Volumen 7. Number 4. Year 2009.

2019-11-06T22:47:15+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 7. Number 4. Year 2009.|

VOLUME 7. NUMBER 4. 2009

Decomposition and Disarticulation of Kangaroo Carcasses in Caves at Naracoorte, South Australia.

Elizabeth Reed


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

This paper presents the results of a study of decomposition and disarticulation of kangaroo carcasses in caves at Naracoorte, South Australia. Carcasses were placed in two caves and observed over a period of nearly three years. Decomposition progressed rapidly within the caves with almost immediate infestation by blowflies and fungi. Invertebrate activity had ceased by 28 months; however, fungal colonisation continued for the course of the study period. Decomposition, skeletonisation and disarticulation were complete by 600 days. The results suggest that temperature and humidity play an important role in decomposition as this directly affects the activity of invertebrate and fungal decomposers. The position of the carcass within the cave influences the degree of dispersal of remains in pitfall caves. Disarticulation sequences for the experimental carcasses compare with those for kangaroo skeletons on the land surface in semi-arid South Australia, suggesting that regardless of environment, anatomy is a key factor in determining disarticulation sequence. The results of this study have applications for the assessment of stratigraphic integrity and reworking of fossil deposits in caves at Naracoorte and elsewhere.

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Experimental Artifact Transport by Harvester Ants (Pogonomyrmex sp.): Implications for Patterns in the Archaeological Record.

Benjamin J. Schoville, Lucy E. Burris, Lawrence C. Todd.


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

On the High Plains of North America the harvester ants Pogonomyrmex occidentalis and P. owyheei build large gravel covered nest mounds in which artifacts and small fossils are frequently deposited. The effect this mound building behavior has on the archaeological record has received little attention and has generally been viewed as restricted to subsurface tunneling disturbances. Initial experiments highlight the surface foraging behavior of harvester ants actively transporting artifacts during mound construction and maintenance. Non-food related foraging behavior was investigated by placing glass beads around ant mounds in various patterns to evaluate foraging distance, direction, density and distribution effects. Ants were observed to forage a maximum of 48 m from the nest but the majority of foraged materials were returned from within 20 m, regardless of density, direction, or distribution differences. Of 812 individual mounds recorded during an extensive landscape survey, 134 contained anthropogenic debris. Additionally, mounds tend to form near disturbed and eroding soils which enhance the opportunity for ants to acquire actively exposed artifacts during foraging for mound construction material. These characteristics of harvester ant foraging effectively create highly visible loci of small artifact concentrations that are otherwise poorly represented by traditional pedestrian surveys. Understanding the taphonomic signature of harvester ant artifact transport should aid in refining interpretations of artifact patterning observed in archaeological contexts.

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Home Sharing: Carnivores in Anthropogenic Assemblages of the Middle Pleistocene.

Jordi Rosell, Ruth Blasco.


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

The Middle Pleistocene is a period with a great variability of carnivores. Different species of big cats, hyaenids, bears and canids are common in faunal lists of anthropogenic assemblages. This phenomenon raised a discussion about the relationships between carnivores and hominids. This paper aims to provide data to understand the presence of carnivore remains or the elements generated by them in Middle Pleistocene anthropogenic assemblages. We analyze two Spanish sites for this specific work: TD10-sup of Gran Dolina (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos) and Level XII of the Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain). The origin of both accumulations is due to the predatory activities of humans and carnivores´ incidence is very low. The main objective of this study is to determine the role of predators in these accumulations and to evaluate their relationship with human communities. The anatomical representation of carcases, the age of death of animals, the identification of anthropogenic marks and tooth marks, and the morphology of the latter suggest the existence of marauding small scavengers. These animals visited the cavities once abandoned by hominids. From this perspective, we think that there are not direct relationships in the form of interaction between both biological entities.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: Ants as taphonomic agents.

Benjamin J. Schoville, Paul Burnett, Lucy E. Burris, Lawrence C. Todd.


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Volumen 8. Number 4. Year 2010.

2019-11-06T22:53:35+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 8. Number 4. Year 2010.|

VOLUME 8. NUMBER 4. 2010

The Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo): a Fish Bone Accumulator on Pleistocene Cave Sites?

Hannah Russ


[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 4. 2010 (1 issue)

The Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo) is frequently recognised as an accumulator of skeletal remains on archaeological sites. To date, research on this species as an accumulator has focused on mammalian and avian prey, especially in cases where material could be potentially mistaken for human refuse. Here, the potential for the eagle owl to deposit fish remains on archaeological sites, specifically caves sites in Europe dating to the Late Pleistocene, is considered. Fish remains from Late Pleistocene cave sites are often assumed to represent food waste accumulated by humans, however, taphonomic signatures for fish remains deposited by piscivorous and fish eating faunas have not yet been identified. Using archaeological and ecological research, the potential for the eagle owl to produce fish bone accumulations on Pleistocene cave sites is recognised. Foundations for a taphonomic signature for fish remains produced by the eagle owl are suggested based on recorded fish prey species, associated prey species and likely spatial distribution. Areas for further research are identified.

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Element Survivability of Salmo salar.

Benjamin R. Collins


[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 4. 2010 (2 issue)

Fish represent an important resource to people living near water sources. However, the visibility of fish remains within the archaeological record is generally considered to be reduced compared with other taxa, in part because of their greater susceptibility to natural processes of taphonomic attrition. This experimental pilot study focused on testing the durability of fish elements by comparing the survivability of denser post-cranial elements with less dense cranial elements in a range of pH solutions. Data obtained from these observations were subjected to a statistical analysis that revealed several trends. No significant difference was observed between the survivability of cranial and post-cranial elements, however, a significant difference was noted for the impact of pH on element survivability. In general, both more acidic and basic environments were observed as detrimental factors for fish element survivability.

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A Taphonomic Perspective on the Origins of the Faunal Remains from Amalda Cave (Spain).

Jose Yravedra


[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 4. 2010 (3 issue)

Some traditional zooarchaeological analyses assume that faunal assemblages associated with stone tools are basically the result of human behaviour. Under this view, in previous research of the Palaeolithic site of Amalda Cave, the site was defined as a fully anthropogenic assemblage. In this paper, new taphonomic analyses show a different interpretation, since in some cases, the associations of bones and stone tools are created and modified by more than one agent in a succession of events. In Amalda Cave, the high frequencies of tooth marks on some animal bones, in contrast to the marginal percentages of cut and percussion marks, as well as the fragmentation profiles, suggest that carnivores played a major role in the accumulation of small-sized animals. On the other hand, medium-sized and large-sized animals show high percentages of cut marks and other evidences of human behaviour in detriment of carnivore modification. The present review leads to the conclusion that carnivores were the main agent for the accumulation of small-sized animals, while hominids enjoyed a primary access to larger carcasses. This study underscores the crucial role of taphonomy to understand the zooarchaeological record of the Iberian Peninsula.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: Identifying the predator: a cautionary example.

Jean-Baptiste Fourvel


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