Can Colour Be Used as a Proxy for Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions Based on Archaeological Bones? El Harhoura 2 (Morocco) Case Study.
Yannicke Dauphin, Roland Nespoulet, Emmanuelle Stoetzel, Mohamed Abdeljalil el Hajraoui, Christiane Denys.
Keywords: BONE COLOUR, EL HARHOURA 2, RODENTS, TAPHONOMY, PROXY
The El Harhoura 2 cave (Temara region, Morocco) has yielded abundant micromammal remains. Eleven sedimentary layers have been identified in the Late Pleistocene-Middle Holocene series. Rodent bones show various colours from white to black. Conodont colour alteration index is a widely used technique for assessing maturation and diagenesis. Despite fossil and archaeological bones may be black due to mineral staining (manganese) or burning, a similar index does not exist. We perform colour measurements in the visible light of the external surface of archaeological Meriones bones. Specific wavelengths were then selected for multivariate statistical analyses to try to characterize and differentiate the sedimentary layers. In this preliminary study, the origin of the colour is not yet known, despite some spots are Mn deposits. In the future, we hope that colour measurement, a non destructive analysis, will be used as a taphonomic index to estimate the state of preservation and history of fossil and archaeological sites.
Recent Indian Porcupine (Hystrix indica) Burrows and their Impact on Ancient Faunal and Human Remains: A Case Study from Tel Zahara (Israel).
Liora Kolska Horwitz, Susan L. Cohen, Wieslaw Wi?ckowski, Henk K. Mienis, Jill Baker, Emilia Jastrzebska.
Keywords: HYSTRIX INDICA, NEAR EAST, TEL ZAHARA, PORCUPINE BURROWS BONE DAMAGE, BIOTURBATION
It has long been known that porcupines accumulate and modify bones, but few actualistic studies on the contents of porcupine burrows have been undertaken. Here we present the results of an investigation of recent Indian porcupine (Hystrix indica) burrows that riddle the archaeological site of Tel Zahara (Israel). Faunal remains were recovered from the den entrances and inside a burrow system that we excavated. Bones exhibiting typical porcupine gnaw-damage i.e., flat-bottomed parallel grooves, were recovered from all dens, but no clear porcupine damage was evident on human osteological remains that were encountered by the porcupines during excavation of their dens. The surface patina of many of the bones is dark, signifying long-term burial, and is probably indicative of their archaeological origin. Porcupine gnawed areas on these bones are lighter in colour and so post-date the patina. Compared to the Roman period deposits on the tel, the den assemblage contains significantly higher numbers of wild taxa, a lower proportion of large-sized taxa, but a similar proportion of bones of medium-sized taxa, suggesting preferential selection of smaller-sized bones. Both tel and den deposits comprise similar frequencies of burnt bones and body part breakdowns are alike. As expected, higher frequencies of rodent and carnivore gnawed bones were found in the den samples. The results suggest that the porcupine burrow sample is a selected sub-set of the Roman faunal assemblage from the tel. This study has led us to conclude that the Indian porcupine plays a significant role as an agent of bioturbation of archaeological sediments and also as a collector and modifier of bones.
With Only One Flake. An Experiment About the Possibilities of Processing a Carcass with Flint during Hunting.
Santiago David Domínguez-Solera.
Keywords: FLINT, EXPERIMENTAL TAPHONOMY, HUNTING
Inspired on the present Inuit hunting techniques, a small experiment was designed to estimate the extent of butchery that could be carried out with only one flint flake in the process of preparing a female fallow deer (Dama dama) for transportation. The results are useful to understand the potential and economy of flint flakes in prehistoric times.
The Taphonomist´s Corner: Out-of-water shells.
Juan Carlos Braga