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Volumen 4. Number 4. Year 2006.

2019-11-06T22:35:20+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 4. Number 4. Year 2006.|

VOLUME 4. NUMBER 4. 2006

By Ice Age Spotted Hyenas Removed, Cracked, Nibbled and Chewed Skeleton Remains of Coelodonta antiquitatis (BLUMENBACH 1799) from the Lower Weichselian (Upper Pleistocene) Freeland Prey Deposit Site Bad Wildungen-Biedensteg (Hessia, NW Germany).

Cajus G. Diedrich

Keywords: WOOLLY RHINOCEROS, SKELETON AND BONE TAPHONOMY, ICE AGE SPOTTED HYENA, PREY DEPOSIT FREELAND SITE, EARLY UPPER PLEISTOCENE

[+info] VOLUME 4. NUMBERS 4. 2006 (1 issue)

Eighty percent of 74 fragmentary cranial and postcranial bones of the Upper Pleistocene woolly rhinoceros Coelodonta antiquitatis (BLUMENBACH 1799) from the Lower Weichselian (65.000-90.000 BP, OIS 5, Upper Pleistocene) ice age spotted hyena open air prey deposit site Biedensteg at Bad Wildungen (Hessia, NW-Germany) exhibit crack, bite and nibbling marks. The skeletal remains represent at least five woolly rhinoceros individuals. Individual carcasses of an early adult female and a calf have been identified. Both show carcass disrupting and destruction by the hyenas in form of partly articulated bones, bone cracking, nibbling and chewing. Articulated parts of the skeletons were removed from the carcass and were stored in mud pits with other prey bones. The long bones, which are filled completely by the bone spongiosa, were generally not cracked, but are always gnawn intensively starting from the joints, while the hyenas mostly left the bone shaft intact. Such bone spongiosa was also not uncommon in hyena coprolites at the site. Typical bone destruction stages are represented. Those described in detail here include the cranium, scapula, humerus, ulna, radius, femur, tibia, pelvis but also vertebrae and costae. The woolly rhinoceros bones at the Bad Wildungen-Biedensteg freeland prey deposit site take 53% of the prey animal bones of Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) and prove with other prey bones a mixed feeding onto all huge ice age mammals. Remains of Mammuthus antiquitatis, Bison priscus, Equus ferus przewalskii, Megaloceros giganteus, Rangifer tarandus, Ursus spelaeus and C. c. spelaea itself are included in the hyeana-modified fauna with 5-12% each showing signs of scavenging. The high percentage of the Coelodonta bones results more of the fact, that those are, such as mammoth bones, the most massive ones of ice age animals. The taphonomic comparison of C. antiquitatis carcasses and bones of Westphalian cave and freeland hyena den and prey deposit sites indicate the most important destruction impact of woolly rhinoceros carcasses by the Upper Pleistocene spotted hyena.

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Possible Taphonomic Bias in the Preservation of Phosphatic Macroinvertebrates in the Uppermost Maquoketa Formation (Upper Ordovician) of Northeastern Iowa (North-Central USA).

Heyo Van Iten, Michael Lichtenwalter, Juliana de Moraes Leme, Marcello Guimarães Simões.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, PRESERVATIONAL BIAS, PHOSPHATIC FOSSILS, CONULARIIDS, SPHENOTHALLUS, ORDOVICIAN

[+info] VOLUME 4. NUMBERS 4. 2006 (2 issue)

Examination of acid digestion residues can be an indispensable tool in the detection and identification of fragmentary remains of rare and/or fragile, macroinvertebrate fossils preserved in shallow shelf carbonates. We recovered submicroscopic fragments of phosphatic conulariid, Sphenothallus (Cnidaria), and ?Trematis (Linguliformea) skeletons from a slab of highly fossiliferous lime packstone from the uppermost Brainard Shale Member of the Maquoketa Formation (Richmondian, Upper Ordovician) of northeastern Iowa, USA. The bedding planes of this and four similar Brainard Member slabs (total upper bedding surface area approximately 0.38 m2) lack macrofossil specimens of these three taxa, which have never previously been reported from this rock unit. Analysis of the preservation of the abundant calcitic fossils revealed evidence of wave current action, including pervasive disarticulation of the brachiopods, echinoderms, and trilobites, and bimodal alignment of the narrowly conical Cornulites shells and elongate Eoplectodonta valves, almost all of which are also oriented convex up. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that storm wave activity on the Brainard Member sea floor fragmented originally macroscopic conulariid, Sphenothallus, and ?Trematis skeletons, making it difficult to detect these taxa at low magnifications and thus making it appear that they were absent in the original bottom community. Together with results of similar studies of other Paleozoic rock units, our investigation suggests that there is a systematic, taphonomic bias against conulariids, Sphenothallus, and linguliform (phosphatic) brachiopods in storm-influenced shelf deposits.

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Taphonomic analysis of Plant Remains Contained in Carnivore Scats in Andean South America.

Mariana Mondini, M. Fernanda Rodríguez.

Keywords: CARNIVORE SCATS, PLANT REMAINS, POACEAE, TAPHONOMY, ROCKSHELTERS, ANDES, SOUTH AMERICA

[+info] VOLUME 4. NUMBERS 4. 2006 (3 issue)

Plant remains contained in carnivore scats from Puna rockshelters in the Argentinean Andean Puna are analysed. Only 31% of the scats (n=16) contained plant remains, all of them corresponding to the Poaceae family. Most of these are leaf and culm parts, and only in one case seeds were identified, possibly also corresponding to the same family. The lack of fleshy fruit seeds suggests a different pattern of plant intake as compared to other areas, possibly just for purging here. Plant anatomical structure has suffered no damage from digestive acids but some softening, and all anatomical features are perfectly recognizable. Plants can thus then enter the fossil record in rockshelters in the region via carnivore scats, and this should be taken into account, especially as these are the same kind of plants most commonly introduced by humans in the past according to the regional archaeological record.

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Volumen 5. Number 1. Year 2007.

2019-11-06T22:36:42+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 5. Number 1. Year 2007.|

VOLUME 5. NUMBER 1. 2007

Micromammals: When Humans are the Hunters.

Genevieve Dewar, Antonietta Jerardino.

Keywords: MICROMAMMALS, SOUTH AFRICA, HUMANS, PREDATORS, LATER STONE AGE, DIET, SUBSISTENCE

[+info] VOLUME 5. NUMBERS 1. 2007 (1 issue)

Analysis of the faunal remains from KV502, a Later Stone Age occupation site in Namaqualand, South Africa yielded an assemblage dominated by micromammal cranial remains. The material from KV502 was compared to an assemblage of microfauna collected from the stomach area of a human burial from the same general region. This consisted entirely of post-crania. The pattern of relative abundance of elements, the degree of fragmentation of the long bones, and the level of acid etching observed in the remains of the human burial can be used to identify micromammals consumed by humans. The complementary pattern (or evidence) for processing micromammal remains by humans is identified at KV502. Further, it was determined that from the degree of modification to the bones, humans should be considered a category 5 predator following Andrews' (1990) classification. This increases the database of possible predators of micromammals, which is important when using microfauna to determine palaeoenvironments, as the preferential 'tastes' of a predator will bias the species list.

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Quantification and Age Structure of Semi-Hypsodont Extinct Rodent Populations.

Katerina Vasileiadou, Jerry J. Hooker, Margaret E. Collinson.

