MAN OR CARNIVORES?
STUDY PROTOCOL OF MIXED BONE ASSEMBLAGES:
the Example of Les Pradelles mousterian Site
(Marillac-le-Franc, Charente, France)
Sandrine COSTAMAGNO, Cédric BEAUVAL, Brigitte LANGE-BADRÉ,
Bernard VANDERMEERSCH, Alan MANN, Bruno MAUREILLE
In many archaeological assemblages, the presence of traces made by humans and made by carnivores on faunal assemblages raises the question of the respective roles played by these two agents in the accumulation and modification of the bones. This article presents a critical review of the different criteria taken into consideration in distinguishing between hunting and scavenging by men and by carnivores. The Mousterian site of Les Pradelles is analysed on the basis of this synthesis. From this study, it emerges that the anthropic impact on bones decreases from the base to the summit of the stratigraphical sequence, lower levels corresponding to sites of habitat (in a very broad sense) and upper levels corresponding to carnivore dens. In the lower sequence, the capacity of Neandertals to hunt all sizes of ungulates is clearly demonstrated. This study also shows the necessity of diversifying actualistic approaches in order to document the complexity of archaeological deposits. Finally, it indicates that the refitting method recommended by C. W. Marean (Bartram, Marean, 1999; Marean, 1998; Marean, Kim, 1998) for the determination of shaft fragments is not always necessary for the distinction between hunting and scavenging in assemblages of bones extensively ravaged by carnivores, the determination of shaft fragments using morphological criteria being, in most cases, largely sufficient.