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Quaternary, Volume 4, Issue 4 (December 2021) – 15 articles

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Article
From Siliciclastic to Bioclastic Deposits in the Gulf of Naples: New Highlights from Offshore Ischia and Procida–Pozzuoli Based on Sedimentological and Seismo-Stratigraphic Data
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 44; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040044 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2021
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Abstract
This study discusses the siliciclastic to bioclastic deposits (in particular, the rhodolith deposits) in the Gulf of Naples based on sedimentological and seismo-stratigraphic data. The selected areas are offshore Ischia Island (offshore Casamicciola, Ischia Channel), where a dense network of sea-bottom samples has [...] Read more.
This study discusses the siliciclastic to bioclastic deposits (in particular, the rhodolith deposits) in the Gulf of Naples based on sedimentological and seismo-stratigraphic data. The selected areas are offshore Ischia Island (offshore Casamicciola, Ischia Channel), where a dense network of sea-bottom samples has been collected, coupled with Sparker Multi-tip seismic lines, and offshore Procida–Pozzuoli (Procida Channel), where sea-bottom samples are available, in addition to Sparker seismic profiles. The basic methods applied in this research include sedimentological analysis, processing sedimentological data, and assessing seismo-stratigraphic criteria and techniques. In the Gulf of Naples, and particularly offshore Ischia, bioclastic sedimentation has been controlled by seafloor topography coupled with the oceanographic setting. Wide seismo-stratigraphic units include the bioclastic deposits in their uppermost part. Offshore Procida–Pozzuoli, siliciclastic deposits appear to prevail, coupled with pyroclastic units, and no significant bioclastic or rhodolith deposits have been outlined based on sedimentological and seismo-stratigraphic data. The occurrence of mixed siliciclastic–carbonate depositional systems is highlighted in this section of the Gulf of Naples based on the obtained results, which can be compared with similar systems recognized in the central Tyrrhenian Sea (Pontine Islands). Full article
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Article
Early–Middle Pleistocene Magnetostratigraphic and Rock Magnetic Records of the Dolynske Section (Lower Danube, Ukraine) and Their Application to the Correlation of Loess–Palaeosol Sequences in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 43; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040043 (registering DOI) - 02 Dec 2021
Viewed by 254
Abstract
We present new palaeomagnetic and rock magnetic results with a stratigraphic interpretation of the late Early–Middle Pleistocene deposits exposed on the left bank of the River Danube at Dolynske, southern Ukraine. A thick succession of water-lain facies is succeeded by reddish-brown clayey soils, [...] Read more.
We present new palaeomagnetic and rock magnetic results with a stratigraphic interpretation of the late Early–Middle Pleistocene deposits exposed on the left bank of the River Danube at Dolynske, southern Ukraine. A thick succession of water-lain facies is succeeded by reddish-brown clayey soils, topped by a high-resolution loess–palaeosol sequence. These constitute one of the most complete recently discovered palaeoclimate archives in the Lower Danube Basin. The suggested stratigraphy is based on the position of the Matuyama–Brunhes boundary, rock magnetic, palaeopedological and sedimentological proxies, and it is confidently correlated with other loess records in the region (Roksolany and Kurortne), as well as with the marine isotope stratigraphy. The magnetic susceptibility records and palaeosol characteristics at Dolynske show an outstanding pattern that is transitional between eastern and south-eastern European loess records. Our data confirm that the well-developed S4 soil unit in Ukraine, and S5 units in Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia, correlate with the warm MIS 11. Furthermore, we suggest the correlation of rubified S6 palaeosols in Romania and Bulgaria and the V-S7–V-S8 double palaeosol in Serbia with S6 in Ukraine, a strong Mediterranean-type palaeosol which corresponds to MIS 15. Our new results do not support the hypothesis of a large magnetic lock-in depth like that previously interpreted for the Danube loess, and they prove that the Matuyama–Brunhes boundary is located within the palaeosol unit corresponding to MIS 19. The proposed stratigraphic correlation scheme may serve as a potential basis for further regional and global Pleistocene climatic reconstructions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quaternary Loess Deposition and Climate Change)
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Review
Direct Dating of Chinese Immovable Cultural Heritage
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 42; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040042 - 25 Nov 2021
Viewed by 236
Abstract
The most extensive corpus of ancient immovable cultural heritage is that of global rock art. Estimating its age has traditionally been challenging, rendering it difficult to integrate archaeological evidence of early cultural traditions. The dating of Chinese rock art by ‘direct methods’ began [...] Read more.