Keywords: THERIDOMYIDAE, RODENTS, DENTAL ONTOGENETIC STAGES, MINIMUM NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS (MNI), MORTALITY PROFILES

[+info] VOLUME 5. NUMBERS 1. 2007 (2 issue)

A new method of calculating the MNI and a full lifespan mortality profile in assemblages of semi-hypsodont rodents is proposed. Fossil jaws of the Paleogene theridomyid genera Isoptychus, Theridomys? and Pseudoltinomys show similar patterns of dental replacement, eruption and wear for all three genera. Deciduous premolars on the point of being replaced by their permanent successors coexist in jaws with erupting, unworn, unrooted third molars. The minimum number of individuals (MNI) in a theridomyid assemblage, of which the local origin is demonstrated, can therefore be calculated using the sum of deciduous premolars plus the most abundant of the permanent premolars or third molars. The teeth used to estimate the MNI of a species can also be used for the construction of its mortality profile. The ratio of an age-dependent crown height measurement to an age-independent crown width measurement is used as an age proxy for the establishment of 'age groups'. Wear patterns correspond well to age groups and, thus, broken unmeasurable specimens need not be excluded, as their wear stage can be used to assign them to 'age groups'.
Using these methods, the MNI and mortality profiles of one Isoptychus sp. and two Thalerimys fordi assemblages from the Late Eocene Solent Group (Hampshire Basin, Isle of Wight, southern England) were reconstructed. The mortality is attritional, showing a characteristic 'U-shape' in the distribution of the individuals in 'age groups'. The members of the three species, therefore, died of biological natural causes and not by a catastrophic event. This method can be applied to fossil semi-hypsodont micromammalian species, provided dental ontogeny is known. The method enables the construction of mortality profiles for the complete age range and, consequently, allows the analysis of the accumulation mechanisms of assemblages of semi-hypsodont rodents, with deciduous and permanent premolars. It can readily be applied to assemblages consisting only of isolated teeth.

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Estimating the preservation of tooth structures: towards a new scale of observation.

Yannicke Dauphin, Stéphane Montuelle, Cécile Quantin, Pierre Massard.

Keywords: DENTINE, ENAMEL, MICROSTUCTURE, NANOSTRUCTURE, SUIDAE

[+info] VOLUME 5. NUMBERS 1. 2007 (3 issue)

For a better understanding of the fossilization processes and the paleoenvironmental records, knowing the state of preservation of fossil structures is essential. This paper presents how the analysis of tooth structures can be improved by using techniques increasing spatial resolution and accuracy, like atomic force microscopy (AFM). Micro- and nanostructural changes of the fresh and fossil dentine and enamel of two Suidae were thus observed with scanning electron (SEM) and atomic force microscopes. AFM and SEM show similar images for enamel and dentine in fresh teeth, whereas discrepancy occurs for fossil teeth. Both techniques show that dentine is modified by taphonomic and diagenetic processes, but only AFM is able to reveal that enamel is also altered, because AFM magnification and resolution are better than SEM ones. The apparent state of tissue preservation depends on the scale of observation and AFM, an analytical tool and a non-destructive/direct technique, allows a better understanding of the evolution of tissues at a nano-scale.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: Make hay while the sun shines.

David K. Ferguson

Keywords

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Volumen 5. Number 2. Year 2007.

2019-11-06T22:38:05+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 5. Number 2. Year 2007.|

VOLUME 5. NUMBER 2. 2007

Taphonomic Analysis of Pseudalopex griseus (Gray, 1837) Scat Assemblages and their Archaeological Implications.

Gustavo N. Gómez, Cristian A. Kaufmann.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, DIGESTION TRACES, GREY FOX, MICROMAMMALS, PATAGONIC STEPPE

[+info] VOLUME 5. NUMBERS 2. 2007 (1 issue)

Grey fox (Pseudalopex griseus) scats deposited in the immediate vicinity of guanaco (Lama guanicoe) carcasses were analyzed to evaluate this carnivore´s transport of bones. Samples were from the arid, semi-desert Río Negro Province, Argentina, where the annual mean temperature (15ºC) varies widely with the season. Rates of breakage, the presence of tooth marks and digestion traces on bones from scats were analyzed to categorize the taphonomic signature of the small grey fox. The values of the modification variables used in the categorization indicate that the grey fox (Pseudalopex griseus) may be considered a Category 5 predator.

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Taphonomy of the Oxfordian-Lowermost Kimmeridgian Siliceous Sponges of the Prebetic Zone (Southern Iberia).

M. Reolid

Keywords: EPIBIONTS, HEXACTINELLIDA, LITHISTIDA, MID-OUTER SHELF, UPPER JURASSIC, SPAIN

[+info] VOLUME 5. NUMBERS 2. 2007 (2 issue)

The siliceous sponges in the Oxfordian-lowermost Kimmeridgian deposits of the Prebetic were important rock-forming organisms, and the most important in the spongiolithic lithofacies group. The siliceous sponges were in several cases the main component in macroinvertebrate assemblages. This taphonomic analysis shows the sequence of processes that occur in the fossilization of siliceous sponges.
As soon as the sponge is dead, the fixation to the substrate is weakened and currents or organisms can tilt and overturn the sponge. The decay of soft tissue led to the precipitation of automicrites (possibly influenced by sulphate-reducing bacteria); at the same time skeletal silica dissolves where, later, the calcitic cementation is produced. Afterwards, the sponge remains were bored by lithophagous bivalves and colonized in the upward surfaces by benthic microbial communities and nubeculariids, and secondarily other foraminifera, whereas downward surfaces were encrusted by annelids (serpulids and terebellids), sessile foraminifera (Tolypammina, Subdelloidina, and Bullopora among others) and bryozoans. Local fragmentation of sponges and their encrustations formed the tuberoids, which behave like an intraclast subjected to transport and encrustation.

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A Multidisciplinary Approach Reveals an Extraordinary Double Inhumation in the Osteoarchaeological Record.

J. Rascón Pérez , O. Cambra-Moo A. González Martín.

Keywords: PREGNANCY, FETUS, TAPHONOMY, BLOATED STAGE, SKELETONIZATION, GRAVE SEDIMENTATION

[+info] VOLUME 5. NUMBERS 2. 2007 (3 issue)

An exceptional archaeological discovery from the Muslim Baza necropolis is reported. An unusual double inhumation presents a complete skeleton of a pregnant woman close to childbirth time, and the skeletal remains of a fetus located between her femora (i.e., outside the abdominal or pelvic area). A first osteological review showed a complete fetus skeleton apparently disconnected. However, a deeper evaluation of the material revealed a more articulated state without signs of any taphonomic alterations or scavenger marks. On the one hand, ancient Muslim traditions suggest that if a baby dies during pregnancy or in premature childbirth, but the mother survives, the baby must be extracted and entombed individually. On the other hand, both skeletons do not present evidences of obstetric problems that could explain unexpected labour complications. Therefore, in the case reported in the present work, it is clear that the mother died before or at the same time as the baby, and she was entombed with the baby inside. A multidisciplinary revision of anthropological, archaeological, taphonomic and cultural data obtained through literature, has been combined with recent data extracted from decomposition experiments (i.e., actuo-taphonomy). This heuristic scenario has allowed us to build a parsimonious hypothesis in which such an unusual location of the fetus remains could be explained by analyzing the known steps in taphonomic-forensic dynamics. It is argued that before both corpses were finally skeletonized and covered with sediment, the mother corpse accumulated gas due to organic tissue degradation, and ejected the fetus remains out of the abdominal cavity.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: Dirty Landing.

