Small Mammal Bone Modifications in Black- Shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus Pellets from Algeria: Implications for Archaeological Sites.
Karim Souttou, Abdessalam Manaa, Emmanuelle Stoetzel, Makhlouf Sekour, Adel Hamani, Salaheddine Doumandji, Christiane Denys.
Keywords: NEOTAPHONOMY, REGURGITATION PELLETS, NORTH AFRICA, DIURNAL RAPTOR
In this taphonomic study we examine bone modifications to small mammal remains in regurgitated pellets from Algerian Black-shouldered Kites, Elanus caeruleus. This is the first paper to examine the diet and taphonomic alterations of this species. It is shown here that the majority of prey remains appearing in the diet of E. caeruleus come from small mammals (93%) and that the modifications on the small mammal bones by this predator are consistent with the "strong" predator modification category (type 4-5 predator) in the schemes proposed by Andrews (1990) and used by Fernando-Jalvo and Andrews (1992). The mean percentage of bone preservation is 28% and the mean percentage of bone fragmentation is 63%. For the most common prey species, Mus spretus, digestion marks occur on 63% of the isolated incisors, 77% of the isolated molars and 90% of femurs with predominantly light to moderate grades of etching. The effects of predation and digestion on different prey species are compared and some differences in preservation are highlighted. The potential role of Black-shouldered Kites as small mammal bone accumulators must not be neglected, particularly in North-African archaeological and palaeontological sites.
Flint Patina as an Aspect of “Flaked Stone Taphonomy”: A Case Study from the Loess Terrain of the Netherlands and Belgium.
Philip J. Glauberman, Robert M. Thorson.
Keywords: STONE TOOLS, ARTIFACT TAPHONOMY, FLAKED STONE TAPHONOMY, CHERT, FLINT, PATINA, PALEOLITHIC, THIN SECTIONS
This paper describes recent research into variable patinas observed on lithic artifacts from the loessmantled region of Southern Limburg, The Netherlands and Belgian Limburg. There, patina intensity and artifact typology and technology have long been used as indicators of the relative age of surface finds. Though it is true that Neolithic and later flint surface finds never possess the intensity of patina observed on Paleolithic artifacts, this study indicates that sub-aerial exposure likely plays a marginal role in flint patination. Rather, type and degree of patina development appear more closely related to depositional context. We consider data from local surface sites, inferences about the geochemical influence of plant roots, humic acids, soil pH, temperature, and site aspect; and microscopic analysis of thin sections produced from a small sample of artifacts. Finally, we propose a simple model of the flint patination process based on empirical and experimental research on glass hydration. This is a preliminary, conceptual study aimed at developing a working protocol for more extensive flaked stone taphonomy research. Excavations, lithic artifact assemblage analyses, and geochemical studies are currently ongoing, and continue to build on the results of this preliminary research.
Much More Than It Was Expected: Preservational Differences of Diaphysis and Epiphyseal Ends of Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) Long Bones in Southern Patagonia (Argentina).
Juan Bautista Belardi, Diego Rindel, Tirso Bourlot.
Keywords: SOUTHERN PATAGONIA, DIAPHYSIS/EPHYFISIS, OPEN-AIR SITES, BONE MINERAL DENSITY, WEATHERING/ABRASION
In archeofaunal assemblages from different parts of the world there is a predominance of diaphysis over articular ends. This differential proportion of diaphysis over epiphysis also characterizes a considerable proportion of the faunal samples from Patagonia, especially those from caves and rockshelters. However, the assemblages recovered from open-air contexts in south Patagonia shows an inverse pattern: a predominance of the epiphysis over the diaphysis of guanaco (Lama guanicoe) long bones, contrary to the expectations derived from their respective bone mineral density (BMD) values. The archeofaunal information obtained from six open-air sites is presented and the pattern is evaluated and compared considering the diaphyseal and epiphyseal long bone structure, the densitometric values obtained by Stahl (1999) for South American camelids, the environmental characteristics related with the substrates (lacustrine clay and sand dunes) of the sites and the regional taphonomic information. It is proposed that in dynamic environments such as those here considered, the observed pattern is related to weathering/abrasion, acting differentially on the types and position of the tissues that form the diaphysis and epiphysis. When the diaphysis begins to open and fragment the fracture stops in the epiphysis. Such process would be accelerated in cultural contexts as a result of obtaining nutrients from long bones -considered of low processing cost (sensu Marean & Cleghorn, 2003)- and blanks for artifacts, causes bone to be fractured. Besides, the lack of large carnivores in Patagonia is another important factor that would affect the differential representation on epiphysis over diaphysis. Similar results obtained on different substrates can sustain the expression of the pattern on a regional scale while indicating that it corresponds to openair site contexts in general. Thus, the correlation between present elements and BMD would result in a partial tool to evaluate the integrity of archaeofaunas from Southern Patagonia open-air sites.
The Taphonomist´s Corner: Organically preserved fossil soft tissues: a substrate for modern microorganisms.