Volumen 3. Issue 2-3. Year 2005.

2020-03-28T19:16:47+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 3. Issue 2-3. Year 2005.|

VOLUME 3. NUMBER 2-3. 2005 [Special Issue: On Archaeology and Actualism Editors: Briana Pobiner & David Braun

Special Issue. On Archaeology and Actualism Editors: Briana Pobiner & David BraunEditors: Briana Pobiner & David Braun.

Applying Actualism: Considerations for Future Research.

Briana L. Pobiner, David R. Braun.


[+info] VOLUME 3. ISSUE 2-3. 2005 (1 issue)

This paper serves as an introduction and discussion of a collection of five papers originally presented in a symposium held at the 69th meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in 2004 entitled "Applied actualism: Experimental studies of hominid activity traces". These papers primarily present actualistic studies aimed at addressing questions of hominin carcass processing activities, generally using cutmark data. They serve as a reminder of the utility and importance of actualistic studies to test hypotheses of hominin behavior using zooarchaeological and taphonomic data. We review the manner in which actualism is used in these various studies of human butchery practices to construct models to generate test implications for the archaeological record. Finally, some considerations for future actualistic work are discussed.

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The Impact of Post-Depositional Processes on Bone Surface Modification Frequencies: A Corrective Strategy and its Application to the Loiyangalani Site, Serengeti Plain, Tanzania.

Jessica C. Thompson


[+info] VOLUME 3. ISSUE 2-3. 2005 (2 issue)

The frequencies of surface modification such as percussion, cut, and tooth marks on experimental faunal assemblages are not always directly comparable to those in fossil assemblages. Extensive post-depositional modification of bone surfaces may render many of these marks unidentifiable, depressing the overall frequencies or affecting some mark classes more than others. An analysis of the fauna from an open-air Middle Stone Age site on the Loiyangalani River in the Serengeti Plain, Tanzania, illustrates this point. A coding system is presented here that allows the elimination of heavily affected fragments from analysis so that the observed mark frequencies can more closely approximate their original ones.

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The Physics of Cutmarks.

Sheridan L. Potter


[+info] VOLUME 3. ISSUE 2-3. 2005 (3 issue)

Cutmarks are the most direct evidence of faunal butchery by humans. However, the physical properties of the creation of cutmarks are currently poorly understood. Experiments to quantify the minimum amount of force required to cut through muscle tissue and to produce a visible cutmark on the surface of bone were conducted. Those force values were then correlated with the maximum amount of force exerted by a human butchering with a stone tool. By quantifying such data, archaeologists can better understand the conditions conducive to creating cutmarks. Results show: 1) less force is required to cut through soft tissue when using obsidian as opposed to chert flakes; 2) the average depth of a visible cutmark is 65-80 mm; and 3) on average males can exert a greater maximum force using both large and small stone tools than females, but both can exert forces that far exceed the minimum force requirements tested in this experiment. These results present compelling data regarding the physical processes and agents involved in the formation of a cutmark on a bone, and offer incentive for future studies to be conducted.

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Strengthening the Inferential Link Between Cutmark Frequency Data and Oldowan Hominid Behavior: Results From Modern Butchery Experiments.

Briana L. Pobiner, David R. Braun.


[+info] VOLUME 3. ISSUE 2-3. 2005 (4 issue)

Cutmark frequencies are often cited in discussions of Oldowan hominid behavior, yet their interpretation remains enigmatic. To strengthen inferences derived from cutmark data, we conducted experiments with Turkana butchers. We test two hypotheses: (1) cutmark frequency is related to the amount of meat present, and (2) cutmark frequency is related to the size of the bone/carcass being butchered. Hypothesis 1 is not supported, while hypothesis 2 is supported. We document a positive correlation between bone/carcass size and cutmark frequency. We therefore advocate treating bones/carcasses of different sizes as analytically discrete units.

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A Study of Cut Marks on Small-Sized Carcasses and its Application to the Study of Cut-Marked Bones from Small Mammals at the FLK Zinj Site.

Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo, Rebeca Barba.


[+info] VOLUME 3. ISSUE 2-3. 2005 (5 issue)

Studies of cut marks have long been the subject of controversy regarding their ability to infer hominid carcass exploitation behavior, and the interaction between hominids and carnivores. Previous studies have emphasized the usefulness of cut mark frequency and distribution to reconstruct hominid access to carcasses. Still, one pending issue is how cut mark patterns vary between different carcass sizes (small versus large). This work presents new experimental results in which cut marks on small-sized carcasses are analysed and compared to both 1) experimental samples with larger-sized animals, and 2) the FLK 22 (Zinj) Plio-Pleistocene archaeological site.

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Application of Return Rates to Large Mammal Butchery and Transport among Hunter-gatherers and its Implications for Plio-Pleistocene Hominid Carcass.

Foraging and Site Use.

Charles P. Egeland, Ryan M. Byerly.


[+info] VOLUME 3. ISSUE 2-3. 2005 (6 issue)

The butchery and bone transport behavior of Plio-Pleistocene hominids has sparked much debate among paleoanthropologists because of the implications these behaviors have for hominid site use and socio-ecology. Contemporary hunter-gatherers provide useful test cases for zooarchaeologists interested in modeling these behaviors prehistorically. Among the set of available utility indices meant to aid in predictions of carcass resource use, return rates may be the most useful, as they estimate the net gain associated with nutrient extraction. This study presents experimentally-derived post encounter return rates associated with the butchery of meat-bearing appendicular skeletal elements from Size Class 2, 3 and 4 ungulates. Combining these new data with published data on marrow extraction allows composite return rates to be calculated. This study applies these data to ethnoarchaeological reports of bone transport among Hadza (Tanzania) and Kua (Botswana) hunter-gatherers. Results indicate that return rate does not systematically correlate with appendicular bone transport among contemporary foragers, suggesting: (1) the difference between zooarchaeologically-meaningful (i.e. individual skeletal elements and element portions) and behaviorally-meaningful (i.e. articulated limb segments) units of analysis exaggerate the differential transport potentials of these skeletal elements and (2) maximizing caloric gain per unit time at the site of carcass acquisition may not be a primary goal. Return rates also do not significantly correlate with skeletal part abundances from a number of important Plio-Pleistocene sites. This in turn suggests that current return rate data are probably not comprehensive enough to adequately account for the many variables influencing transport decisions. Given these findings, we suggest that return rates may be more productively applied to questions of carcass processing instead of carcass transport. Addressing these questions requires an analytical shift from skeletal part abundances to hominid-inflicted bone damage. We therefore integrate experimental return rates with data on surface modifications from some Plio-Pleistocene assemblages and examine the implications for hominid carcass processing and site use.

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Volumen 5. Issue 4. Year 2007.

2020-03-28T19:19:04+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 5. Issue 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.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 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.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 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.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 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


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