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MARES -- An archaeological database of Marine Resource Exploitation in Scotland


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MARES is a database of archaeological evidence for marine resource exploitation in Scotland from the earliest known settlement (c. 9000 cal BC) to the end of the Medieval period (c. AD 1500). Currently, it provides data for northern and western Scotland (see map) relating to fishing, hunting of marine mammals and seabirds, shellfish gathering, seaweed usage, and drift wood procurement. As well as details of archaeological finds, it includes information on site location, discovery and excavation history, context and associations, chronology (including available radiocarbon dates), current location of finds, and bibliographic sources. The data are drawn from a wide range of sources, including published and 'grey' literature and collections held by museums, universities, and commercial field units.

The project is sponsored by Historic Scotland and the University of Edinburgh.

Areas of Scotland providing MARES data A sample of fish remains from Bostadh Beach, Lewis Mesolithic bevel-ended tool ('limpet scoop') from Ulva Cave, Mull, Argyll
Herring vertebrae recovered at Bostadh Beach, Lewis
A large cetacean vertebra (note cut-marks) recovered at Bostadh Beach, Lewis

Feedback: The database is still under development and more records will be added as they become available. Comments on the usefulness and accuracy of the information provided by MARES are welcome. Please send suggestions for improvement to: Ruby Cerón Carrasco.

The MARES Team:

Ruby Cerón-Carrasco has over 20 years experience as an archaeozoologist. A graduate of Edinburgh University, she gained her PhD in 2002. She has worked extensively on the identification and analysis of marine organisms, particularly fish and molluscs. Her research has been based mainly in Scotland and covers all archaeological periods, although she has a particular interest in the Iron Age-Norse transition. She has also undertaken archaeozoological research in the eastern Mediterranean and the Anatolian Plateau.

Dave Stone is a computer programmer/analyst working in the Information Tools team within Edinburgh University Computing Services. He has worked with many researchers in the university community and beyond on the specification and implementation of database projects, most recently in the fields of Scottish history and archaeology. Current interests are the integration of web and mapping interfaces into database applications.

Clive Bonsall is Reader in European Prehistory at Edinburgh University. His research interests include hunter-gatherer societies and the transition to farming in Europe, early technology, and palaeodietary reconstruction. He has conducted fieldwork in Scotland and northern England, as well as south-eastern Europe. His publications include The Mesolithic in Europe (1989) and The Human Use of Caves (1997).