Mousterian Hunting Camps:
Interdisciplinary Approach and Methodological Considerations
William RENDU, Laurence BOURGUIGNON, Sandrine COSTAMAGNO,
Liliane MEIGNEN, Marie-Cécile SOULIER, Dominique ARMAND,
Cédric BEAUVAL, Francine DAVID, Christophe GRIGGO,
Jacques JAUBERT, Bruno MAUREILLE, Seong-Jin PARK
Recent studies concerning the exploitation of the environment by Neanderthals have revealed the existence of short-term seasonal Mousterian occupations focused on hunting activities. The exact nature of these activities has rarely been addressed through inter-disciplinary studies, however. An interpretive framework that draws upon criteria from paleontology, zooarcheology, techno-economy, archeopetrography and paleotopography helps distill the most salient aspects from each of these sites and ultimately leads to a better perception of the activities that took place at each one.
To cite this article
Rendu W., Bourguignon L., Costamagno S., Meignen L., Soulier M.-C., Armand D., Beauval C., David F., Griggo C., Jaubert J., Maureille B., Park S.-J., 2011 – Mousterian Hunting Camps: Interdisciplinary Approach and Methodological Considerations, in Bon F., Costamagno S., Valdeyron N. (eds.), Hunting Camps in Prehistory. Current Archaeological Approaches, Proceedings of the International Symposium, May 13-15 2009, University Toulouse II – Le Mirail, P@lethnology, 3, 61-76.
Archaeological Signatures of Hunting Activities
Applied to Comparisons of Mousterian, Chatelperronian
and Aurignacian Industries in the Pyrenees:
The Nature of Hunting Tools and Site Functions
François BACHELLERIE, François BON, Marianne DESCHAMPS,
Laura EIZENBERG, Dominique HENRY-GAMBIER, Vincent MOURRE,
Christian NORMAND, Jacques PELEGRIN, Jérôme PRIMAULT,
René SCANDIUZZI, Céline THIÉBAUT
Comparisons of lithic industries originating from a sample of sites in the Pyrenees and their Vasco-Cantabrian extension show the existence of different degrees of functional specialization, and that this specialization was more pronounced in Chatelperronian contexts than in Aurignacian ones. In the Chatelperronian, specialized sites where hunting activities took a major place (“hunting camps”) are correlated to consisted of occupations that had diverse functions, while in the Aurignacian there was only one site type: multifunctional installations where hunting was an important activity, but not the only one. To correctly interpret these results, however, we must consider the difficulty of comparing the functional attributes of industries with very different weapon systems; it is necessary to take into account the relative visibility, from one assemblage to another, of hunting weapons armed with apical lithic points (Chatelperronian model) as opposed to instruments armed with antler or wood points, only some of which had retouched or non retouched bladelets attached to them (Early Aurignacian model).
This methodological discussion of the archaeological attributes of hunting activities depending on the contexts and the industries considered becomes even more pertinent when we go back even further in time to compare these data with those the Late Mousterian in this same region.
That being, the combination of two criteria – the nature of hunting equipment and the probable specialization of some sites in relation to this activity – allows us to address questions concerning the reasons for this apparent contrast between the Chatelperronian and the cultures by which it is preceded and followed. This approach can lead to new research perspectives on the evolution of human behavior at the time of change from the Middle to Upper Paleolithic.
To cite this article
Bachellerie F., Bon F., Deschamps M., Eizenberg L., Henry-Gambier D., Mourre V., Normand C., Pelegrin J., Primault J., Scandiuzzi R., Thiébaut C., 2011 – Archaeological Signatures of Hunting Activities Applied to Comparisons of Mousterian, Chatelperronian and Aurignacian Industries in the Pyrenees: The Nature of Hunting Tools and Site Functions, in Bon F., Costamagno S., Valdeyron N. (eds.), Hunting Camps in Prehistory. Current Archaeological Approaches, Proceedings of the International Symposium, May 13-15 2009, University Toulouse II – Le Mirail, P@lethnology, 3, 131-167.
Combustion features and periglacial structures:
a New Taphonomic Analysis of Mousterian
Combustion Features at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue (50)
The Mousterian site of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue (Manche), excavated by Gérard Fosse in the early 1980’s, has yielded around thirty combustion features. These features were excavated, described and interpreted without sufficient consideration of the periglacial processes that occurred during and after the human occupations. Based on observations of modern periglacial processes in active contexts, archaeological examples from sites in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region and experiments conducted at high altitudes by A. Pissart (1973 to 1987) and researchers in the ACR program “Taphonomy of Middle Palaeolithic assemblages in periglacial contexts” and “The Palaeolithic in the Quercy” (2004-2007), we reveal evidence of formal convergences between the periglacial structures and the forms and functions of the combustion features attributed to the Mousterian at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue.
To cite this article
Masson B., 2010 – Combustion Features and Periglacial Structures: a New Taphonomic Analysis of Mousterian Combustion features at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue (50), in Théry-Parisot I., Chabal L., Costamagno S., The taphonomy of Burned Organic Residues and Combustion Features in Archaeological Contexts, Proceedings of the round table, May 27-29 2008, CEPAM, P@lethnology, 2, 5-23.
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.
To cite this article
Costamagno S., Beauval C., Lange-Badré B., Vandermeersch B., Mann A., Maureille B., 2009 – Man or Carnivores? Study Protocol of Mixed Bone Assemblages:the Example of Les Pradelles mousterian Site (Marillac-le-Franc, Charente, France), P@lethnology, Varia, 361-387.