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In Search of Total Animal Exploitation – Case Studies from the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic
 9781407304670, 9781407335698

Table of contents :
Front Cover
Title Page
Table of Contents
In Search of Total Animal Exploitation: Introduction
Palaeolithic Subsistence and Organic Technology in the Swabian Jura
Aurignacian Animal Exploitation at Solutré (Saône-et-Loire, France)
Animal Exploitation: Between Technique and Subsistence
Mammoth Procurement and Exploitation at Milovice (Czech Republic): New Data for the Moravian Gravettian
De la plume à l’oeuf: exploitation des ressources aviaires au Magdalénien dans le sud de la France
Hunters and Craftsmen of the Late-Glacial Period. The Exploitation of Animal Resources at Parco Cave (Lleida, Spain) During the Magdalenian
The Total Exploitation of Reindeer at the Site of Les Petits Guinards: What’s New About the Annual Cycle of Nomadism of Magdalenian Groups in the French Massif Central?
The Specialized Hunting of Otididae (Little Bustard and Great Bustard) During the Upper Paleolithic at Grotta Romanelli (Apulia, Italy)
Matter and Material: Red Deer Antler Exploitation During the Mesolithic at Clos de Poujol (Aveyron, France)

Citation preview

BAR S2040

Proceedings of the XVth UISPP Congress Lisbon, 4-9 September 2006 Actes du XVème Congrès UISPP Lisbonne, 4-9 septembre 2006 Session C61


In Search of Total Animal Exploitation ― Case Studies from the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic


Volume edited by Laure Fontana, François-Xavier Chauvière and Anne Bridault

BAR International Series 2040 B A R


Proceedings of the XVth UISPP Congress Lisbon, 4-9 September 2006 Actes du XVème Congrès UISPP Lisbonne, 4-9 septembre 2006

Session C61

In Search of Total Animal Exploitation ― Case Studies from the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic

Volume edited by Laure Fontana, François-Xavier Chauvière and Anne Bridault

BAR International Series 2040 2009


ISBN 9781407304670 paperback ISBN 9781407335698 e-format DOI A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library



Fontana L., Chauvière F.-X. & Bridault A. (eds.), In Search of Total Animal Exploitation. Case Studies from the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Proceedings of the XVth UISPP Congress, Session C61, vol. 42, Lisbon, 4-9 September 2006. Oxford, BAR Publishing, 2009 (BAR International Series 2040)

Table of contents

Fontana L., Bridault A. &Chauvière F.-X. In search of total animal exploitation: introduction.


Barth M. M., Conard N. J. & Münzel S. C. Palaeolithic subsistence and organic technology in the Swabian Jura.


Bémilli C. & Bayle G. Aurignacian animal exploitation at Solutré (Saône-et-Loire, France).


Vercoutère C. Animal exploitation: between technique and subsistence. Discussion around two Aurignacian osseous assemblages from southwestern France.


Brugère A., Fontana L. & Oliva M. Mammoth procurement and exploitation at Milovice (Czech Republic): new data for the Moravian Gravettian.


Laroulandie V. De la plume à l’oeuf : exploitation des ressources aviaires au Magdalénien dans le sud de la France.


Tejero J. M., Estrada A., Nadal J., Fullola J. M., Mangado X., Petit M.A., Bartroli R. & Calvo M. Hunters and craftsmen of the Late-Glacial period. The exploitation of animal resources at Parco Cave (Lleida, Spain) during the Magdalenian.


Fontana L. & Chauvière F.-X. The total exploitation of Reindeer at the site of Les Petits Guinards: what’s new about the annual cycle of nomadism of Magdalenian groups in the French Massif Central?


Gala M., Fiore I. &Tagliacozzo A. The specialized hunting of Otididae (Little Bustar and Great Bustard) during the Upper Palaeolithic at Grotta Romanelli (Apulia, Italy).


Bridault A., David E. & Boboeuf M. Matter and material: Red Deer exploitation during the Mesolithic at Clos de Poujol (Aveyron, France).




Fontana L., Chauvière F.-X. & Bridault A. (eds.), In Search of Total Animal Exploitation. Case Studies from the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Proceedings of the XVth UISPP Congress, Session C61, vol. 42, Lisbon, 4-9 September 2006. Oxford, BAR Publishing, 2009 (BAR International Series 2040), p. 1-3.

In search of total animal exploitation Introduction Laure FONTANA*, Anne BRIDAULT** & François-Xavier Chauvière***

For nearly thirty years, questions related to resource exploitation by prehistoric societies have renewed and expanded chrono-cultural and paleoecological approaches. The characterisation of economies preceding the advent of agriculture and the explanation of the processes of economic change were an important part of the research stimulated by the so-called "School of Cambridge" and led by E.S. Higgs in the 1960s and 1970s (Higgs 1972, 1975). Other questions focused on the dynamic relationships between population and resources (e.g. Bailey 1983, Sieveking et al. 1976, Sheridan & Bailey 1981) or on the decisionmaking processes taken by human groups regarding the exploitation of animal and mineral resources, as well as the organisation of tasks and mobility patterns (e.g. Mithen 1990, Torrence 1983). The idea is that, in order to achieve hunting or gathering goals, individuals are expected to face multiple and conflicting constraints or opportunities and consequently to switch between them. Indeed, decision making may be considered as a universal feature that applies to every domain of the everyday life of human groups and individuals. For instance, the daily - to some extent - management of various resources implies a whole series of choices (eating food implies going hunting which implies making stone tools) related to locations of resource procurement, strategies of predation (i.e. hunting, trapping, collecting), duration of occupation, social organisation of activities. Moreover, such choices are almost all linked to one or several moments of the year, because of the seasonality of availability of most resources, the environment and the climate. Finally, the issue of resource exploitation is systemically linked to that of the spatial organisation of human occupations (i.e. settlement pattern studies). This question may be broken down according to various integrated spatio-temporal scales, such as a site, several

sites, the succession of occupations, usually perceived as seasonal ones, within a specific exploitation territory. The patterns of remains abandonment at each of the sites provide theoretically the material and temporal fingerprint of human activities, of events that took place while on the move. The re-occupation - that may take different forms - of sites is however one of the main problems affecting the visibility of the archaeological record (Binford 1982). Archaeological studies have largely focused on mobility patterns (direction, distances, etc.), based on raw material sourcing (Féblot-Augustins 2008) or inter-site refitting analysis (Close 2000). Finally, seasonal procurement systems have been mostly addressed by ethnoarchaeology and actualistic studies (e.g. Gould 1975, Winterhalder & Smith 1981), their archaeological application remaining mostly theoretical or at best partially documented. In Europe, the accumulation of data related to lithic raw material sourcing, modes of production (and use) of lithic and osseous weapons and tools, game treatment and selection has helped improve our knowledge about certain aspects of mineral, vegetal and animal resource exploitation (sensu lato: procurement, exploitation and consumption/use). However, the contribution of such data to the reconstitution of interactions between the various sub-systems that may be relevant to characterise a given society seems limited. It seems more of a synthetic than a truly dynamic approach. Firstly, at the level of the economic sub-system, the exploitation of resources is rarely envisioned and questioned globally. Every type of resource (i.e. plant, animal and mineral) is studied separately, which prevents the formulation of any common and cross questioning, and thus the study of the whole economic system (see details

