Molluscan Analysis

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The analysis of molluscan remains, of both marine and land species, as part of the examination of the environment of man. A mollusk/mollusc is any of a large phylum (Mollusca) of invertebrate animals (as snails, clams, or squids) with a soft unsegmented body usually enclosed in a calcareous shell. Edible species yield information on the subsistence economy of certain groups; in most cases it is the shells which survive. The analysis of marine mollusks involves separation of the shells from the sample by wet sieving, and the identification of varieties. The occurrence of mounds of discarded shell debris in shell middens also allows for a clear understanding of the collecting patterns, seasonal use, and preferences of man in the marine region. Land snails are increasingly used as an adjunct to pollen and insect analysis in attempts to reconstruct past environments.