Broadening and diversification of hunted resources, from the late Palaeolithic to the late Mesolithic, in the North and East of France and the bordening areas


en Anthropozoologica 25-26 - Pages 295-308

Published on 01 June 1998

This article is a part of the thematic issue Proceedings of the 7th ICAZ International Meeting, Constance, September 1994

The question of subsistence changes during the Mesolithic period is debated on the basis of the diachronic analysis of the structure of 60 faunal spectra. The assemblages come from sites located in northern and eastern France and bordering areas (Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg). Some Ertebølle assemblages from Scania are also included for comparison. A quantitative analysis of macrofaunal data is carried out. Two criteria are used for comparison: species richness, that is the abundance of taxa represented in an assemblage, and species diversity or evenness. Species richness and diversity are measured by statistical tests of quantitative indices unrelated to sample sizes. lt appears that neither broadening of prey spectrum, nor chronological diversification (from late Palaeolithic to late Mesolithic) can be attested in those regions. A qualitative analysis focuses on birds, fishes, amphihians and micromammals data, species likely to have been food supplies. Results are more subtile: 110 intensification of birds occurence is observed in our regions during the periods considered. Bird predation seems to be a random, generalized and probably opportunistic foraging. An increase in the occurence of fishes, amphibians and micromammals is observed between the early and late stages.


Hunting economy, Epipalaeolithic, Mesolithic, species richness, species diversity, broad spectrum.

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