*CNRS-UMR 6636 Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme. 5, rue du Château de l’Horloge BP647, 13094 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 02, France. [email protected] ** CNRS-UMR 7041 (Archéologies environnementales). Maison d’Archéologie et d’Ethnologie, 21 allée de l’Université, 92000 Nanterre, France. [email protected] ** Office et musée d’archéologie de Neuchâtel, Laténium, Espace Paul Vouga, 2068 Hauterive, Suisse. [email protected]


Laure FONTANA, Anne BRIDAULT & François-Xavier Chauvière

been the main motivation to convey scholars interested by such a perspective. The contributions included in this book are thus attempts at analysing - at different levels depending on the archaeological context - this global exploitation of animal resources. Are thus presented data from the study of Aurignacian sites (French Pyrénees and north-eastern France), of Gravettian sites (Swabian Jura and Moravia), of Magdalenian sites (Massif Central, south-western France, Spanish and French Pyrénees), of Epigravettian sites (southern Italy), and of Sauveterrian sites (southern French Massif Central). May they be focusing on the local and/or regional scale and that they document the global exploitation of one or several animals (Mammoth, Reindeer, Red Deer, Horse, Ibex, birds), these studies formulate essential questions and address methodological problems that arise primarily at the scale of site analysis. The identification of the acquired and exploited products does not seem to be an issue, with the exception of the materials non-preserved, and the products collected but not exploited at a site. By contrast, it is more problematic to identify priorities in terms of products (meat, fur, Cervid antlers) and the essential practice of quantifying the contribution of each product constitutes a real methodological challenge. Similarly, the issue of distinguishing and quantifying, among the osseous artifacts abandoned at a site, those that were made previously at another location, was raised by several authors. This may be resolved in some cases, as evidenced by several of the contributions. Assessing the proportion of objects and materials more or less transformed, that were manufactured at a site and then taken away, falls into this realm of questioning. Let us note also the contribution of ivory which was, according to the regional contexts, a raw material more or less exploited and whose exploitation patterns at the level of annual cycle remains poorly understood.

in Fontana et al. 2009). The latter one would require to take into account the interdependence of choices and the organisation of resource procurement and exploitation at the scale of the annual cycle. Their consideration would imply the integration of various sets of data and would first require an initial questioning in common. Such a perspective is still rarely addressed in the literature. Secondly, concerning the animal exploitation, one striking feature is the paucity of analyses considering animals as a whole set of potential materials. Indeed, compared to lithics, animals represent a source of potentially varied products: dietary (meat, marrow, internal organs...) and non-dietary (i.e. hard skeletal tissues/matters -matières dures d’origine animale: bone, tooth, antler, test and keratinand soft tissues/matters: skin, horn, sinew and feather). Then it makes sense to study animal remains with a global approach. Yet, within almost all analytical frameworks currently found in the literature, faunal remains are sorted out as either refusal of food consumption (subject of zooarchaeological studies) or artifacts - finished products and by-products (within the competence of the technology of “bone industries”). This may be related to the fact that all these animal remains are not considered as originating from a single resource (i.e. an animal) as a source of various potential matters. Consequently, one focuses on the transformation process of the given animal raw material into the given artifact (with the potential by-products of its manufacture). Such an approach narrows down this latter item to be studied exclusively from a typological and technological viewpoint. So the study of faunal remains, that should aim at characterising the total exploitation of animal resources in relation to procurement locations and seasons, remains only partially explored. This poor concern for the acquisition patterns of the osseous raw material, as well as for the shape and quantity in which it reaches any site, is quite surprising when compared to the many detailed studies on mineral resources. When considering two scales of observations (i.e. regional and local), at the site level the analysis bears witness to local exploitation patterns whereas at the regional scale the analysis of the exploitation territory and annual cycle documents the economy of animal resources by human groups. Such a statement, as well as a desire to tackle an integrated study in search of total animal exploitation, has

Acknowledgments Many thanks to the authors who participated in 2006 in the C61 Symposium of the UISPP Congress in Lisbon, as well as the organizers of that Congress who kindly accepted our symposium proposal. We also express our gratitude to Aliette Lompré and Christophe Delage who greatly contributed to the achievement of this book.


In search of total animal exploitation: introduction

literAture cited Bailey G.N. (1983 ed.) - Hunter-gatherer economy in prehistory: a European perspective. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 247 p.

Higgs E. S. (1972 ed.) - Papers in economic prehistory. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 216 p. Higgs E. S. (1975 ed.) - Palaeoeconomy. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 237 p.

Binford L.R. (1982) - The Archaeology of Place. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 1/1: 5-31.

Mithen S.J. (1990) - Thoughtful foragers: a study of prehistoric decision making. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 289 p.

Close A.E. (2000) - Reconstructing Movement in Prehistory. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 7/1: 49-77.

Sheridan A. & Bailey G.N. (1981) - Economic Archaeology: towards an integration of ecological and social approaches. Oxford, , 303 p. (BAR International Series 96).

Féblot-Augustins J. (2008) - Paleolithic raw material provenance studies. In: Pearsall D.M. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Archaeology. New York, Academic Press., vol. 2: 1187-1198.

Sieveking G. de G., Wilson K.W. & Longworth I.H. (1976) - Problems in economic and social archaeology. London, Duckworth, 626 p.

Fontana L., Digan M., Aubry T., Mangado Llach X. & Chauvière F.-X. (2009) - Exploitation des ressources et territoire dans le Massif Central français au Paléolithique supérieur : approche méthodologique et hypothèses. In: Djindjian F., Kozlowski J. & Bicho N. (dir.), Le concept de territoires dans le Paléolithique supérieur européen. Actes du XVè Congrès mondial de l’UISPP (Lisbonne, 4-9 septembre 2006), Session C16, Vol. 3. Oxford, BAR Publishing : 201-215 (BAR International Series 1938).

Torrence R. (1983) - Time budgeting and huntergatherer technology. In: G.N. Bailey (ed.), Hunter-gatherer economy in prehistory: a European perspective. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 11-22. Winterhalder B. & Smith E.A. (1981 ed.) Hunter-Gatherer Foraging Strategies: Ethnographic and Archeological Analyses. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 268 p.

