The faunal material consists of 12,693 bones recovered between 2000 and 2006 during the excavation of the submerged site. A total of 3847 bone fragments from mammals, birds and amphibians have been identified. Fish bones were determined from four selected sectors of the excavated area. The identification of mammal bone fragments and determination of species was carried out at the Archaeological State Museum Schloss-Gottorf in Northern Germany by using the vertebrate reference collection of the Archaeological-Zoological Working Group (AZA). Zoologists from the AZA analysed the material from the first two excavation years, while the bones from the excavation years 2003-2006 have been analysed by the author. The fish bone determination was carried out by specialists at the same institute.
The characteristic morphology of pinniped bones makes their identification in a faunal assemblage fairly easy. However, the distinction between different seal species, as in this case between harp, grey and ringed seals, is more difficult because all these species are morphologically very similar. Cranial bones can be distinguished with confidence but the use of postcranial bones for species identification can give varying results (Hodgetts 1999). Thus, axial elements, such as vertebrae and ribs, cannot be used to distinguish between species, while lower limb bones are unreliable as species indicators (Hodgetts 1999). Therefore, identification of pinniped bones at a species level occurred on selected skeletal elements that allow a secure determination (for descriptions of the criteria see Heinrich 1991a; Hodgetts 1999; Storå 2001b; Ukkonen 2002). These were skull, mandible, scapula, humerus, radius, ulna, femur, tibia and fibula. All the remaining skeletal elements have been identified only to family level (Phocidae indet.).
Quantification of frequencies includes NISP (Number of Identified Specimens) and MNI (Minimal Number of Individuals) (Binford 1981; Lyman 2008). In this study, to calculate the MNI, which is typically obtained by the higher number of left or right skeletal elements for one taxon, fragmentation of the bones, sex and dentition were taken into consideration.
Age estimation at the time of death was obtained by using epiphyseal fusion data. Ageing of pinnipeds according to fused/unfused epiphyses allows a rough division into four age groups: yearlings, juveniles, young adults and adults (Storå 2001a; 2001b). This age clustering does not correspond to actual chronological ages, since the skeletal growth and fusion of the epiphyses on pinnipeds is related to life history and their physical and sexual maturity, and therefore considerable differences can occur between individuals (Storå 2001a; 2001b). A more precise age estimation was achieved by applying osteometric analysis. Size and growth variation on seal bones within the above-mentioned age groups help to distinguish seasonality of hunting patterns (Storå 2001a). This analysis has been performed on humeri and femora, as these bones give secure determination at species level.
Due to excellent surface preservation of the bones, diverse modifications such as cut marks, tooth marks, and intentional breakages were recognisable and registered. All cut marks were recorded on sketches and some were photographed. Quantification of cut marks was carried out by counting those skeletal elements showing cut marks and not the number of cut marks on one bone. The specific position of cut marks on the bone helps to recognise and qualify killing and butchering patterns as well as to evaluate and differentiate processing patterns (skinning, filleting and scraping, dismembering: Binford 1981; Lyman 1987; 1992; Trolle-Lassen 1992). The meat utility index for phocid seals (Lyman et al. 1992) was utilised to reveal the economic significance of different body parts. That study showed the rib cage to have the highest meat utility value, followed by the pelvis, the vertebrae and, in fourth place, the proximal limb bones. The lower limb bones have the lowest meat utility value. For the current study, the meat utility index was evaluated on the basis of NISP (Number of Identified Specimens).
Lipids extracted from interior surfaces and charred interior deposits from Ertebølle pointed based and Funnel Beaker pottery, recovered from the same archaeological context, have been analysed within the project 'Pottery Use among late Foragers and early Farmers in the Baltic'. Organic residue analysis of these lipids was analysed by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) and GC combustion isotope ratio MS (GC-c-IRMS). Methods and results have been reported by Craig et al. (2011) and Heron et al. (2013).