My DPhil project focuses on the use of marine carbonates - shellfish and otoliths - as proxies for reconstructing subannual sea surface temperatures. My primary methodology is incremental stable oxygen isotope analysis, which I am undertaking at the British Geological Survey through funding from a NERC isotope geoscience facilities grant (IP-1944-1119). This analysis will be complemented by radiocarbon dating, and electron microprobe trace element analysis of the otoliths. The material I'm working comes from late Holocene midden layers at the site of Hamanaka II, on Rebun Island off the north coast of Hokkaido. Samples were collected in collaboration with Hokkaido University as part of their current programme of fieldwork on Rebun Island. The assemblage represents marine resource exploitation by prehistoric hunter-gatherers, and has the potential to provide a high-resolution look at northern Japan's palaeoenvironment with direct relevance to archaeological evidence. I am particularly interested in considering how seasonal-scale climatic changes can affect human behaviour, especially for hunter-gatherers whose subsistence strategies and mobility patterns can be highly environmentally dependent.
Branscombe, Tansy, Marjolein Nigst, and Preston Miracle. 2020. “Seasonal Shellfishing across the East Adriatic Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition: Oxygen Isotope Analysis of Phorcus Turbinatus from Vela Spila (Croatia).” Environmental Archaeology. https://doi.org/10.1080/14614103.2020.1721695.