Christian A. Meyer

Keywords

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Volumen 5. Number 3. Year 2007.

2019-11-06T22:40:30+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 5. Number 3. Year 2007.|

VOLUME 5. NUMBER 3. 2007

The Aquatic Genus Notonecta (Insecta: Heteroptera) as a Palaeo-ecological Indicator of Rhythmite Miming Sequences in Shallow Freshwater Deposits.

Jean-Claude Paicheler , André Nel, Jean-Claude Gall, Xavier Delclòs.

Keywords: INSECTA, NOTONECTIDAE, PALAEOLAKE, VOLCANO-SEDIMENTARY, LAMINAE FORMATION, MICROBIAL MATS, OLIGO-MIOCENE, TURKEY

[+info] VOLUME 5. NUMBERS 3. 2007 (1 issue)

We study the processes of laminae formation in the Oligo-Miocene volcano-sedimentary palaeolakes of the Gürçü-Dere Valley (Anatolia, Turkey). These deposits contain a rich macro- and micro-flora and vertebrate and insect fauna. The deposition and fossilisation of these organisms' remains are related to the development of the lakes' surface and bottom microbial mats. These strata are made of two types of rhythmite or varve, imitating dark and clear laminae sequences. The first type is (detritic + organic material) / diatoms at the Bes-Konak palaeolake, probably not of seasonal origin (rhythmite), but providing evidence of short ecological 'mini-catastrophes', a few weeks long, in confined environments. The second type is (diatoms + organic matter) / dolomite at the Iybeler palaeolake, probably of seasonal origin (varve). For the first time, we show that fossil insects, i.e. the Notonecta spp., are highly relevant to determining the relative duration and mechanisms of the depositions of these laminae.

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Carnivore Bone Portion Choice and Surface Modification on Modern Experimental Boiled Bone Assemblages.

Jessica C. Thompson, Yolanda Lee-Gorishti.

Keywords: BONE BOILING, TAPHONOMY, CARNIVORE, ACTUALISTIC STUDY, ZOOARCHAEOLOGY

[+info] VOLUME 5. NUMBERS 3. 2007 (2 issue)

Numerous experiments on modern bone assemblages have demonstrated that carnivores preferentially ravage bone portions that have high fat content such as ribs, vertebrae, pelves, and the spongy ends of long bones. If marrow is present in long bones, carnivores will break them to access it. If humans remove the marrow first, carnivores typically ignore midshaft fragments and focus on spongy portions that contain bone grease. These portions are swallowed and the grease is extracted within the gut. Many modern human groups regularly implement bone boiling technology to extract grease, and this technology is also known to have existed during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene - particularly among high-latitude hunter-gatherer groups. Because most actualistic studies of bone surface modification and carnivore bone portion choice are based on unboiled bones, the results may not be applicable to archaeological assemblages in which bone boiling technology was utilized. An experimental evaluation of the effects that bone boiling has on carnivore bone portion choice and relative proportions of human and carnivore bone surface modification indicates that; 1) The extraction of bone grease from bone ends during boiling, particularly prolonged boiling, causes carnivores to become less selective in bone portion choice; and 2) As a likely result of this decreased selectivity, the relative proportions of tooth- and percussion-marked midshaft fragments in heavily boiled assemblages (those boiled longer than 10 hours) is not likely to remain a reliable indicator of the timing of carnivore and human interaction with an assemblage.

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Differential Fragmentation of Different Ungulate Body-Size: A Comparison of Gazelle and Fallow Deer Bone Fragmentation in Levantine Prehistoric Assemblages.

Reuven Yeshurun, Nimrod Marom, Guy Bar-Oz.

Keywords: PALEOLITHIC ZOOARCHAEOLOGY, TAPHONOMY, BONE FRAGMENTATION, SKELETAL COMPLETENESS, BONE SURVIVORSHIP, GAZELLE, FALLOW DEER, LEVANT

[+info] VOLUME 5. NUMBERS 3. 2007 (3 issue)

Differences amongst ungulate body-size classes in archaeofaunal assemblages are frequently used to infer economic structure, human transport and processing decisions, or pre-burial taphonomic processes. It was found that bones of larger ungulates (fallow deer, Dama mesopotamica) are generally more fragmented than analogous elements of smaller ungulates (mountain gazelle, Gazella gazella). This pattern is consistent across several Levantine Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic bone assemblages and does not stem from recovery or identification biases, or from animal-induced taphonomic causes such as carnivore ravaging. We suggest that the greater fragmentation of larger animals is an artifact of either differential human processing of large and small animals, or of post-depositional attritional processes. Our analysis points to the greater likelihood of the latter scenario. We conclude that inter-taxonomic comparisons should consider the possibility that key zooarchaeological measures may be biased due to differential size-related fragmentation, affecting inferences on human behavior, taphonomic processes, and paleoenvironments.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: Chasing carnivores.

Jose Yravedra

Keywords

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Volumen 5. Number 4. Year 2007.

2019-11-06T22:41:21+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 5. Number 4. Year 2007.|

VOLUME 5. NUMBER 4. 2007

Criteria for the Identification of Formation Processes in Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) Bone Assemblages in Fluvial-Lacustrine Environments.

María A. Gutierrez, Cristian A. Kaufmann.

Keywords: SITE FORMATION PROCESSES, GUANACO (Lama guanicoe), BONE DISPERSION POTENTIAL, ONTOGENETIC DEVELOPMENT, FLUVIAL AND LACUSTRINE ENVIRONMENTS, ARGENTINA

[+info] VOLUME 5. NUMBERS 4. 2007 (1 issue)

The aim of this paper is to present and discuss methodological criteria that may be of use in exploring the role of water in the formation of the faunal record in fluvial and lacustrine environments. As such, the dispersion potential of the bones of adult and neonate guanaco (Lama guanicoe) skeletons in an aquatic environment with very low hydraulic energy is evaluated through experimentation. Results of the experiments are integrated with other, complementary criteria and applied to the bone assemblage recovered at Paso Otero 1 site, situated on the margin of the ancient flood plain of the Quequén Grande River (Buenos Aires Province, Argentina). The results of this study indicate that water was the main agent responsible for guanaco bone accumulation at the site. It is proposed that some of the skeletal parts, which belong to guanaco carcasses that were processed and exploited by hunter-gatherers in areas close to the site, were added to those from animals that died naturally. This resulted in a mixture of material of both natural and anthropic origin.

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Taphonomy in Present Day Desertic Environment: The Case of the Djourab (Chad) Plio-Pleistocene Deposits.

Denys, Christiane, Schuster M., Guy F., Mouchelin G.,Vignaud P., Viriot L., Brunet M, Duringer P., Fanoné F., Djimdoumalbaye A, Likius A, Mackaye H.T., Sudre J.

