Small-scale fisheries are multidimensional and as such their analysis requires inter-, trans- and multi-disciplinary approaches. TRADITION will combine cutting-edge biomolecular archaeology with palaeoecology, history, citizen knowledge and participatory analysis to tackle our specific objectives.

Stable isotope analysis of skeletal remains

This technique offers the most direct and informative approach to study diet in the past. The δ13C, δ15N, δ34S values of bulk collagen and single amino acids of human and faunal bone remains will be analysed to reconstruct the diets of coastal populations from pre-Columbian to post-contact periods. Bayesian Mixing Models will provide the proportional dietary contributions of terrestrial, freshwater and marine resources.

Molecular and isotopic analysis of organic residues in ceramic artefacts

Analysis of organic residues will inform us about the use of marine resources in everyday cuisine and other activities. Ceramics were the most common form of cooking vessel in coastal South America until relatively recently, and are well preserved in archaeological sites. Comparing their use offers an opportunity to examine patterns in coastal exploitation through time. Bayesian Mixing Models will be used to quantify the proportional dietary contributions of aquatic resources in different vessels, from pre-Columbian to historical times.

Analysis of faunal remains

Faunal remains allow us to explore patterns in human exploitation of coastal resources during the introduction of ceramics to the coast, in the context of changing coastal environments, and the European colonization and urbanization of the Atlantic Forest. By comparing archaeological and modern faunal data, this approach will also provide indicators of regional marine biodiversity through time. This information will be integrated with the palaeodietary studies of human remains and pottery use.

Analysis of written documents

Written documents provide regional and local historical contexts for integrating archaeological and palaeoecological records at the local and regional scale. This will also allow us to explore the nature and scale of aquatic resource exploitation in general, offering qualitative (target species, technology) and quantitative (fish catch, species distribution) elements to assess the modern legacy of these fisheries and to inform current management and conservation efforts.

Citizen knowledge and participatory analysis

Human-environment interactions, as well as community livelihoods and resilience, will be assessed in two distinct small-scale fishing societies, located in São Francisco do Sul (south) and Recife (northeast). The information obtained will be analysed using a participatory geographical information system method to explore spatial and temporal changes in modern fishing communities, and then compared with historical (local) and archaeological (regional) information.