The most extensive corpus of ancient immovable cultural heritage is that of global rock art. Estimating its age has traditionally been challenging, rendering it difficult to integrate archaeological evidence of early cultural traditions. The dating of Chinese rock art by ‘direct methods’ began in the late 1990s in Qinghai Province. Since then, China has acquired the largest body of direct dating information about the rock art of any country. The establishment of the International Centre for Rock Art Dating at Hebei Normal University has been the driving force in this development, with its researchers accounting for most of the results. This centre has set the highest standards in rock art age estimation. Its principal method, microerosion analysis, secured the largest number of determinations, but it has also applied other methods. Its work with uranium-thorium analysis of carbonate precipitates in caves is of particular significance because it tested this widely used method. The implications of this work are wide-ranging. Most direct-dating of rock art has now become available from Henan, but results have also been reported from Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Jiangsu, Hubei, Guangxi, Yunnan, Qinghai, Tibet, and Xinjiang. Intensive work by several teams is continuing and is expected to result in a significantly better understanding of China’s early immovable cultural heritage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Geoarchaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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Article
Who Killed the Small Mammals of Ittenheim (Northeastern France)? An Integrative Approach and New Taphonomic Data for Investigating Bone Assemblages Accumulated by Small Carnivores
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 41; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040041 (registering DOI) - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 356
Abstract
Small carnivores are susceptible to regularly accumulating small- to medium-sized mammal remains in both natural and archaeological sites. However, compared to nocturnal birds of prey, these accumulations are still poorly documented and are generally based on a limited number of samples, including those [...] Read more.
Small carnivores are susceptible to regularly accumulating small- to medium-sized mammal remains in both natural and archaeological sites. However, compared to nocturnal birds of prey, these accumulations are still poorly documented and are generally based on a limited number of samples, including those of relatively small size. Here, we present an analysis of European hamster remains from a rescue excavation at Ittenheim (Bas-Rhin, Grand-Est, France), which were recovered from an infilled burrow, three meters below the current surface. The remains are well preserved and exhibit large proportions of tooth marks. Comparisons with a new and existing reference collection combined with an analysis of all recovered faunal remains suggest the accumulation reflects the action of young red foxes. This is supported by the fact that, although these young individuals leave teeth mark, they do not necessarily consume all parts of medium-sized prey species, including the European hamster. Conversely, the remains of smaller rodents, such as microtine, show distinct patterns of digestion and tooth marks. Carnivore bone accumulations from scats are generally poorly preserved; however, our results demonstrate prey size plays a major role, both qualitatively and quantitatively, in skeletal representation, bone preservation, and bone surface modifications. The present paper underlines the need for more diversified taphonomic reference collections based on an integrative approach designed to evaluate multi-taxa accumulations. Full article
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Commentary
New Discoveries and Theoretical Implications for the Last Foraging and First Farming in East Asia
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 40; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040040 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 410
Abstract
A brief summation of the issue’s articles is presented. This leads to a discussion of thematic issues of concepts, methods, and theory that crosscut the articles. These include use of the EnvCalc2.1 program, some issues of terminology, the theoretical approaches of niche construction [...] Read more.