Keywords: DJOURAB DESERT, CHAD, HOMINIDS, WIND ABRASION, REWORKING

[+info] VOLUME 5. NUMBERS 4. 2007 (2 issue)

Preliminary taphonomic studies were conducted on three different early hominid Chadian sites aged between 5 Ma and 3 Ma (KB, KL, KT fossil areas). Specific excavations and taphonomic sampling protocols were established. Research of the various alterations and the origins of bone modifications were carried out. All fossil assemblages bear traces of carnivore tooth marks as well as weathering and wind/water polishing. Digestion is present on bones from the KB & KL sites. Rootmark traces were found only on bones from the KB and KT sites. All three sites display various polishing patterns among which much of the abrasion results from wind polishing on the top surface, on the exposed face of large flat bones difficult to move. By contrast water action works on all faces of polished bones. KL seems to show more water transport influence than the two other sites. Weathering stages are light to heavy (stages 2-4) and the presence of gnawing, and traces of roots plus tooth marks indicates that bones stayed sometimes on the soil surface and that the assemblages may be of attritional origin. But the low density of bones and the presence of a very thin fossil layer are very exceptional and it is not clear weather the fossil sites have been condensed during the past or if this is the result of present day extreme desert conditions. More detailed work on other Djourab sites should allow to refine the taphonomic history concerning these early hominid accumulations and formation.

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Brachiopod Shells on the Beach: Taphonomic Overprinting in a Fair-Weather Shell Accumulation.

Marcello Guimarães Simões, Sabrina Coelho Rodrigues, Juliana de Moraes Leme, Ricardo Angelim Pires-Domingues.

Keywords: BRACHIOPOD SHELLS, TAPHONOMIC OVERPRINTING, ABRASION, SHELL SURFACE TEXTURE, SPATIAL FIDELITY, BEACH ENVIRONMENT, LATE HOLOCENE

[+info] VOLUME 5. NUMBERS 4. 2007 (3 issue)

This study documents the occurrence of brachiopod shells (Bouchardia rosea) in wrack-lines from backshore deposits of a tropical beach (Itamambuca beach), in the northern coast (Ubatuba County) of the state of São Paulo, Brazil. The main goals are: (a) to analyze the provenance and sorting of the brachiopod shells; (b) to provide the taphonomic signatures of the shells, which may favor the recognizance, description and diagnoses of similar shell concentrations in ancient rocks, and (c) to discuss the taphonomic meaning of these detrital accumulations. Sampling transects were done at the reflective and dissipative sectors of the Itamambuca beach. For this project, two thousand brachiopod shells were collected and examined. In general, shells are minute, pale in color, and extremely rounded with reduced shell micro-relieves. Abrasion is the main taphonomic signature recorded. Abraded shells are characterized by V-shaped scars on the external surface, exposing the secondary fibrous layer of the shell microstructure. In some cases, holes produced by abrasion (facets) are recorded in the most convex portion of the shells. A pronounced bias in favor of ventral valve is also noted, and the size frequency distribution of shells is shaped by taphonomy. Finally, shells show intense taphonomic overprinting, but the taphonomic signatures recorded on those shells are worth to provide valuable clues about the taphonomic pathways and spatial transportation of each bioclast.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: Taphonomy and praxis.

Mariano Padilla Cano

Keywords

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Volumen 6. Number 1. Year 2008.

2019-11-06T22:42:28+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 6. Number 1. Year 2008.|

VOLUME 6. NUMBER 1. 2008

A Deposition Mechanism for Holocene Miring Bone Deposits, South Island, New Zealand.

Jamie R. Wood, Trevor H. Worthy, Nicolas J. Rawlence, Susan M. Jones, Stephen E. Read.

Keywords: BONE, DEPOSITION, GIS, HOLOCENE, MIRING, MOA, NEW ZEALAND, WETLAND

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 1. 2008 (1 issue)

Localised deposits of Late Pleistocene and Holocene bird bones occur in wetlands throughout New Zealand. These are characterised by dense accumulations of mostly disarticulated bones, with assemblages dominated by large, flightless bird taxa; in particular the extinct ratite moa (Aves: Dinornithiformes). A wide range of deposition mechanisms were historically proposed for these sites, including large floods and stampedes during wildfires. We outline a simple method for analysing the orientation and spatial distribution of bones within these deposits using GIS software, and apply this method to the interpretation of three such deposits from South Island, New Zealand. The results are consistent with non-catastrophic, periodic miring of individual moa. Long bones within these sites were preferentially orientated and subhorizontally inclined, indicating post-deposition disarticulation and movement of the bones within the sediment by sediment liquefaction and raking from the legs of mired birds, with a possible influence from water flow. Small, light skeletal elements were significantly under represented in the deposits. This may be due to post-mortem scavenging or weathering of vertebra and crania, 'pumping' to the surface of light, buoyant elements during liquefaction events, or crushing of these elements by subsequently mired birds.

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An Approach to the Study of Variations in Early Stages of Gallus gallus Decomposition.

Oscar Cambra-Moo, Ángela D. Buscalioni, Rafael Delgado-Buscalioni.

Keywords: BIRD, DECOMPOSITION, DECAY RATE, TAPHONOMY

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 1. 2008 (2 issue)

We explored decay rate dynamics in the early decomposition process of Gallus gallus. Our initial hypothesis was that the variation of the mass decay rate is sensitive to the alterations experienced by the carcass during decomposition. In order to establish a framework for the different patterns of carcass alteration, a sample with successive ontogenetic stages (from embryo to adult), set in three environmental conditions (subaerial, burial, and water-submerged), was examined over an 18-day experimental period. Values of the average mass loss and decay rate, and a measure of the overall decomposition rate (<K>) for all individuals in the same group and environment are provided. Decay rate was greatest during gas production and expulsion (days 7 to 10) in all age classes, and, at this stage, individuals underwent critical body alterations, in special in subaerial and water environments. The decay process ended at the skeletonization stage, reached after 11 days in the subaerial setting, and after 28 days when specimens were buried. The analysis of decay rate in water does not provide complete information since decomposition was conditioned by the waterlogging of feathers and tissues. The correlation of age and the decay rate indicated that older individuals decayed faster during the first 6 days, before the onset of the gas phase. Also, during the early stages of the process, differences in decay rate were induced by age, while during the gas phase, variation was driven by individual factors. When skin was removed, corpses underwent rapid dehydration, which induced an exponential decrease of the decay rate. By comparison, skin tended to dampen and varied in decay rate.

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The Taphonomy of the Pliocene Microfauna from Kanapoi, North-Western Kenya.

Fredrick Kyalo Manthi.

Keywords: KANAPOI, PLIOCENE, NORTH-WESTERN KENYA, MICROFAUNA, TAPHONOMY

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 1. 2008 (3 issue)

A taxonomic and taphonomic study was carried out on two assemblages of microfauna from the Pliocene locality of Kanapoi in north-western Kenya, in order to understand the agent/s responsible for their accumulation and the taphonomic processes that have influenced the assemblages. The two sites, namely, Nzube's Mandible Site and the Bat Site have yielded microfaunal remains comprising largely rodents and bats. The fauna at Nzube's Mandible Site derives from the same site as the holotype mandible of Australopithecus anamensis and comprises largely murids, while that from the Bat Site consists largely bats. Characteristics of the assemblages such as the high representation of nearly all skeletal elements suggest that, although pre- and post-depositional processes caused damage to the faunal remains, overall the samples are a fairly true reflection of the original assemblages that accumulated at the sites. Further, the high representation of virtually all skeletal elements, the minimal degree of etching among the murid incisors, and the high faunal diversity, particularly at Nzube's Mandible Site, indicate that the two assemblages accumulated in situ by way of predation. Even though several predators may have been involved, the barn owl (Tyto alba) or the giant eagle owl (Bubo lacteus), are the most likely accumulators of the two assemblages.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: Bone accumulators.

Isabel Cruz

Keywords

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Volumen 6. Number 2. Year 2008.

