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Title: Neandertal long bone breakage process: standardized or random patterns? The example of Abri du Maras (Southeastern France, MIS 3)
Authors: Vettese, Delphine
Daujeard, Camille
Blasco, Ruth
Borel, Antony
Cáceres, Isabel
Moncel, Marie-Hélène
Keywords: Middle Palaeolithic;Neandertal;Long bone;Breakage patterns;Butchery;Cultural practices
Issue Date: Jun-2017
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 2017, 13, 151-163
Abstract: The identification of social learning processes and knowledge transmission mechanisms in the archaeological record is a matter currently explored on lithic record but not very often on faunal assemblages. As soon as the Middle Palaeolithic, the uniformity and orientation of cut marks or patterns of bone breakage may represent very useful tools to highlight butchery traditions. Following this line of research, we have tried to identify standardized actions on bones in the process of marrow recovering and therefore butchery cultural learning within Neandertal groups at Abri du Maras (MIS 3, Southeastern France). The detection of culturally-induced patterns involves the discrimination of those generated intuitively, which depend on conditioning factors such as bone density or skeletal morphology. To tackle this issue, we have used a zooarchaeological approach focused on the morphology and location of damage caused during the bone breakage process (percussion marks and scraping marks). We also compare our data with previously published results both at a zooarchaeological and experimental level. Our work indicates that the bone remains from layer 4.1 at Abri du Maras do not reveal standardized patterns of long bone breakage in terms of distribution of impact notches along long bone shafts and then imply two hypotheses: 1) the presence of several groups with various butchery practices during the sedimentary formation and the marked palimpsest character of this layer or 2) the presence of individuals within one single group which do not share similar butchery know-how.
ISSN: 2352-409X
DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.03.029
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Arqueología

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