Let’s catch octopus for dinner: ancient inventions of octopus lures in the Mariana Islands of the remote tropical pacific

Michael Carson, Hsiao-chun Hung

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    When people first lived in remote tropical seashores, they developed novel adaptations for living in these extreme environments, including the use of a specialized octopus lure device. The evidence for this fishing tradition now can be traced back as early as 1500–1100 BC in the Mariana Islands of Western Micronesia. New research has examined the artefacts of these compound lure devices, especially concerning the cut and drilled dorsum pieces of cowrie (Cypraea spp.) shells. Without this archaeological evidence, octopuses would have been undetected in the ancient deposits, and therefore a significant portion of past diet, innovative technology, and traditional practice would have been hidden from modern knowledge. The findings portray a broader and more realistic scene of ancient coastal communities, with implications beyond the confines of the specific island societies of the Pacific.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)599-614
    JournalWorld Archaeology
    Volume53
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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