4. The Archaeological Fish-Bone Images (AFBI) Sustainable Digital Archive

As at May 2010, the archive contains over 500 high-quality jpeg images of selected anatomical parts of modern and archaeological fish bones judged to be most relevant to the archaeology of the Sydney region. Approximately twenty-five families are included. Most are Sydney taxa but some occur beyond Sydney.

Images were taken by professional museum photographer Russell Workman. Shots were set up by Colley in a standard way to display key diagnostic features for each bone element. Multiple shots were taken of some bones. Criteria explained elswhere in this article were used to target fish for inclusion. Only some of these fish were available in the two modern reference collections involved at this stage of the project at the Australian National University in Canberra (Australian National University 2009) and the Department of Archaeology, University of Sydney.

As archaeological remains are often eroded, fragmented and coloured differently to modern ones it is useful to have images of both in the archive. Images of fish from Quadrant (Colley 2006b; Colley in prep.) and an Aboriginal shellmidden on the NSW far south coast identified as the Greenglade site (Colley 1997) are included. Fish from these sites had previously been matched against another physical reference collection at the Australian Museum in Sydney. As the Australian Museum collections also have significant gaps, some fish from both sites remained unidentified. Images (for Quadrant) and bones (for Greenglade) were subsequently matched against images of modern fish already in the AFBI archive and many could be identified. Digital photographs of Greenglade and Quadrant fish were then added to the archive. Some Quadrant fish bones are still unidentified. Hopefully they can be identified by other users, or by adding images of missing taxa in future.


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