2019-11-06T22:43:32+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 6. Number 2. Year 2008.|

VOLUME 6. NUMBER 2. 2008

Ancient Hunters, Modern Butchers. Schöningen 13II-4, a Kill-Butchery Site Dating from the Northwest European Lower Paleolithic.

Boudewijn Voormolen

Keywords: PALAEOLITHIC ARCHAEOLOGY, LOWER PALAEOLITHIC, EUROPEAN LOWER PALAEOLITHIC, TAPHONOMY, ARCHAEOZOOLOGY, PALAEOLITHIC HUNTING, HUNTING VERSUS SCAVENGING DEBATE, EARLY HOMINID SUBSISTENCE BEHAVIOUR, ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOLUTION

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 2. 2008 (1 issue)

[The editors wish to announce that this is a special issue containing a doctoral research on the taphonomy of the important middle Pleistocene site of Schöningen. It is presented in two files to enable easy downloading. For this purpose, the original JT online format has been modified and it is presented as in the printed format.]

The research1 Ancient Hunters, Modern Butchers presents a first detailed study of bone material found
together with spectacularly preserved wooden spears at the Lower Palaeolithic site of Schöningen 13II-4,
in Germany. Analysis of a large sample of bone remains from this site revealed data being very relevant to
the hunting versus scavenging debate in Palaeolithic archaeology. Excellent conservation of the bone
material facilitated a thorough documentation of butchery traces and the reconstruction of early hominid
subsistence behaviour at the site. The author argues that Schöningen 13II-4 represents a Lower Palaeolithic
kill-butchery site where especially horses have been killed and butchered for multiple animal products.
The results of this study seriously question the validity of models on marginal, more scavenging like
Lower Palaeolithic hominid subsistence behaviour.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: Taphonomy and Paleolithic Archaeology.

Boudewijn Voormolen

Keywords

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Volumen 6. Number 3-4. Year 2008.

2019-11-06T22:44:22+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 6. Number 3-4. Year 2008.|

VOLUME 6. NUMBER 3 & 4. 2008 [THE TAPHONOMY OF BONE-CRUNCHING CARNIVORES. Special issue edited by Charles P. Egeland.]

THE TAPHONOMY OF BONE-CRUNCHING CARNIVORES. Special issue edited by Charles P. Egeland.

Bone-Crunching Carnivores as Taphonomic Agents: An Introduction to a Special Volume of Journal of Taphonomy.

Charles P. Egeland

Keywords

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Cetaceans from a Possible Striped Hyaena Den Site in Qatar.

Peter Andrews

Keywords: BONE ASSEMBLAGE, BONE BREAKAGE, PORPOISE PREDATION, SCAVENGING, PUNCTURE MARKS

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 3 & 4. 2008 (2 issue)

A small bone assemblage from Qatar is described. The bones were found in a small cave eroded out of marine sediments and the most likely accumulator of the bones was striped hyaena, Hyaena hyaena. Four species of large mammal are represented in the assemblage, striped hyaena, camel, gazelle and the finless porpoise. In addition there were some rodent and bird bones, the origin of which was uncertain. There were 68 identifiable large mammal bones in total, 2 skulls, 6 mandibles, 11 isolated teeth and 23 postcranial elements, together with 26 ear ossicles of the finless porpoise. In addition, 10 indeterminate large mammal bones were collected. The assemblage was identified as a striped hyaena accumulation firstly by the presence of a skull and mandible of this species in the assemblage, and secondly by the nature of the damage and modifications of the bones. The striped hyaena is probably now extinct in Qatar, and one of the bones was dated radiometrically to 580 ± 200 years. This bone showed characteristic signs of desiccation, and it is similar in preservation to the rest of the assemblage. The numbers and sizes of chewing marks are similar to those seen in spotted hyaena assemblages, and particularly when the maximum sizes of marks is taken into account they are distinct from canid chewing marks. The most striking feature of the assemblage is the abundance of finless porpoise skull bones representing at least 13 individuals, and this is taken to indicate that the hyaena was hunting or scavenging along the coast of the Arabian Gulf about 4km from the den site.

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Taphonomic Analysis of a Modern Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) Den from Nairobi, Kenya.

Amy G. Egeland, Charles P. Egeland, Henry T. Bunn.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, SPOTTED HYENA, TOOTH MARKS, BONE BREAKAGE, FAUNAL ANALYSIS, PALEOFAUNA

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 3 & 4. 2008 (3 issue)

This paper provides detailed taphonomic data on a modern spotted hyena (Crocuta croctua) den assemblage collected near Nairobi, Kenya. Weathering data, skeletal part abundances, bone surface modifications, and bone fragmentation data indicate that: (1) spotted hyenas (and other agents) accumulated bones at the locality over many years; (2) density-mediated attrition played an important, though not singular, role in structuring skeletal part patterning; (3) a majority of the carcasses acquired by the hyenas were transported incompletely back to the den; (4) the low level of competition characterizing the den resulted in reduced levels of bone destruction that could potentially be tracked in a similar fossil assemblage. Although these data present interesting possibilities for interpreting fossil bone accumulations, many more dens must be analyzed using similar methods in order to fully realize this potential.

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Taphonomic Analyses of a Hyena Den and a Natural-Death Assemblage Near Lake Eyasi (Tanzania).

Mary E. Prendergast, Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, HYENA DEN, NATURAL DEATH, BONE SURFACE MODIFICATIONS, SKELETAL PART PROFILES, EAST AFRICA, CARNIVORES.

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 3 & 4. 2008 (4 issue)

Spotted hyena dens are usually characterized by moderate to intense ravaging of bones, high tooth mark rates and the presence of digested bone. This paper presents a taphonomic study of such a den and of a nearby natural-death assemblage. Together these studies widen the known range of variability of taphonomic attributes of assemblages accumulated and/or modified by spotted hyenas. The den, which is the focus of our study, is characterized by a low degree of bone breakage and ravaging, intermediate tooth mark frequencies, a moderate amount of trampled bone and a lack of digested bone. In a comparative discussion, drawing on several published hyena-made assemblages, we highlight several features of hyena accumulations that are quite variable. Such variability should be well-understood when applying actualistic studies to the fossil record.

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Bone-Crunching Felids at the End of the Pleistocene in Fuego-Patagonia, Chile.

Fabiana M. Martin.

Keywords: FELIDS, MYLODONTINAE, HORSES, FUEGO-PATAGONIA, PLEISTOCENE

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 3 & 4. 2008 (5 issue)

The fragmented bone remains of extinct mammals recovered at several late Pleistocene sites in Fuego-Patagonia are analyzed. Indications of human involvement with the bones are not abundant and some of the sites are purely paleontological. However, all of them preserve large carnivore tooth marks. Some of the sites can be explained as accumulations produced by extinct felids.

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Paleoecological Information in Predator Tooth Marks.

Briana L. Pobiner.

Keywords: TOOTH MARKS, TRACE FOSSIL, PREDATION, SHARK, CROCODILE, DINOSAUR, RODENT, CARNIVORE

 

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 3 & 4. 2008 (6 issue)

This paper reviews the evidence for tooth marks made by sharks, crocodiles, dinosaurs, rodents, and especially mammalian carnivores on modern and fossil bones. The ecological and taphonomic information revealed in tooth marks, including: predator identity, prey preferences, and feeding behavior and ecology are discussed, and a compilation of metric measurements of taxon-specific modern and fossil mammalian carnivore tooth marks from the published literature is also provided. Some recommendations intended to improve the scope and scale of future tooth-damage research are also presented.

