadequate when dealing with the more comminuted assemblages characteristic of many habitation sites. A caribou-bone assemblage from a western Arctic Inuit site is used to explore some of the issues involved, which centre around the number and distinctiveness of the counting locations used, and resulting problems of aggregation. Conclusions are not encouraging.