A brief summation of the issue’s articles is presented. This leads to a discussion of thematic issues of concepts, methods, and theory that crosscut the articles. These include use of the EnvCalc2.1 program, some issues of terminology, the theoretical approaches of niche construction as opposed to human behavioral ecology (HBE), and the linkage between technology and subsistence change, notably the difference between biface and microblade production. Full article
Article
Holocene Aridity-Induced Interruptions of Human Activity along a Fluvial Channel in Egypt’s Northern Delta
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 39; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040039 - 18 Nov 2021
Viewed by 239
Abstract
Geoarchaeological information presented here pertains to a subsidiary Nile channel that once flowed west of the main Sebennitic distributary and discharged its water and sediments at Egypt’s then north-central deltaic coast. Periodical paleoclimatic episodes during the later Middle and Upper Holocene included decreased [...] Read more.
Geoarchaeological information presented here pertains to a subsidiary Nile channel that once flowed west of the main Sebennitic distributary and discharged its water and sediments at Egypt’s then north-central deltaic coast. Periodical paleoclimatic episodes during the later Middle and Upper Holocene included decreased rainfall and increased aridity that reduced the Nile’s flow levels and thus likely disrupted nautical transport and anthropogenic activity along this channel. Such changes in this deltaic sector, positioned adjacent to the Levantine Basin in the Eastern Mediterranean, can be attributed to climatic shifts triggered as far as the North Atlantic to the west, and African highland source areas of the Egyptian Nile to the south. Of special interest in a study core recovered along the channel are several sediment sequences without anthropogenic material that are interbedded between strata comprising numerous potsherds. The former are interpreted here as markers of increased regional aridity and reduced Nile flow which could have periodically disrupted the regional distribution of goods and nautical activities. Such times occurred ~5000 years B.P., ~4200–4000 years B.P., ~3200–2800 years B.P., ~2300–2200 years B.P., and more recently. Periods comparable to these are also identified by altered proportions of pollen, isotopic and compositional components in different radiocarbon-dated Holocene cores recovered elsewhere in the Nile delta, the Levantine region to the east and north of Egypt, and in the Faiyum depression south of the delta. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Archives: Climatic and Topographical Influences)
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Article
Multi-Taxa Neo-Taphonomic Analysis of Bone Remains from Barn Owl Pellets and Cross-Validation of Observations: A Case Study from Dominica (Lesser Antilles)
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 38; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040038 - 18 Nov 2021
Viewed by 322
Abstract
Paleo- and neo-taphonomic analyses of bone assemblages rarely consider all the occurring taxa in a single study and works concerning birds of prey as accumulators of microvertebrate bone remains mostly focus on small mammals such as rodents and soricomorphs. However, raptors often hunt [...] Read more.
Paleo- and neo-taphonomic analyses of bone assemblages rarely consider all the occurring taxa in a single study and works concerning birds of prey as accumulators of microvertebrate bone remains mostly focus on small mammals such as rodents and soricomorphs. However, raptors often hunt and consume a large range of taxa, including vertebrates such as small mammals, fishes, amphibians, squamates and birds. Bone remains of all these taxonomic groups are numerous in many paleontological and archaeological records, especially in cave deposits. To better characterize the predators at the origin of fossil and sub-fossil microvertebrate accumulations and the taphonomic history of the deposit, it is thus mandatory to conduct global and multi-taxa taphonomic approaches. The aim of this study is to provide an example of such a global approach through the investigation of a modern bone assemblage from a sample of pellets produced by the Lesser Antillean Barn Owl (Tyto insularis) in the island of Dominica. We propose a new methodology that allows us to compare different taxa (rodents, bats, squamates and birds) and to experiment with a cross-validation process using two observers for each taxonomic group to test the reliability of the taphonomic observations. Full article
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Editorial
Introduction: New Discoveries and Theoretical Implications for the Last Foraging and First Farming in East Asia
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 37; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040037 - 18 Nov 2021
Viewed by 630
Abstract
Worldwide, scientific understanding about domestication and the origins of food production is undergoing rapid change based on new data from discoveries in paleoclimates and environments, paleobiology, and archaeology [...] Full article
Article
Taxonomy, Systematics and Evolution of Giant Deer Megaloceros Giganteus (Blumenbach, 1799) (Cervidae, Mammalia) from the Pleistocene of Eurasia
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 36; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040036 - 15 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1052
Abstract
The article presents a preliminary morphological description of the holotype of Megaloceros giganteus (Blumenbach, 1799) that serves for the description of the species. The article proposes a taxonomical and morphological revision of the nominotypical subspecies M. giganteus giganteus and morphological comparison with [...] Read more.