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Reanalysis and Reinterpretation of the Kalkbank Faunal Accumulation, Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Jarod M. Hutson, Chester R. Cain.

Keywords: KALKBANK, TAPHONOMY, CARNIVORES, PREDATION HOT SPOT

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 3 & 4. 2008 (7 issue)

Previous accounts of the late Pleistocene Kalkbank faunal accumulation cited humans as the primary agent of accumulation. Here we present the first in-depth taphonomic analysis of the fauna. Revised interpretation based on surface modification and bone breakage patterns reflect an overwhelming carnivore presence at the site. The only indications of human involvement with the fauna were a few stone tools and three possible hammerstone percussion marks. Porcupine involvement with the assemblage was considerable, but appears to be secondary to carnivore predation. The site likely represents a serial predation site where carnivores regularly ambushed prey near the margins of an ancient pan. Published accounts of fossil predation hot spots are rare, and much of the available data on these sites originate from modern landscape studies. Evidence from the Kalkbank accumulation suggests that patterns seen at fossil predation hot spots may not conform to patterns observed in modern accumulations.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: An Unexpected Encounter with a Bone Cruncher.

Amy G. Egeland, Charles P. Egeland.

Keywords

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Volumen 7. Number 1. Year 2009.

2019-11-06T22:45:10+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 7. Number 1. Year 2009.|

VOLUME 7. NUMBER 1. 2009

Human Chewing Bone Surface Modification and Processing of Small and Medium Prey Amongst the Nukak (Foragers of the Colombian Amazon).

Gustavo Martínez

Keywords: NUKAK FORAGERS, COLOMBIAN TROPICAL RAIN FOREST, SMALL-MEDIUM MAMMALS BUTCHERING, BONE SURFACE MODIFICATIONS, HUMAN CHEWING

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 1. 2009 (1 issue)

This paper explores aspects related to management and exploitation of faunal resources by the Nukak (Guaviare Department, Colombian Amazon), a hunter-gatherer tropical rain forest group. Although this group hunts a variety of vertebrates, this analysis only focuses on monkey and peccary which are the main species that are exploited. Due to the different sizes of these prey and to non economic factors such as taboos, the Nukak display a wide variety of animal exploitation. Data related to observations on Nukak hunting, butchering, transport, cooking, dismembering process and consumption will be combined with the information coming from the study of bone surface modifications. Thus, human behavior related to the production of bone surface modifications (e.g., cut marks, fractures, burning, chewing, etc.) derived from Nukak prey treatment are discussed. It is also proposed that chewing traits on bone surfaces were produced by humans.

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Taphonomic Aspects of African Porcupines (Hystrix cristata) in the Kenyan Highlands.

Job Munuhe Kibii

Keywords: GNAWING, BONE ACCUMULATION, KERATIN, NUTRIENT ACQUISITION

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 1. 2009 (2 issue)

Three porcupine (Hystrix cristata) burrows were investigated in the tea growing region of central Kenya. Owing to the fact that the region is largely devoid of bones, the porcupines are forced to collect and gnaw discarded plastics. My results contradict the hypothesis that H. africaeaustralis and H. cristata collect and gnaw bone to obtain nutrients. This hypothesis implies that porcupines evolved continuously growing incisors in response to a diet supplemented by hard resources. My findings instead support the hypothesis that porcupines collect and gnaw hard organic and inorganic items as a behavioral adaptation to hone and trim their continuously growing incisors.

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Volumetric BMD Values of Archaeological Human Bone Remains with pQCT and DEXA.

Jorge Alejandro Suby, Ricardo Aníbal Guichon, Gustavo Cointry, José Luis Ferretti.

Keywords: VOLUMETRIC BONE MINERAL DENSITY, HUMAN BONES, pQCT – DEXA

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 1. 2009 (3 issue)

Bone mineral density (BMD) is a mediating factor of some attritional taphonomic processes. In the last few decades BMD has been successfully employed to assess differential preservation in faunal archaeological samples. In contrast, the BMD of human remains was scarcely studied with taphonomic purposes. Moreover, there is some controversy concerning the reliability of the methods proposed to evaluate this bone property. In this study, we determined the human postcranial volumetric BMD (vBMD) of an archaeological assemblage from Tierra del Fuego (Argentina), with peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) and area BMD with X-ray densitometry (DEXA). Although the pQCT-assessed vBMD values were more accurate and offer important biomechanical references, the information given by the shape-adjusted vBMD values calculated from DEXA aBMD data is also reliable and provides enough resolution for detection of BMD-related taphonomic processes.

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Taphonomic Applications of Georadar.

Ilya V. Buynevick.

Keywords: GPR, FOSSILS, HYPERBOLIC, PALEO-CHANNEL, AEOLIAN

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 1. 2009 (4 issue)

Taphonomic research, particularly in vertebrate paleontology and archaeology, relies on the analysis of geological context of fossils or artifacts. Ground-penetrating radar is an effective high-resolution subsurface imaging technique that can be used not only for locating buried objects (decimeter-scale or larger), but also for visualizing their in situ geological context. The records often reveal sediment deformation structures around a buried target and allow imaging below the water table, often inaccessible by other methods. This paper presents examples of recent settings (ephemeral inlet channel and active dune) to illustrate the use of georadar in resolving both continuous (geological) and pointsource (three-dimensional objects) features. When complemented with excavations or exposures, subsurface images become an important part of taphonomic investigation by paleontologists and archaeologists.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: No cut marks, no tooth marks. The anatomical connections at the Gran Dolina site.

Jordi Rossel, Ruth Blasco.

Keywords

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Volumen 7. Number 2-3. Year 2009.

2019-11-06T22:46:10+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 7. Number 2-3. Year 2009.|

VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2-3. 2009 [TAPHOS'08]

TAPHOS’08: an Introduction to a Special Volume of Journal of Taphonomy.

Julio Aguirre

Keywords

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Charcoal Taphonomy: The Study of the Cell Structure and Surface Deformations of Pinus sylvestris type for the Understanding of Formation Processes of Archaeological Charcoal Assemblages.

Ethel Allué, Itxaso Euba, Alex Solé.

Keywords: CHARCOAL TAPHONOMY, PINUS SYLVESTRIS, NE IBERIAN PENINSULA, WOOD DECAY, COMBUSTION, POST-DEPOSITIONAL PROCESSES, FIREWOOD MANAGEMENT

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (2 issue)

In this work we present the anthracological and taphonomical study of charcoal assemblages. The charcoal assemblages come from archaeological sites at the NE Iberian Peninsula and include Palaeolithic and historical sites. All these assemblages share the same records, being Pinus sylvestris type the most significant taxa, which has permitted to classify some of the alterations produced on the cell structure. The analysis of P. sylvestris type wood cell structure from a taphonomic point of view has permitted to classify the modifications and their origin. The processes under which charcoal assemblages are affected are wood decay, combustion and post-depositional processes. The analysis of these charcoals has contributed to the understanding of the formation processes of the assemblages. In this sense, the archaeological context and the study of the alteration origin has permitted to observe wood qualities used for firewood and constructive structures. Moreover it permits to understand combustion processes related to fire structures (simple fire structures, kilns, furnaces) and constructive structures.

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Age of Death and Seasonality Based on Ungulate Tooth Remains from the Upper Pleistocene Site of Valdegoba (Burgos, Spain).