Gould R.A. (1975) - Ecology and Adaptive Response Among the Tolowa Indians of Northwestern California. Journal of California Anthropology 2/2: 149-170.



Fontana L., Chauvière F.-X. & Bridault A. (eds.), In Search of Total Animal Exploitation. Case Studies from the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic. Proceedings of the XVth UISPP Congress, Session C61, vol. 42, Lisbon, 4-9 September 2006. Oxford, BAR Publishing, 2009 (BAR International Series 2040), p. 5-20.

Palaeolithic subsistence and organic technology in the Swabian Jura Martina M. BARTH*, Nicholas J. CONARD** & Susanne C. MüNZEL***

Abstract Animals provide materials which Pleistocene hunter-gatherers used for food, for the production of equipment and for jewellery and artworks. The patterns of subsistence and technical exploitation of animal resources reflect specific cultural behaviour of social groups. These patterns are the result of some economic and cultural choices. Here we focus on data from the Gravettian of the Ach Valley of the Swabian Jura to identify behavioural patterns and cultural preferences. While faunal data on diet and hunting seasonality show a relatively high degree of stability as far back as the Middle Palaeolithic, organic technology and symbolic items like personal ornaments show an important variability. Key words: Swabian Jura; Ach Valley; Gravettian; Subsistence; Organic technology Résumé - Subsistance et exploitation des matières dures d’origine animale au Paléolithique dans le Jura souabe. L’animal constitue une ressource que les chasseurs-collecteurs du Pléistocène ont exploitée, comme produit alimentaire et comme matériau pour la production d’équipements, de parures et d’objets d’art mobilier. Les modes d’exploitation alimentaire et technique des ressources animales reflètent le comportement culturel propre à chaque groupe social. Ces modes témoignent de choix d’ordre économique et culturel. Nous traiterons dans cette présentation des données relatives au Paléolithique du Jura souabe en mettant en evidence des comportements ainsi que des préférences d’ordre culturel. Alors que les données relatives au régime alimentaire et à la saisonnalité des chasses identifient une très forte stabilité des comportements depuis le Paléolithique moyen, les données de la technologie des matières dures d’origine animale (outils, armes, parures et art mobilier) montrent l’existence d’une variabilité plus importante. Mot-clés : Jura souabe ; Vallée d’Ach ; Gravettien ; Subsistance ; Technologie des matières dures d’origine animale

Introduction Some of the most important Palaeolithic sites in the Swabian Jura are situated in the Ach Valley, a tributary of the Danube. These are Geißenklösterle, Hohle Fels, Brillenhöhle, Sirgenstein and Große Grotte (Fig. 1). The research in this area started in 1870/71, when Oscar Fraas and Johannes Hartmann began excavations at Hohle Fels (Fraas 1872, Saier 1994). Thereafter, a long history of research conducted by the Institute of Pre- and Protohistory and Archaeology of the Middle Ages at the University of Tübingen started. In 1906, R. R. Schmidt, the founder of the Tübingen Institute, excavated Sirgenstein cave (Schmidt 1912). Several decades later, in the 1950s and 1960s archaeological work was continued by Gustav Riek in Brillenhöhle (Riek 1973) and Große Grotte (Wagner 1983, Weinstock 1999). During the last decades, the research focused on Geißenklösterle and Hohle Fels, with excavations in the 1970s, by Joachim Hahn, who

introduced modern excavation standards at these sites (Hahn 1977, 1988, Hahn & Waiblinger 1997). After Hahn's death, this multidisciplinary research continued under the direction of Nicholas Conard (e.g. Conard & Malina 2003, 2006). In this paper we will focus on the Gravettian layers of Geißenklösterle, Hohle Fels and Brillenhöhle, taking into account the analyses of the faunal assemblages of Geißenklösterle (Münzel 2004, in press, Münzel & Conard 2004a) and Hohle Fels (Münzel & Conard 2004b) and the recently finished doctoral thesis on bone and antler technology (Barth 2006, 2007). The research of Anne Scheer (1995) and Bettina Hiller (2002, 2003) on ivory working during the Gravettian in the Ach Valley will be cited. These three caves provide a unique situation for stone artefact refittings between these sites indicate that

* Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt, Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte, Richard Wagner Str. 9, 06114 Halle, Germany. [email protected] ** Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters, Abt. Ältere Urgeschichte und Quartärökologie, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Burgsteige 11, 72070 Tübingen, Germany. [email protected] *** Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters, Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie, Arbeitsbereich Archäozoologie, Rümelinstr.23, 72070 Tübingen, Germany. [email protected]


Martina M. BARTH, Nicholas J. CONARD, Susanne C. MüNZEL

Figure 1: Ach Valley. 1 – Sirgenstein; 2 – Hohle Fels; 3 – Geißenklösterle; 4 – Brillenhöhle; 5 – Große Grotte (after Conard & Bolus 2003).

they were occupied contemporaneously by one or several groups which were in close contact with each other (Scheer 1986, 1990, 1991, 1993, Moreau 2007). One of the main goals of the doctoral thesis was to determine whether this relationship could be recognized in the organic tool assemblages as well.

The Upper Aurignacian layer (AH II) follows next, which was dated by 14C AMS to 32-35,000 BP and with TL to ca. 37,000 BP (Richter et al. 2000). AH II has produced four carved ivory figurines depicting a therianthropic, a Mammoth, a Bear and a Bison and it is characterized by split-based bone points. A limestone pebble painted with three colors, as well as a large variety of ivory beads, and several artefacts of bone, antler and ivory, have been found (Hahn 1988, Conard & Bolus 2006). During the faunal analysis, fragments of two flutes made of bird bones were recovered. The more intact flute was manufactured from the radius of a swan (Hahn & Münzel 1995, Münzel et al. 2002). Recently an ivory flute was identified during the analysis of ivory pieces of the old excavations (Conard et al. 2004). Stratified below this is a Lower Aurignacian (AH III) deposit dated with 14C to 33-37,000 BP and with TL ca. 41,000 BP (Richter et al. 2000), which provided a fireplace and an ivory workshop (Christensen 1999, Liolios 1999).

Sites Geissenklösterle Geißenklösterle cave is part of a limestone massif, which rises 60 m above the valley bottom. The site has provided a stratigraphic sequence from the Magdalenian to the Middle Palaeolithic dated from 10,000 BP up to at least 43, 000 BP (Richter et al. 2000, Conard & Bolus 2003). A small fireplace and a small number of artefacts (14C AMS date ca. 13,000 BP) are the only evidence of a Magdalenian occupation in the cave. The following horizons document Gravettian occupations (AH I) with numerous 14C AMS dates between 27-30,000 BP. Numerous tear drop-like ivory pendants as well as tooth pendants of Cave Bear, Hyena, Wolf, Fox, Horse, Reindeer, Red Deer and Ibex are characteristic of this horizon.

