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Title: Efficiency of gathering and its archaeological implications for an European Early Palaeolithic population
Authors: Prado-Nóvoa, Olalla
Mateos Cachorro, Ana
Zorrilla-Revilla, Guillermo
Vidal-Cordasco, Marco
Rodríguez, Jesús
Keywords: Bioenergetics;Acorn gathering;Foraging efficiency;Hunting;Middle Pleistocene;Europe
Issue Date: Mar-2017
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 2017, 45, 131-141
Abstract: We evaluate the efficiency of acorn gathering as a foraging method for a middle Pleistocene human population living in mid-latitude European territory. An innovative experimental approach measures how much energy an average female spends gathering nuts in a natural environment, comparing this value with the caloric return of this vegetable resource. The gathering activities were performed by 9 volunteers and showed that gathering 3 kg of acorns in 1 h represents a moderate activity in energetic terms, consuming not more than 300 kcal. Thus, due to their high energetic content, gathering nuts is a highly efficient foraging method. The energetic return obtained by gathering acorns, one of the more abundant nuts in the Mediterranean landscape, is favourably compared with the return provided by hunting. Acorns were a seasonally abundant resource at these ecosystems 300 kya and were rich in nutrients and relatively easy to store, making them a highly attractive food for the Palaeolithic inhabitants of this landscape.
ISSN: 0278-4165
DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2016.12.002
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología
Bioenergía y Análisis del Movimiento

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