1. Introduction

This article presents the archaeomalacological study of the site of Clos des Châtaigniers, at Mathieu (Normandy, France). The interest of such a study is that it is one of the first on the Channel coast dated to the Bronze Age. In fact, for this period, there are few studies on the exploitation of shellfish by the coastal populations in France (Weydert 1994; Dupont 2008; 2011; 2013; Mougne in prep), and especially on the Channel coast (Mougne and Dupont 2012; Mougne and Dupont in press). The same applies to other European countries, where some studies have been undertaken (for example: McCormick et al. 1996; Prummel 2002; Minniti 2005; Theodoropoulou 2007; 2008; Çakirlar 2009; Marlasca Martín 2010; Law 2012).

Five objectives guide this study. The first is to characterise the marine invertebrates discovered on the site, then to establish whether their gathering was intentional (e.g. for human consumption) or accidental, in order to generate some data on the diet of the inhabitants. These data make it possible to define the environments exploited and the gathering methods used. The third objective tries to identify some culinary practices linked to the preparation and cooking of marine shells. Then, it seems interesting to carry out a spatial distribution of the shells within the settlement, in order to obtain information on the management of marine waste and on the possible presence of some preparation or consumption areas. The final objective aims at analysing a particular set of small fragments of shellfish, which could have originated from the stomach contents of aquatic animals.