A nearly sterile layer of 30 cm separates the Aurignacian from the uppermost Middle Palaeolithic layer suggesting that Neanderthals and modern Humans did not meet in this region (Conard et al. 2006). The faunal analysis of the whole sequence in Geißenklösterle was recently completed by S. Münzel (in press).


Palaeolithic subsistence and organic technology in the Swabian Jura

Hohle Fels Hohle Fels, two kilometers from Geißenklösterle, is one of the largest caves in the Swabian Jura. The Palaeolithic stratigraphy starts with Magdalenian (AH I), which is dated to around 13,000 BP, followed by three Gravettian horizons (AH IIb, IIc, IId) dated between 26-30,000 BP. One of the finds in the Gravettian layers is a retoucher made from a stone slap depicting a phallus (Conard & Malina 2005). AH III and IV provided rich archaeological materials from Aurignacian occupations. The deepest yet known layers provide Middle Palaeolithic artefacts. The ongoing excavations from 1997-2007 recovered a stone fragment decorated with red dotted lines from the Magdalenian (Conard & Floss 1999) as well as a small horse head, part of an ivory figurine, and ivory figurines of a waterfowl and a small lion-man (Löwenmensch) radicarbon-dated to 30-33,000 BP (Conard & Floss 2000). All Upper Palaeolithic layers contained rich stone artefact and organic assemblages and numerous personal ornaments made of ivory, animal teeth, molluscs and fossils. A new research project to analyse the faunal assemblage of Hohle Fels cave is in process (Münzel et al. 2007).

2004a, b). The quantitative composition of the fauna changes from Upper to Middle Palaeolithic layers. The abundance of Mammoth, Horse and Reindeer declines and the percentages of Cave Bear, Cervids, small ruminants, and middle-sized Carnivores increase from the Upper to the Middle Palaeolithic layers (Figs. 2 & 3). This is in part a taphonomic effect, since Neanderthals transported no faunal raw material for tool production into the caves like modern humans did during the Upper Palaeolithic. In cave sites, it is always difficult to distinguish between species of the so-called natural background fauna and human prey, but cut and impact marks on the bones provide proof of animals being exploited by humans for nutritional purposes (Fig. 4). Beside Cave Bear, which is the best represented species in nearly all the caves in the Swabian Jura, the most frequent game animals in the Gravettian layers are Mammoth, Horse and Reindeer. A few years ago, a Cave Bear vertebra with a projectile still sticking in the transversal process was found in one of the Gravettian layers of Hohle Fels. Thus Cave Bear does not belong exclusively to the natural background fauna, but was also hunted in the caves of the Ach Valley (Münzel & Conard 2004b).

Brillenhöhle The cave lies close to Blaubeuren, 80 meters above the valley bottom. Excavations were conducted by Gustav Riek from 1956-1963 (Riek 1973). Riek separated 22 layers starting with Iron, Bronze Age and Neolithic finds. The Palaeolithic layers consist of one Magdalenian (AH IV) and three Gravettian layers (AH V-VII), as well as a small Aurignacian event (AH XIV) with two bone points directly dated with 14C-AMS to 30-32,000 BP (Conard & Bolus 2006). The Gravettian layer VII was radiocarbon dated to >25,000 and 25 & >29.000 27-29.000 27.000


Large Hearth Small Hearths Small Hearths Large Hearth

Cut marks

Cut marks* Juvenile Mammoth Cut marks Mammoth Infants

Cut marks


Tooth Eruption, Oxygen Isotops


Hohle Fels

II c

30.000 28.000

Sirgenstein Sirgenstein


Fetal Horse




Fetal Horse


Hohle Fels









43.000 (ESR)




Fetal Horse & Foal

Large Hearth

& Projectile Mammoth Infants

Large Hearth

Large Hearth Small Hearth

Mammoth Infants Cut marks Mammoth Infants

Geißenklösterle GH 17

Cut marks

Geißenklösterle IV-VIII

Cut marks

Kogelstein Sirgenstein Große Grotte

Mammoth Infant

Cut mark VIII/VII II

Fetal Horse

Large Hearth 3 layers of burnt bone

* Cut mark on a penis bone (Riek 1973)

Figure 6: Ach Valley. Seasonal occupation during the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic.


Juvenile Mammoth

Martina M. BARTH, Nicholas J. CONARD, Susanne C. MüNZEL

as well as rib fragments in the category of unidentified bones in Mammoth- to Rhinoceros-size. At the same time these are the elements which were primarily used for tool production (Münzel 2005).

the Aurignacian period to the Gravettian and then again towards the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). In the period before and after the LGM (ca. 24-13,000 BP) there is a hiatus in human occupation as well as in the presence of game in the cave fauna of the Swabian Jura. Not even cave bears hibernated in the caves during this period (Fig. 6). While there is no large Mammoth bone assemblage in southern Germany during the Gravettian, some do exist in some Aurignacian sites. An excellent example for a large Aurignacian Mammoth assemblage is Vogelherd, a cave site in the neighbouring Lone Valley, of which the faunal assemblage was reanalyzed (Niven 2006). Consequently, a broad variety of tools and implements were manufactured from ivory during the Aurignacian, while ivory was almost exclusively used for jewellery in the Gravettian. Other prey animals, such as Reindeer, show similar patterns of selection among the skeletal elements. As Reindeer antler (Fig. 7: 3, 10, 14) and metatarsals (Fig. 7: 5 and probably 2, 15) predominate, they were chosen for tool production.There are very few antler bases in the archaeological material of the Gravettian horizons, but many worked antler pieces and flakes. Although the antlers are from fairly small animals, like in other cave sites in the Swabian Jura, they were valuable enough to be collected. At least one of the two antler adzes from Hohle Fels (Fig. 7: 10; Barth 2007) is manufactured from a large shed antler probably deriving from an adult male. As Reindeer bulls shed their antlers after the rutting season in autumn and since this season is not represented in the Palaeolithic occupations of the Ach Valley (cf. Fig. 5), either the finished adze or the male antler beam must have been brought from outside into the Ach Valley.

