Le rôle des petits carnivores dans la constitution et l’évolution des ensembles archéologiques du Paléolithique supérieur. L’exemple du solutréen de Combe Saunière, Dordogne, France

Christophe CASTEL

fr Anthropozoologica 29 - Pages 33-54

Published on 01 October 1999

The role of carnivores in the constitution and evolution of an Upper Paleolithic archaeological assemblage: the example of the Solutrean of Combe Saunière, France

The faunal assemblage from the site of Combe Saunière is part of a Solutrean archaeological assemblage dated to the last glacial maximun.Reindeer and ungulates constitute 81% of the determined remains,which have been accumulated and modified by human activity. The proportion of carnivore remains, however, is still high enough to indicate that they too played an active role in the constitution of the assemblage. Fox is the most frequently represented species, but there is also bear, wolf, and mustelides. The majority of remains of these species are represented by young individuals and by milk teeth. The presence of numerous remains of small species, such as hares and ground squirrels, which bear many small toothmarks but no traces of human intervention, seems to be attributable to the activity of one of these carnivores. The ungulate bones mainly show traces of human modifications, but also some toothmarks that are very different from those usually associated with assemblages formed by large carnivores. Carnivore activity is marginal in comparison to that of humans and their resulting modifications to the assemblage are relatively minimal. Foxes certainly frequented the cave after human occupations and consumed the remains of their feeding activities. They are in the main responsible for the accumulation of small prey. The activity of these small carnivores is also suspected to have resulted in a disturbance of remains accumulated by humans.


Upper Paleolithic, Solutrean, Taphonomy, Ethology, Commensal animals, Fox, France.

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