Who was the first? An experimental application of carnivore and hominid overlapping marks at the Pleistocene archaeological sites


en Comptes Rendus Palevol 8 (6) - Pages 579-592

Published on 30 September 2009

There are many types of evidence that provide information about methods for obtaining animal nutrients. Several researchers suggest that the main element to be considered is the skeletal representation of the different species identified in the faunal assemblage. This element must be associated to the animals’ age at death and the localisation of processing marks of the carcasses (both those of anthropic origin and those produced by carnivores). Occasionally, these marks coincide on the same point of the bone, giving cause for overlapping marks. These marks can be considered an aid more to identify the anthropic manner for obtaining animal recourses. However, these cases are very unusual at archaeological sites, and it is not always easy to identify which of the two predators has obtained the prey first. Through the experimental process presented in this article, we have observed diagnostic elements on overlapping marks that show the action sequence of the predators (hominids and carnivores) on carcasses. These experimental criteria were applied to different archaeological sites of the Lower and Middle Pleistocene in the Iberian Peninsula: Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain) and level TD10-1 and TD6-2 of Gran Dolina (Atapuerca, Burgos). In these assemblages, we were able to distinguish hunting and scavenging events through overlapping marks, providing a new element to the general interpretation of these sites.


Experimental process, Faunal record, Overlapping marks, Subsistence strategies, Gran Dolina, Bolomor Cave, Lower Pleistocene, Middle Pleistocene, Spain

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