An interesting change in the use of Mammoth raw material within the Upper Palaeolithic is recognizable. During the Gravettian, Mammoth ribs were preferred for the production of bone points (Fig.7: 4, 6), which is a characteristic feature in the Gravettian layers of Geißenklösterle, Hohle Fels and Brillenhöhle. According to Heidi Knecht (1991), the distribution of these "Mammoth rib points" is temporally and regionally limited to Gravettian sites in South Germany. The raw material of these bone points is recognizable by rib spongiosa on one side of the tool and by the typical spongy structure of the compacta that Mammoth ribs and the bone points have in common (Münzel 2004). In the Aurignacian layer (AH II) at Geißenklösterle, there are mainly two groups of organic points. These include typical Aurignacian points with split bases. They are fairly small and made from Reindeer antler (Hahn 1988). A second group includes ivory points, of which at least one is up to 35 cm long (Münzel 2004). Obviously, Mammoth ribs were not favoured for these purposes during the Aurignacian, even if the splitting of ribs is a much easier task than the technically more complicated sectioning of tusks into segments and baguettes and the shaping of ivory points. Why did this change in the use of the raw material for long projectile points occur? Is it a change in cultural behaviour and/or weapon technology, or was it simply due to a shortage of ivory in the Gravettian or of Mammoth ribs in the Aurignacian respectively? Judging from the faunal analysis a shortage in either Mammoth ribs or ivory is unlikely. In all three Upper Palaeolithic layers as well as in the Middle Palaeolithic of Geißenklösterle remains of infant mammoths were found (Fig. 6), which at that very young age are still protected by their mothers or other adults of the herd. Hunting an infant Mammoth would have implied hunting of the mother. Thus ivory would have been available during the whole time of occupation in Geißenklösterle from at least 50,000 years ago until 27,000 BP. In this case, the shift in raw material from ivory in the Aurignacian to Mammoth ribs in the Gravettian is more likely a change in cultural behaviour and/or weapon technology than a shortage in either ivory or ribs. On the other hand, the presence of Mammoth in the Swabian Jura seems to diminish from

Organic tool assemblages The extensive Gravettian assemblages of bone and antler artefacts of the three cave sites Hohle Fels, Geißenklösterle and Brillenhöhle include projectile points, smoothing tools, awls and chisel-/wedge-like tools (Figs. 7 & 8; Barth 2007). Points are the most common tool category in the assemblages. Compared with the two other assemblages, the one of Hohle Fels is more variable containing rare tools like two adzes (one with an animal engraving, (Fig. 7: 10), two bâtons percés (Fig. 7: 3), one elongated triangular piece of antler (Fig. 7: 13; Barth 2006), one half moon-shaped piece of antler and a “toothpick”shaped piece of bone whose function is still unknown (Fig. 7: 13, 8, 2). Other rare tools from the Gravettian include


Palaeolithic subsistence and organic technology in the Swabian Jura

Figure 7: Gravettian of Ach Valley. 1 – smoothing tool of bone; 2,8 & 13 – unidentified antler tools; 3 – baton of antler; 4 & 6 – bone point; 5 – waste of awl production; 7 – ivory baton; 9, 11 & 12 – ivory pendants; 10 – decorated antler adze; 14 – antler sleeve; 15 – bone awl. 1-4, 8-12, 13 – Hohle Fels; 5, 6, 14 – Geißenklösterle; 7, 15 – Brillenhöhle. After Barth 2007 (1), Conard & Bolus 2003 (3), Conard & Moreau 2006 (4), Conard & Uerpmann 1999 (9, 11, 12), Hahn et al. 1985 (5, 14), Riek 1973 (7, 15), Scheer 1989 (6), Scheer 1994 (10).

one probable antler shafting from Geißenklösterle (Fig. 7: 14) and one retoucher of a Horse metapode and an ivory bâton percé from Brillenhöhle (Fig. 7, 7).

points do (Knecht 1991), but their mechanical properties (hardness and brittleness) are less suitable than for antler and ivory. Therefore we rather suspect that raw material limitations might have forced Gravettian hunters to use Mammoth ribs instead of antler or ivory for projectile points. The use of ivory during the Gravettian therefore concentrated more on the production of jewellery (Fig. 7: 9, 10, 12), with only a few exceptional ivory tools like two ivory points (Conard & Malina 2006) and two wedges (Hiller 2003) from Hohle Fels and the ivory baton from Brillenhöhle (Fig. 7: 7). The awls are exclusively made of Reindeer metatarsals, which is an ideal raw material for this tool type. Bone is a very hard material and suitable to

Cultural versus opportunistic choices During the Gravettian, projectile points, smoothers and chisel-/wedge-like tools were mainly produced from Mammoth ribs, and sometimes from Horse ribs. Mammoth ribs are of considerable size and the compacta is thick enough to produce large projectile points. Shooting experiments demonstrate that bone points penetrate a carcass as deeply as antler or ivory 13

Martina M. BARTH, Nicholas J. CONARD, Susanne C. MüNZEL

Identification Waste products (bone) Waste products (antler) Points Smoothers Antler adzes Chisel-/wedge-like tools Batôns percées Awls Retouchers Unidentified tools Unidentified artefacts Total

HF nisp (%) 23 (13 %) 32 (19 %) 53 (30 %) 10 (6 %) 2 (1 %) 7 (4 %) 1 (1 %) 4 (4 %) 21 (12 %) 19 (10 %) 172 (48 %)

GK nisp (%) 15 (13 %) 17 (15 %) 44 (39 %) 1 (1 %) 7 (6 %) 7 (6 %) 2 (2 %) 1 (1 %) 20 (17 %) 114 (32 %)

BH nisp (%) 4 (6 %) 39 (55 %) 2 (3 %) 5 (7 %) 1 (1 %) 2 (3 %) 1 (1 %) 10 (14 %) 7 (10 %) 71 (20 %)

Total nisp (%) 32 (9 %) 49 (14 %) 136 (38 %) 13 (4 %) 2 (1 %) 19 (5 %) 2 (1 %) 13 (4 %) 3 (1 %) 32 (9 %) 46 (14 %) 357 (100 %)

Figure 8: Ach Valley. Percentages of the different bone and antler tool categories in the assemblages of Hohle Fels (HF), Geißenklösterle (GK) and Brillenhöhle (BH).

create sharp edges and points. However, the exclusive use of Reindeer metatarsals points certainly to cultural choices in this case. In contrast to other bones, e.g. long bones, antler provides greater elasticity and improves power of resistance (Albrecht 1977). Consequently, Reindeer antler was used for long-living and heavily strained tools such as adzes, batons and shafts.