The article presents a preliminary morphological description of the holotype of Megaloceros giganteus (Blumenbach, 1799) that serves for the description of the species. The article proposes a taxonomical and morphological revision of the nominotypical subspecies M. giganteus giganteus and morphological comparison with other subspecies of M. giganteus. The cluster analysis of diagnostic craniodental and antler characters revealed the systematic position and phylogenetic relationships of M. giganteus with other cervid groups. The genus Praedama is regarded as a closely related phylogenetic branch that linked to the direct cursorial forerunner of Megaloceros that evolved in the middle latitudes of Western Siberia and northern Kazakhstan. The genus Dama has a distant relationship with Megaloceros and represents an earlier phylogenetic branch that evolved in the Ponto-Mediterranean area. The article discusses the secondary adaptations of M. giganteus forms to forest and woodland habitats in Europe and general paleobiogeographic features of the Megaloceros lineage. Full article
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Technical Note
Application of Sentinel 2 Satellite Imagery for Sustainable Groundwater Management in Agricultural Areas—Chtouka Aquifer, Morocco
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 35; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040035 - 31 Oct 2021
Viewed by 265
Abstract
In semi-arid regions that are characterized by large agricultural activities, a high volume of water is needed to cover the water requirements for agricultural production. Due to low precipitation and the associated limited availability of surface water, aquifers often represent the main source [...] Read more.
In semi-arid regions that are characterized by large agricultural activities, a high volume of water is needed to cover the water requirements for agricultural production. Due to low precipitation and the associated limited availability of surface water, aquifers often represent the main source of irrigation water in these regions. Especially in coastal aquifers, high groundwater abstraction rates may change the flow dynamics of the aquifer and may lead to saltwater intrusion. In this study, within the framework of German–Moroccan international cooperation, the agricultural areas for the summer period 2019 of the Chtouka coastal aquifer in southern Morocco are classified using optical and multi-spectral Sentinel 2 data. Based on the developed land use maps, the groundwater abstraction for irrigation is then quantified by referring to local farmers’ irrigation practices. Following this approach, the total amount of groundwater abstraction is estimated at 157 million m3 for the summer period 2019 in the Chtouka aquifer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater and Geology of Coastal Areas)
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Article
San Josecito Cave and Its Paleoecological Contributions for Quaternary Studies in Mexico
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 34; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040034 - 26 Oct 2021
Viewed by 672
Abstract
San Josecito Cave (2250 m elevation) is located nearby Aramberri, Nuevo León, northeastern Mexico, with excavations occurring in 1935–1941 and 1990. It is a paleontological cave and the significance of its faunal data rests in the understanding of the Quaternary ecosystems of the [...] Read more.
