Butchery and exploitation of large mammals in the epigravettian levels of Grotta Romanelli (Apulia, Italy)

Pier Francesco CASSOLI, Ivana FIORE & Antonio TAGLIACOZZO

en Anthropozoologica 25-26 - Pages 309-318

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 Grotta Romanelli excavation allowed the exploration of some important archaeological levels ranging from Middle Palaeolithic to Upper Palaeolithic. This paper presents the results of the zooarchaeological analysis of the macrofaunal remains from the Epigravettian levels. The main mammal species are Bos primigenius, Equus (Asinus) hydruntinus and Cervus elaphus. Vulpes vulpes is the most common carnivore, whereas mustelids are rare. The great quantity of birds and the occurrence of subarctic and arctic species allowed us to draw some palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental considerations. The type of use of the three main mammals (red deer, aurochs and wild ass) is discussed. Cuts left by a stone tool have been frequently observed and may indicate disarticulation, filleting and skinning activities. Many finds have obvious impact areas that are interpreted as aimed at marrow extraction. The analysis of the anatomical elements suggests a different treatment for the aurochs, which was often butchered outside the cave, as indicated by the rarity of axial bones inside this cave.


Italy, upper Palaeolithic, faunal analysis, skeletal element representation, bone breakage.

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