Methodology and Results

The Quayside sites produced in excess of 6,000 identifiable bones (roughly 2,500 from Queen Street and 3,500 from Crown Court) from at least 30 different species or families of fish (Table 1).

Present, but only 1 or 2 bones
Fairly frequent - occurs in several samples
Very abundant
Fish Taxa Abundance Location
Thornback Ray (Raja clavata) Both sites
Rajidae Both sites
Elasmobranch Both sites
Eel (Anguilla anguilla) Both sites
Conger Eel (Conger conger) Only at Crown Court
Salmon (Salmo salar) Only at Queen Street
Salmonidae Only at Crown Court
Herring (Clupea harengus) Both sites
Smelt (Osmerus eperlanus) Both sites
Angler (Lophius piscatorius) Only at Crown Court
Cod (Gadus morhua) Both sites
Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) Both sites
Whiting (Merlangius merlangus) Both sites
Saithe (Pollachius virens) Both sites
Pollack (Pollachius pollachius) Both sites
5-bearded Rockling (Ciliata mustella) Only at Crown Court
Ling (Molva molva) Both sites
Hake (Merluccius merluccius) Only at Crown Court
Gadidae Both sites
Grey Gurnard (Eutrigla gurnardus) Both sites
Tub Gurnard (Trigla lucerna) Only at Crown Court
Triglidae Both sites
Ballan Wrasse (Labrus bergylta) Only at Queen Street
Labridae Only at Queen Street
Garfish (Belone belone) Only at Queen Street
Scad (Trachurus trachurus) Both sites
?Sparidae Only at Crown Court
Sandeel (Ammodytidae) Both sites
Gobidae Only at Crown Court
Butterfish (Pholis gunnelus) Only at Crown Court
Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) Only at Queen Street
Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) Both sites
Flounder (Platichthys flesus) Both sites
Dab (Limanda limanda) Both sites
?Lemon sole (Microstomus kitt) Only at Queen Street
Halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) Only at Crown Court
Pleuronectidae Both sites
Table 1. Fish Represented in the Newcastle Quayside Assemblage

The bones were identified by comparison with modern reference specimens belonging to the author, and those held in the Environmental Archaeology Unit, University of York. Bones were identified to anatomical element and, where possible, to species. Measurements were taken on the more commonly represented head bones and vertebrae based on those used by Andrew Jones at the Environmental Archaeology Unit, York, which include some described by Morales and Roselund (1979) but use alternative measurements where necessary to exploit more robust areas of bone. Detailed records of the assemblages are held in the archive of the Archaeological Unit for North East England.

As shown in Table 1, all of the fishes represented in the quayside assemblages could have been caught in the estuary of the River Tyne or in the North Sea around the North East of England. The majority of the remains were recovered after sieving large soil samples, especially in the case of Crown Court where an intensive sieving programme was implemented on site using the modified Siraf tank (Jones 1983) fitted with a 1mm and, occasionally, a 0.5mm mesh. Gadidae and herring (Clupea harengus) were the most commonly represented groups, while flatfish (Pleuronectidae), thornback ray (Raja clavata), eel (Anguilla anguilla) and sandeel (Ammodytidae) occurred in quite a few deposits. Of the less commonly represented species, bones from hake (Merluccius merluccius), halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus), garfish (Belone belone), salmon (Salmo salar) and turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) were recovered only from the handpicked material, which argues for the handpicking of bones in addition to sieving, except in cases where facilities exist for massive sieving operations.


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Last updated: Thu Dec 16 1999