Mammoth ribs and their straightness might have been an important pre-requisite for the production of points. Some projectile points even show evidence of reshaping the tip by scraping (Fig. 7: 6, 9), but there is also proof of another reshaping technique in the assemblages of Hohle Fels und Geißenklösterle. Some objects were shaped by raclage en diabolo, which could be recognized in the Swabian sites for the first time (Fig. 10; Barth 2007). In the Gravettian, it was used as a technique of débitage, as well as a technique of repairing broken projectile points (Goutas 2004). To manufacture smoothing tools, the ribs were split into halves and scraped along the edges to bring them into shape. In contrast to projectile points and smoothing tools the production of chisel-/wedge-like tools is simple. After splitting of the ribs, they were simply used without further working. Mammoth ivory1 was processed regularly on-site in all three caves of the Ach Valley. Bettina Hiller (2002 & 2003) proved that ivory tusks were mainly reduced by smashing, as indicated by irregular debris. Bidirectional reduction of parts of the tusk was also practiced. After the débitage, the tools were shaped by scraping the surface, e.g. a wedge was scraped on both sides or projectile points were shaped by scraping (Hiller 2002 & 2003). The production sequence for ivory pendants was described by Anne Scheer (1995). Most of the pendants were produced using the outer part of Mammoth tusks. Only two pendants derive

Production sequences Several different techniques were used to produce organic tools. The technique of reduction depends heavily on the anatomical features of the raw material in question. During the Gravettian, Mammoth ribs were processed on-site in a standardized fashion (Fig. 9). First they were notched along the edges on both sides to facilitate splitting (Münzel 2004). Afterwards, the ribs were either used as chisel-/wedge-like tools or manufactured into points or smoothing tools. To manufacture the points, the split rib halves were planed along the edges and smoothed on both sides until they developed a typical circular, oval or rectangular cross-section. At Geißenklösterle and Hohle Fels, all stages of this production sequence are well documented on site. Bone points from Brillenhöhle show the same manufacturing pattern (Riek 1973). The length of

Since ivory was not subject of Martina Barth’s dissertation it is not included in the chaîne opératoire (Fig. 6) but the work of Anne Scheer and Bettina Hiller is cited. 1


Palaeolithic subsistence and organic technology in the Swabian Jura


Hunting / Collecting

Raw material


Longitudinal grooving / splitting









Groove & splinter technique













Projectile points

Smoothing tools




Chisel / wedge-like tools

Projectile points, chisel /wedge-like tools, unident. tools, batons


Figure 9: Ach Valley. Production sequence of Gravettian bone and antler tools.

Figure 10: Hohle Fels. A small bone point with the base shaped by raclage en diabolo (Barth 2007).


Martina M. BARTH, Nicholas J. CONARD, Susanne C. MüNZEL

from the centre of the tusk. There are two techniques to produce ivory beads or pendants (Fig. 11). Single pendants were produced by carving and scraping an ivory flake into shape. For serial production long splinters with an oval cross-section served as blanks. The blanks were shaped by scraping and smoothing; then they could be notched in regular intervals. At the position of the hole, the pendant was thinned from both sides by scraping. Thereafter the hole was pierced by rotating movements and the pendant was further carved, scraped and polished into the shape of tear drops, perhaps imitating canines of Red Deer. A complex chaîne opératoire is needed for the manufacturing of awls (cf. Fig. 9). Only Reindeer metatarsals were used for this tool. The metatarsals were divided by longitudinal grooves and split to produce blanks. The produced blanks were then shaped by scraping. There are many waste products in the assemblages, which demonstrate the production of awls on-site (Fig. 7: 5). During the use of the awls, the tip was sometimes reshaped by additional scraping (Fig. 7: 15). The on-site production of antler tools in the assemblages is not proven. There was antler débitage at the sites but no waste products, which specifically testify the manufacturing of adzes, batons and other antler tools. The only exceptions are a few antler fragments with grooves which implicate that groove and splinter techniques were used but the finished products have not been recovered. In summary, mainly finished antler tools were brought into the caves and very little on-site production of antler tools is recorded.

Figure 11: Ach Valley. Production sequence of Gravettian teardrop-shaped ivory pendants (after Scheer 1995).

and ivory were processed on-site although with different intensity. Bone was used to produce mainly projectile points, smoothers and awls. Ivory served primarily as raw material for pendants and beads. Antler was utilised for heavy duty tools, such as adzes and batons, and for special tools whose function is yet unknown. But there is no evidence so far for the production of these antler tools in the caves. The choice of raw material shows that the inhabitants of the Swabian Jura had a profound knowledge of the properties of the available raw materials. Although there is a restriction to distinct skeletal elements for specific tool types of only two game species (Reindeer metatarsals for awls, Mammoth ribs for projectile points), the Gravettian people show opportunistic behaviour in some aspects of raw material usage as well as culturally derived

Conclusions Three main game species (Mammoth, Reindeer and Horse) provided the majority of raw material for the organic tool production (cf. Fig. 5). Bones of other species (Hare, Wolf, Lion, Ibex and Chamois) just wear cut and/or impact marks, but there is no evidence of tool production so far. The third group includes rare species (Brown Bear, Hyaena and Red Deer), whose very few bones of the postcranium are present and human exploitation is documented only by using teeth as personal ornaments. The analysis of the bone industry of the three caves (Hohle Fels, Geißenklösterle and Brillenhöhle) provided evidence that, during the Gravettian, bone, antler


Palaeolithic subsistence and organic technology in the Swabian Jura

choices. While the choice of Mammoth ribs for projectile points might be an opportunistic reaction due to shortages in antler and/or ivory, the choice of Reindeer metatarsals for awls was more likely a cultural choice of the Gravettian hunter-gatherers in the Ach Valley, since other skeletal parts of Reindeer and suitable bones of other game animals would have been available. This is very characteristic for the sites in the Ach Valley and suggests a very close relationship between them. The scenario presented by the refitted stone artefacts (Scheer 1986, 1990, 1991, 1993, Moreau 2007) is strengthened by these results of the organic tool analysis. The raw material spectrum and the similar inventory and typology of the organic tool assemblages and the exclusive use of Mammoth rib for projectile points in this region support this assumption.

AcKnowledgements Many thanks are due to our collaborators in the research in Swabia including Susanne Feine, Harald Floss, Paul Goldberg, Piet Grootes, Michael Hofreiter, Petra Kieselbach, Luc Moreau, Solveig Schigl and Hans-Peter Uerpmann. Many students and the staff of the Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, especially Kurt Langguth and Maria Malina, have made major contributions to the excavations at Hohle Fels and Geißenklösterle. This work has been funded through the generous support of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Landesdenkmalamt Baden-Württemberg, the Gesellschaft für Urgeschichte, the Museumsgesellschaft Schelklingen, and the Heidelberger Cement Company. Thanks are due to Ralf Ehmann and Susanne Feine for producing many of the figures and illustrations. We are indebted to Laure Fontana for translating the abstract.