Diego Arceredillo Alonso, Carlos Díez Fernández-Lomana.

Keywords: AGE OF DEATH, DENTAL ERUPTION, WEAR, SEASONALITY, UNGULATES, VALDEGOBA CAVE

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (3 issue)

The small Valdegoba cave has yielded many fossils remains since the first excavations in 1987. Homo neanderthalensis is the most characteristic species in this large assemblage of carnivore, herbivore, microfauna and avifauna fossils. Ungulates are the predominant group, with greater abundance of dental remains than postcraneal bones. A study comparing dental eruption patterns with stages of dental wear in each species shows that age of death can also be determined. The analysis shows that both immatures and young adults are predominant. Cervus elaphus shows a clearly seasonal mortality pattern. On the other hand, Rupicapra rupicapra and Capra pyrenaica shows an annual distribution. This could indicate that C. elaphus accumulation could be anthropic, whereas a variety of agents could be involved in the case of chamois and goat.

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Skin and Bones: Taphonomy of a Medieval Tannery in Hungary.

László Bartosiewicz.

Keywords: ARCHAEOZOOLOGY, BODY PART DISTRIBUTION, BONE WEIGHT, SKINNING, TANNING, “SCHLEPP EFFECT”, LATE MIDDLE AGES, HUNGARY

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (4 issue)

Taphonomy in medieval archaeology is far more than the post mortem history of animal remains. In addition to material evidence, parallel data are also available in the form of documentary as well as iconographic sources. However, similarly to animal bones, such data are also prone to selective taphonomic processes. This paper is a taphonomic analysis of animal remains from an excavation with both written records and lacunae in the written records in order to reconstruct the existence of a special craft, tanning. Excavations near Baj in Central Hungary revealed the remains of a small, 15th-16th century manorial settlement at the site of Öreg-Kovács-hegy. The 3,174 (146.8 kg) identifiable animal bones were dominated by cattle remains (NISP=1,969; 105.4 kg), while red deer was also well-represented (NISP=257; 16.2 kg). Even horse bones were relatively numerous (NISP=77; 10.6 kg). The anatomical composition, pattern of butchery, and spatial distribution of bones indicated that many of them were not ordinary food remains but probably tannery refuse. Although this activity was not mentioned in written records, archaeozoological observations complement the discovery of circular features at the site, interpreted as lime pits. Tanning was chosen as a paradigmatic activity that leaves both specific archaeological and archaeozoological markers. In addition to establishing diagnostic osteological criteria indicative of tanning, the selective survival and reliability of the different types of evidence (written, iconographic, architectural) are also indirectly compared.

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Toothmarks on Micromammal Remains from Level TE9 of Sima del Elefante (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain).

Mª de Lluc Bennàsar, Isabel Cáceres, Gloria Cuenca-Bescós, Juan Rofes.

Keywords: SIMA DEL ELEFANTE, ATAPUERCA, TOOTHMARKS, TALPA CF. T. EUROPAEA, MUSTELA PALERMINEA, MUSTELA NIVALIS, BEREMENDIA FISSIDENS

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (5 issue)

Small toothmarks on Talpa cf. T. europaea humerus have been identified during the taphonomical study of the micromammal remains found in Sima del Elefante site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos). Toothmarks have been compared to Mustela nivalis modern molars and to Mustela palerminea and Beremendia fissidens fossil remains in order to identify the predator producing the marks. The results indicate that marks were produced by a smaller predator than Mustela, and resemble more to those produced by B. fissidens. This insectivorous species is smaller than Talpa and has a poison injector apparatus that allows it to hunt preys which double its own size. Ethological characteristics of predators and B. fissidens physical features seem to point to this insectivore as the agent responsible for the Talpa humerus toothmarks at Sima del Elefante TE9 level.

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The Paradox of Barren Ancient Rocky Shores in the Western Mediterranean.

Juan C. Braga, Antonio Checa, Julio Aguirre.

Keywords: CORALLINALES (RHODOPHYTA), ROCKY SHORES, ALGAL COVERING, NEOGENE, RECENT

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (6 issue)

Encrusting coralline red algae cover significant proportions of the surface of rocky walls, blocks, and boulders in the mid- and infralittoral zones in present-day temperate seas. Despite the common occurrence of their living counterparts, examples of fossil coralline plants attached to rock surfaces in ancient temperate shores are very scarce and can be considered cases of exceptional preservation. In the Mediterranean region, however, the most frequent encrusting species have existed at least since the Miocene; they comprise heavily calcified plants which, a priori, should have a high preservation potential. In fact, fossil representatives of these species are relatively common as components of rhodoliths (algal nodules) and bioclastic deposits. In addition, palaeocliffs and ancient rocky shores are widespread in Neogene and Quaternary basins around the Mediterranean Sea. The key feature explaining the low preservation potential of encrusting corallines as in-situ growths, based on observation of algae on submarine rock surfaces in the Cabo de Gata area in SE Spain, seems to be the adhesion mechanism. The organic adhesion substance decays after death, and the plant is then removed by grazers or simply falls to the bottom. No abiotic or biologically induced cementation prevents detachment of a dead plant and there is no accretion of the coralline cover on the rock surface. The plant debris is incorporated into the sediment around the rocky substrate and the algal fragments undergo later taphonomic processes asloose bioclasts.

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Disarticulation and Dispersal Processes of Cervid Carcass at the Bosque de Riofrío (Segovia, Spain).

Isabel Cáceres, Montserrat Esteban-Nadal, Mª de Lluc Bennàsar, Yolanda Fernández-Jalvo.

Keywords: DISARTICULATION, DISPERSAL, VULPES VULPES, CERVUS ELAPHUS, TOOTHMARKS, BOSQUE DE RIOFRÍO, SPAIN

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (7 issue)

The Bosque de Riofrio, a natural forest and reserve in Spain (Segovia), has a wide population of red deer and fallow deer. The park, open to the public during the day light, has an extensive area restricted to the staff that take care of these wild animals in wild conditions. Carcasses derived from natural deaths are recorded by the park rangers, as population control, but left exposed to natural conditions and preserved by them from human entries. Since 2000 we are carrying out a project on dispersal and disarticulation of carcasses. Red fox and vultures also inhabit the reserve and scavenge these carcasses. We are here referring in this paper to a particular specimen (RF8), an adult male red deer, exposed along a period of 2 and half years, and monitored by us. During the first stages, the foxes acceded to RF8 producing toothmarks and contributing to the disarticulation and dispersal of carcass. In the last stages, the toothmarks identifies were produced by herbivores.

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“I Hunt Chickens, Men Hunt Me.” The Biostratinomy of a Shot Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes L.) – A Case Study.

Erika Gál

Keywords: VERTEBRATE TAPHONOMY, RED FOX, TEMPERATE CLIMATE, FOREST ENVIRONMENT

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (8 issue)

In this paper the author presents the decay process of a shot red fox that decomposed in a temperate forest environment during 2004. Close-up pictures taken regularly are compared with meteorological data concerning temperature and precipitation during the period of investigation. Since neither human- or other vertebrate disturbance, nor water transport or considerable wind affected the body, its complete decay in naturally sheltered conditions (light undergrowth in a wooded area) took about seven month. Due to the unusually warm and humid weeks at the end of the winter and early spring in 2004, however, autolysis, microbial decay and invertebrate scavenging resulted in the complete decomposition of soft tissues in three months. Since red fox is a facultative commensal animal with burrowing habits, its remains are difficult to interpret in archaeological deposits. Such actualistic observations and experiments may help understanding the origin and role of fox remains found at and around ancient human settlements.