San Josecito Cave (2250 m elevation) is located nearby Aramberri, Nuevo León, northeastern Mexico, with excavations occurring in 1935–1941 and 1990. It is a paleontological cave and the significance of its faunal data rests in the understanding of the Quaternary ecosystems of the Mexican Plateau and the Southern Plains. This significance is underpinned by a consideration of associated stratigraphic and geochronological data. The fauna is composed of mollusks, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. More than 30 extinct vertebrate species have been identified, constituting one of the most important Quaternary localities in the Americas. Radiocarbon dates and faunal correlations indicate the excavated deposits represent an interval of time between 45,000 and 11,000 14C years BP. The current synthesis demonstrates that the previous view of the assemblage as a single local fauna is erroneous and that, instead, several successive local faunas are present within a stratigraphic framework. This finding underscores the need for detailed studies of single localities in building paleoenvironmental models. As a corollary, results point to the necessity of including all vertebrate classes represented from a locality in building those models. In addition, the field and analytical methodologies demonstrate the importance of very detailed paleontological excavations, with precise spatial and temporal controls, to assess the taphonomic history of a locality, construct a stratigraphic and geochronological framework, and infer the paleoecological conditions during the time span considered based on the number of local faunas represented. The recognition of San Josecito Cave as an important Late Pleistocene vertebrate paleontological locality is enhanced with the consideration of its faunal data for paleoenvironment reconstruction and possible contribution to Quaternary paleoclimatic modeling. Full article
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Article
The Potential of Micromammals for the Stratigraphy and the Timing of Human Occupations at La Roche-à-Pierrot (Saint-Césaire, France)
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040033 - 21 Oct 2021
Viewed by 579
Abstract
As micromammals are highly sensitive to changes in their habitat, variations in species representation are often used to reconstruct local environmental conditions. However, taphonomic aspects of micromammals are often overlooked, despite the fact that they can provide important information for our understanding of [...] Read more.
As micromammals are highly sensitive to changes in their habitat, variations in species representation are often used to reconstruct local environmental conditions. However, taphonomic aspects of micromammals are often overlooked, despite the fact that they can provide important information for our understanding of archaeological sites. La Roche-à-Pierrot, Saint-Césaire, is a major archaeological site for our understanding of the Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Western Europe. Clearly documenting site formation processes, the post-depositional reworking of deposits and the sequence of human occupations is fundamental for providing a secure archaeostratigraphic context of the site. The exceptionally large accumulation of micromammals from recently excavated stratigraphic units at the site makes it possible to track variations in the density of micromammals across the stratigraphic sequence. The taphonomic analysis of micromammals demonstrates these variations are not related to a change in the main accumulation agent or post-depositional phenomena. A negative correlation between small mammal remains and archaeological material suggests that peaks in micromammal densities can potentially be correlated with periods when the site was abandoned or when human occupation was less intense, and therefore provide new data for interpreting the Saint-Césaire stratigraphic sequence. Full article
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Article
Human-Altered Soils at an Archeological Site of the Bronze Age: The Tyater-Araslanovo-II Settlement, Southern Cis-Ural Region, Russia
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 32; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040032 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 284
Abstract
This paper presents the results of studying the soils at the archeological site of the Tyater-Araslanovo-II settlement located in the Republic of Bashkortostan, eastern European Russia. The settlement functioned in the 15th–12th centuries BCE (the Late Bronze Age). We compared the soil properties [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of studying the soils at the archeological site of the Tyater-Araslanovo-II settlement located in the Republic of Bashkortostan, eastern European Russia. The settlement functioned in the 15th–12th centuries BCE (the Late Bronze Age). We compared the soil properties at four sites in the study area: archeological (1), buried (2), affected by long pyrogenic exposure (3), and background site (4). In soil samples, the total carbon content, the fractional composition of humus and organic matter characteristics, alkaline hydrolyzable nitrogen, total phosphorus, mobile phosphorus, potassium, absorbed calcium and magnesium, pH, particle size distribution, basal soil respiration, and optical density were estimated. The study results showed the anthropogenic impact on the archeological site’s soils. The newly formed AU horizon at the archeological site (1), affected by the cattle summer camp, was richer in soil nutrients and agrochemical properties, namely, the content of exchangeable and gross forms of phosphorus, alkaline hydrolyzable nitrogen, and exchange cations of the soil absorbing complex compared to the reference soil (4). For the pyrogenic layer (AU[hh]pyr) from the ancient furnace (fireplace) (3), the mobile and total forms of phosphorus were several times higher than those in the reference soil (4) but inferior regarding other agrochemical parameters. Thus, the activities of ancient people (especially cattle breeding) greatly influenced the properties of the soil. Full article
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Article
The Stegodon Bonebed of the Middle Pleistocene Archaeological Site Mata Menge (Flores, Indonesia): Taphonomic Agents in Site Formation
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 31; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040031 - 29 Sep 2021
Viewed by 670
Abstract
The Middle Pleistocene fluvial channel site of the Upper Fossil-bearing Interval at Mata Menge in the So’a Basin, Flores, Indonesia, has yielded the earliest fossil evidence for Homo floresiensis in association with stone artefacts and fossils of highly endemic insular fauna, including Stegodon [...] Read more.