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Aurignacian animal exploitation at Solutré (Saône-et-Loire, France) Céline BéMILLI* & Grégory BAYLE** Abstract The creation of an archaeological park at the site of Solutré required a rescue operation in 2004 and two Aurignacian layers were discovered (Connet et al. 2005). The richest one (layer 2, presented here) yielded several thousands of large mammals remains very well preserved; Horse and Reindeer are the two main species. The presence of nearly complete skeletons indicates that the animals were transported to, prepared at, and probably, consumed at the site (or into close vicinity). Foetal bones and deciduous teethwould indicate that hunting took place at several occasions during the year, though more often, at the end of autumn. That is why it is possible to assume that the site was occupied on several occasions, and that the duration of each occupation lasted several weeks to several months. The zooarchaeological analysis provides some evidence of bone industry (smoother, burnishers and retouching tools), bone and ivory ornaments, as well as a minimal exploitation of Reindeer antler. These objects demonstrate distinct functions or uses and yield various information about the activities that may have occurred at the site. This article also examines the Aurignacian exploitation of the two main species (i.e. Horse and Reindeer) and investigates the interpretation of a bone assemblage, minimally distorted by differential preservation. Key Words: Aurignacian; Zooarchaeology; Horse; Reindeer; Subsistence pattern; Animal exploitation Résumé - L’exploitation des ressources animales durant l’Aurignacien à Solutré (Saône-et-Loire, France) Le projet d´aménagement du site de Solutré en parc archéologique a engendré une opération de sauvetage au printemps 2004 (Connet et al. 2005). La fouille a permis de mettre au jour deux couches aurignaciennes dont le niveau le plus riche (couche 2) est présenté ici. Plusieurs milliers de restes très bien conservés de grands mammifères y ont été découverts, les deux principales espèces étant le Cheval et le Renne. La présence de toutes les parties squelettiques, sans sous-représentation significative, témoigne que les animaux ont été chassés, préparés et probablement consommés sur place ou dans une zone très proche de la surface fouillée. Les indices de saisonnalité (os de foetus et dents lactéales) témoigneraient d’abattages à plusieurs moments de l´année, plus particulièrement à la fin de l´automne, ce qui rend envisageable des occupations à plusieurs reprises lors de séjours allant de quelques semaines à plusieurs mois. Lors de l´analyse archéozoologique, certains éléments d´industrie en matière dure animale (lissoir, brunissoir et retouchoirs en os ; parure en os et en ivoire) ont été identifiés, contrastant avec la rareté des fragments de bois de renne (néanmoins exploités). La nature de ces objets témoigne d´utilisations ou de fonctions distinctes et apporte des informations supplémentaires quant aux activités qui se sont déroulées sur le site. Ils mettent en lumière une exploitation globale de l´animal et pose certaines questions relatives à la nature et à la fonction du site. Cette présentation est l´occasion d’exposer la nature de l’exploitation des deux espèces principales par les Aurignaciens et d´évoquer les questions d´interprétation et de représentativité d´un assemblage osseux faiblement altéré par les phénomènes de conservation différentielle. Mots Clés : Aurignacien ; Archéozoologie ; Cheval ; Renne ; Comportements de subsistance ; Exploitation de l’animal

Introduction levels to light (Combier & Montet-White 2002). Thus, the occupation sequence is documented from the Mousterian to the Magdalenian periods. Moreover, the main levels are Aurignacian and Magdalenian. Many hypotheses have been put forward on the matter of big Horse accumulation. The best known hypothesis derives from a novel by Mr Arcelin in which Horse herds were pursued by hunters up to the edge of the cliff and forced to jump (Poplin 1990). This interpretation has remained very widespread up to now,

The French Site of Solutré is located in Sâoneet-Loire, near the town of Mâcon (Fig. 1). It was discovered in the middle of the XIXth century by H. de Ferry, who excavated it with A. Arcelin during many years. Solutré was chosen as the eponymous site of the Solutrean culture, characterized by large bifacially retouched blades. Excavations conducted between 1968 and 1998 under the direction of Jean Combier and Anta Montet-White brought several Upper Palaeolithic

* INRAP and CNRS-UMR 5197, Muséum National d’histoire naturelle, UMS 303 CP 55, 55 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, Fance. [email protected] **INRAP and CNRS-UMR 5198, Muséum National d’histoire naturelle, IPH. 1, rue Panhard, 75005 Paris, France. [email protected]


Céline BéMILLI & Grégory BAYLE




the base of this level (cf. supra). Associated to the lithic and faunal remains were a few elements of bone industry and ornament. Consequently, it is allowed that animal exploitation at the site was focused exclusively on food procurement.

Context of the faunal remains m NGF 2000 1000 500 200 0

Figure 1: Site location

yet it is based on unaccurate evidence. First, the “Horse magma” is too far from the bottom of the cliff as it would be expected and, second, zooarchaeological studies showed that the bones did not present any of the typical fractures they were expected after such a fall (Olsen 1989, Turner 2002). The project of building an archaeological park around the Site’s Museum led to a rescue excavation during the Spring of 2004 under the direction of Nelly Connet (Connet et al. 2004). This excavation concerned two Aurignacian levels. We shall present here the faunal analysis of the oldest and richest one (layer 2). Out of a surface of area 70 square meters affected by the future buildings, only 15 m² of archaeological surface were preserved (Fig. 2), due to the numerous former trenches dug and the presence of a filling pit. The deposit was homogeneous and constituted of little gravels and limestone slabs embeddeding brown sandy clay (Fig. 3). An ashy layer appeared at the bottom of thar level. It could correspond to layer 6 of Combier’s excavations area M12. The original soil in this part of the site is sloping and presents some undulations.This undulating topography may have affected the dynamics of the archaeological deposit by slightly trapping the bones into these small depressions. Layer 2 yielded 695 lithic artefacts and more than 40,000 faunal remains; Since most of them are very small, only 3594 fragments were identified. No hearth was recognized, but a burnt layer was identified at

Nearly 7,000 bone fragments were recorded. All the sediments were sieved so that the smallest fragments were collected, but not counted. For that reason, the real number of the very small fragments is unknown but their number was estimated to more than 40,000 and 9% are burnt. The bones are very well preserved, as indicated by the presence of hyoid, breast and foetus bones. No superficial modifications due to weathering are present while, in contrast, frequent alteration due to percolation is observed. Traces of concretion are few as are root-etching (1,63% NISP), carnivore gnawing and digestive corrosion marks (0,34% NISP). On the other hand, in situ bone fragmentation is very important, which is due to the falling of stones (some bones were observed encrusted with little pebbles), and it has been distinguished from human action. We observed some bones in anatomical connection, which points out a limited movement of the remains after deposition. However, all taphonomic data suggest that the bones were covered very quickly after deposition. Such a taphonomic analysis allowed us to carry out a reliable study of the faunal assemblage.