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Mineralogical, Elemental and Chemical Composition of Dinosaur Bones from Teruel (Spain).

Luis Luque, Luis Alcalá, Luis Mampel, Mª Dolores Pesquero, Rafael Royo-Torres, Alberto Cobos, Eduardo Espílez, Ana González, Daniel Ayala.

Keywords: BONE, DIAGENESIS, AUTHIGENIC MINERAL, DINOSAUR, ARAGÓN

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (9 issue)

A detailed study has been carried out on 25 samples of dinosaur bone fragments which come from 8 sites belonging to six stratigraphic units that span from the Tithonian (Upper Jurassic) to Albian (Lower Cretaceous) in the province of Teruel, Spain. The aim of the study is to further understand the mineralogical, elemental and chemical composition of the bones which come from different depositional environments and try to determine the processes which created this composition starting from the initial biogenic phosphate. A diversity of chemical compositions within the same sedimentary environment, within the same site and even within the same fossil is documented. This supports the idea that fossilization and postmortem diagenesis is not a homogeneous process. The compositions of bones varied widely in their proportions of francolite, dahllite and hydroxyapatite phosphates. The most common cement is calcite but the presence of unidentified iron oxides is also very frequent. Haematite or barite cements are found more rarely. The association between the authigenic minerals kaolinite and palygorskite provides information about the geochemical processes occurring in the microenvironment of fossilization, and the presence of iron oxides, pyrite or barite is informative of microbial activity. Furthermore, different sources for fossils from a same site can potentially be differentiated. In sum, a direct relationship between the mineralogy of the bone and cement composition and the sedimentary environment cannot be inferred.

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Butchery, Cooking and Human Consumption Marks on Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) Bones: An Experimental Study.

Lluís Lloveras, Marta Moreno-García, Jordi Nadal.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, ACTUALISTIC STUDY, RABBIT REMAINS, BUTCHERY, CUT MARKS, HUMAN CONSUMPTION, BURNT BONES

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (10 issue)

An experimental study was conducted to assess the taphonomic signature derived from anthropic activities on rabbit bones. Nine wild European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) individuals were butchered using lithic tools, four were cooked and three of them were consumed by people. Cut marks resulting from skinning, disarticulation and defleshing as well as cooking damage and tooth marks caused by consumption were analysed and evaluated. Results show that butchery marks can be relatively abundant. Their location, intensity and orientation may differ according to the activity that caused them: skinning, disarticulation or defleshing of the carcass. Cooking damage is evidenced by specific burnt areas on the extremities of the bones. Tooth marks are scarce and often difficult to detect. They occur especially on long bones, with tooth pits being the most abundant type of damage. Finally, we attempt to address the way in which these marks can be archaeologically identified.

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Taphonomic Study of the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic Large Mammal Assemblage from Tournal Cave (Bize-Minervois, France).

Pierre Magniez

Keywords: MIDDLE PALAEOLITHIC, LATE PALAEOLITHIC, TAPHONOMY, TOURNAL CAVE,UNGULATES, CARNIVORES, SHORT/LONG-TERM OCCUPATIONS

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (11 issue)

The Tournal Cave (southern France) presents an important Late Pleistocene stratigraphic record of human occupations dated to the Late-Middle (Mousterian culture) and Upper Palaeolithic (Aurignacian and Magdalenian cultures). This study intends to give a taphonomic overview of the large ungulate bone assemblages. Around 12,500 large mammal remains have been studied. Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and horse (Equus caballus) were the primary prey taxa. In general terms, the faunal assemblage reveals a low degree of "weathering" and a wide variation of carnivore and hominid modifications in the different layers. Mousterian and Aurignacian units suggest multiple short-term human occupations that occurred at various seasons throughout the year alternating with carnivores. According to prey body part representation and mark frequencies, carnivores sometimes gained primary access to bones while denning, and secondarily accessed discarded bones after hominids left the site. Analysis of the Magdalenian unit indicates a broad range of activities including butchering that took place at the site. Nearly complete carcasses were transported from the kill site and processed for meat and marrow. Seasonality studies suggest that occupations took place in winter to early spring.

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Taphonomy of the Accumulations Produced by Caracara plancus (Falconidae). Analysis of Prey Remains and Pellets.

Claudia I. Montalvo, Pedro O. Tallade.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, PELLETS, PREY REMAIN SELECTION, CARACARA PLANCUS, ARGENTINA HOT SPOT

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (12 issue)

Caracara plancus (Falconidae) is a diurnal raptor bird, described as an opportunist that feeds on carrion and a variety of live preys, including rodents. Based on the skeletal remains of rodents recovered from pellets produced by this bird, an analysis of the modifications occurred on those bones was carried out, concluding that they were important. Along with pellets, scattered rodents prey remains not digested, collected in the same sampling area, under the roosting, were analyzed. The comparison of the data from pellets and that from uneaten prey remains indicates that southern caracara would perform a certain selection over different body parts of predated rodents, discarding mainly the cranial regions. The ingested osseous remains, showing evidence of breakage and digestion, could accumulate together with the skeletal elements that, which constitute the remains of prey, with particular signs of breakage but without signs of digestion. These findings are particularly relevant in order to avoid missininterpretations of this kind of accumulations, which are not mixtures produced by several predators but only one predator with a particular pattern of ingestion. Consequently, when zooarchaeological or paleontological records from the Pampean region are analyzed, it is very important to consider the fact that these birds of prey could have contributed to the accumulation of micromammal bones, with skeletal elements coming both from pellets and prey remains.

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Plant Taphonomy from the Mississippian Flysch Facies of the El Priorat Massif (Catalonia, Spain).

Sheila Villalba-Breva, Carles Martín-Closas.

Keywords: SPHENOPSIDA, ARCHAEOCALAMITACEAE, LOWER CARBONIFEROUS, FLYSCH, PRIORAT, EUROPE, TAPHONOMY

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (13 issue)

Calamitaleans belonging to Archaeocalamites cf. radiatus and Mesocalamites cf. ramifer were found in flysch deposits of the Middle-Upper Visean of La Vilella Baixa (Priorat Massif, Catalonia, Spain). This is the first time a Mississippian flora from the Catalan Coastal Chain and NE Spain is described. The calamitalean assemblage contains only stems (either adpressions or pith casts) without other calamitalean organs. Putative pteridosperm remains associated with them include Carpolithus-type seeds. Unidentified woody axes might belong to pteridosperms or ferns. The assemblage was deposited by turbiditic flows on slope-apron facies of the Carboniferous basin. Taphonomic features suggest that the plant remains underwent severe transport selection before final deposition. Three taphofacies recognized indicate that under different hydrodynamic conditions of deposition, the assemblage only varies in small taphonomic features, with no significant change in composition. This suggests that the supply of plant remains to the slope-apron area consisted mainly of calamitalean stems, rare pteridosperm seeds and unidentified woody branches, though the original composition of the plant community was probably much more diverse. Comparison with another Mississippian flora from the Hercynian Flysch of Southern Europe (Cabrières, France) suggests that both assemblages may have been taxonomically similar in origin but differed after taphonomic selection.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: BIOLOGICAL CONCENTRATIONS OF AMUSIUM CRISTATUM.

Julio Aguirre

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