The Middle Pleistocene fluvial channel site of the Upper Fossil-bearing Interval at Mata Menge in the So’a Basin, Flores, Indonesia, has yielded the earliest fossil evidence for Homo floresiensis in association with stone artefacts and fossils of highly endemic insular fauna, including Stegodon, giant rats, crocodiles, Komodo dragons, and various birds. A preliminary taphonomic review of the fossil material here aimed to provide additional context for the hominin remains in this bonebed. Analysis was performed on two subsets of material from the same fluvial sandstone layer. Subset 1 comprised all material from two adjacent one-metre square quadrants (n = 91), and Subset 2 all Stegodon long limb bones excavated from the same layer (n = 17). Key analytical parameters included species and skeletal element identification; fossil size measurements and fragmentation; weathering stages; bone fracture characteristics; and other biological and geological bone surface modifications. Analysis of Subset 1 material identified a highly fragmented assemblage with a significant bias towards Stegodon. A large portion of these bones were likely fractured by trampling prior to entering the fluvial channel and were transported away from the death-site, undergoing surface modification causing rounding. Subset 2 material was less likely to have been transported far based on its limited susceptibility to fluvial transport. There was no significant difference in weathering for the long limb bones and fragments, with the highest portion exhibiting Stage 2 weathering, indicating that prior to final burial, all material was exposed to prolonged periods of surface exposure. Approximately 10% of all material have characteristics of fracturing on fresh bone, contributing to the taphonomic context for this bonebed; however insufficient evidence was found for anthropogenic modification. Full article
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Article
Unravelling the Taphonomic Stories of Bird Bones from the Middle Pleistocene Layer VIII of Grotte Vaufrey, France
Quaternary 2021, 4(4), 30; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat4040030 - 28 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1034
Abstract
In recent years, several studies have significantly changed our knowledge concerning the use of birds by Neanderthals. However, what remains to be clarified is the geographical and chronological variability of this human behaviour. The present case study provides new information on this topic/debate. [...] Read more.
In recent years, several studies have significantly changed our knowledge concerning the use of birds by Neanderthals. However, what remains to be clarified is the geographical and chronological variability of this human behaviour. The present case study provides new information on this topic/debate. The Grotte Vaufrey was discovered during the 1930s and was excavated during different periods. Work carried out by J.-P. Rigaud during the 1980s motivated many multidisciplinary studies in the cave, but accurate studies were not focused on avian remains. In this work, we provide new data on the bird remains from layer VIII (MIS 7), which is the richest among all the sequences and which has an important Mousterian component. Corvids are predominant in the assemblage and are associated with medium-sized birds and small Passeriformes, among others. Most of the remains present modern fractures, which hinder taphonomic interpretation. However, some alterations associated with raptor or mammalian carnivore activities, together with the anatomical representation and age profile, suggest a non-human accumulation of the majority of the bird remains, especially in the case of corvids that naturally died in the cave. However, at least some bones show evidence of anthropic activity, suggesting the occasional use of large- and medium-sized birds by human populations. Full article
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