Composition and origin of the assemblage The faunal assemblage is composed of several species of large and small mammals, birds and fish (Fig. 4). Only the larger mammals are described in this article. A total of 3,594 remains have been identified, belonging to Horse (Equus ferus 62,8% NISP), Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus 34,5% NISP), Wolf (Canis lupus 0,3% NISP), Fox (Vulpes vulpes or Alopex lagopus 0,4% NISP), Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius 0,8% only documented by ivory), Hare (Lepus sp. 1% NISP), Marmot (Marmota marmota 0,03% NISP). Birds and fish are rare. Distinguishing between Red and Arctic Foxes and between Brown and Arctic Hares was not possible, but the presence of Reindeer and European Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus citellus) indicates a cold climate (Niclot in Connet et al. 2005). The assemblage can not result from Carnivore activity since both Carnivore remains (0,7% NISP; Fig. 5) and Carnivore gnawing, punctures and


Céline BéMILLI & Grégory BAYLE

Horse Reindeer Wolf Fox sp. Mammoth Hare sp. Marmot Bird Fish

NISP % NISP MNIf % NMIf MNIc 2257 62,1 18 52,9 29 1241 34,2 10 29,4 12 10 0,3 1 2,9 1 15 0,4 2 5,9 2 27 0,7 1 2,9 1 35 1,0 1 2,9 1 1 0,03 1 2,9 1 4 0,1 . . 4 0,1 . .

Equus ferus Rangifer tarandus Canis lupus Vulpes/Alopex Mammuthus primigenius Lepus europaeus? Marmota marmota Aves

Tot Det.


Unidentified Smallest fragments *

3274 41020

Total NISP





Figure 4: Solutré, 2004, Layer 2. Counts of the faunal remains (*NISP estimated)

Reindeer 34,5% Wolf 0,3% Fox 0,4%

0, 7% NISP

Mammoth 0,8%


Hare 1,0% Marmot 0,0% Bird 0,1% Fish 0,1%

Horse 62,8%

Figure 5: Solutré, 2004. Part of Carnivores in the faunal assemblage (N=3,594)

digestive corrosion are rare (0,35% NISP) in the faunal assemblage, as are complete bones. Finally, according to the criteria of Bunn (1986), Blumenschine and Marean (1993), the rate of bone-shaft is high compared to the articulation (65,8% for Horse and 3% for Reindeer).

All these observations lead to conclude that Carnivores are not responsible for the deposit. On the contrary, humans are the only responsible agent for the faunal deposit, even if the number of cut-marks is low (2% for Horse and 3% for Reindeer).


Aurignacian animal exploitation at Solutré (Saône-et-Loire, France)

Horse remains A number of 2,257 Horse (Equus ferus) remains were recovered, which account for 62,8% of the total of identified bones (Fig. 4). The few anatomical connections concern mostly the end of limbs. Horse bones were not systematically broken. All the skeletal parts are represented, even the more fragile as hyoid bones (Fig. 6). The % survivorship value plot against the density value (Lam et al. 1999) of each skeletal part gives a positive but non significant correlation coefficient (r=0,2099, ddl=21). Thus the representation of skeletal parts can be interpreted in terms of human behaviour rather than taphonomic processes. Horses were killed and prepared at the site or close-by. Two facts seem to amerge: the low rate of cervical vertebrae and the low rate of the humeri and femuri, the two richest bones. These two parts may have been prepared differently or somewhere else at the site. A number of 45 cutmarks were recorded during the preliminary analysis and correspond to the different steps of butchering: skinning, disarticulation and defleshing, marrow extraction (well

documented on the long bones, even if not systematic). It seems that Aurignacians dismembered the carcass as much as possible (the majority of cutmarks are disarticulation marks) in order to preserve the bones carrying the most important muscular mass (humerus versus femur). They not only took the flesh but they also used some Horse bones as tools, as it is illustrated by several retouching tools made on bone shaft fragments, and a smoother made on a rib. The higher post-cranial MNIf (18) was obtained on the talus but the comparison of the different ages (MNIc) allows estimating a minimum of 29 horses. The age of these animals (Fig. 7) was estimated according to eruption (Cornevin & Lesbre 1894, Guadelli 1998, the collections of National Museum of Natural History in Paris) and wear patterns (Levine 1982, Bignon 2003) and also owing to the presence of foetus bones (Habermehl 1975). Thus several young individuals of different ages

skinning disarticulation defleshing % survivorship 0% 1 - 10 % 11 - 35 % 36 - 60 % > 60 % Figure 6: Solutré, 2004. Horse survivorship and exploitation (NISP = 2,257)


Céline BéMILLI & Grégory BAYLE

are documented (Fig. 8). Eight Horse foetus bones are present, corresponding to two animals. One is 20 to 23 weeks old and the other is 23 to 26 weeks old, which suggest that the mother was hunted between October and December. Such observations on Horse ages show that the animals were killed all year round, more frequently at the end of autumn and during winter. The site was occupied at the end of spring and the beginning of summer as well at the end of autumn and the beginning of winter (Fig. 9). The population is composed of adult females and young individuals: the only male is a young horse.

Reindeer remains Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) is documented by 1,241 remains (34,5% NISP). All skeletal parts are present except the second cervical vertebrae; Absence certainly due to the disarticulation process (Fig. 10). The metacarpal is weakly represented, probably because of its high degree of fragmentation. Antlers are also weakly represented in terms of survivorship (even if we count 77 little fragments). 38 Reindeer remains wear some cut-marks which document every step of carcass preparation (skinning, disarticulation, defleshing and marrow extraction) (cf. Fig. 10), as in the

5 4 3 2 1 0 0/2




Figure 7: Solutré, 2004. Ages of death of horses (MNI= 29)

Skeletal part Lat. Age Species d2 & d3 Horse L ≈ 20 months Horse d2, d3 & d4 L 7/10 months Horse d2, d3 & d4 R 12/17 months Horse d2, d3 & d4 L 6/9 months d3 & d4 Horse R 5/9 months Horse d2, d3, d4, M1 & M2 23/26 months Horse d2 R ≈ 7 months Horse d2 R ≈ 14 months Horse femur R 20/23 weeks Horse femur L fœtus Horse humerus l 23/25 weeks Horse metapodial 3 ? 23/25 weeks Horse radius R 20/23 weeks Horse tibia l fœtus Horse calcaneum l fœtus Horse metapodial 3 ? fœtus Horse incisive 1 ? 60 % Figure 10: Solutré, 2004. Reindeer survivorship and exploitation (NISP = 2257)




















n Wint m



Aurignacian animal exploitation at Solutré (Saône-et-Loire, France)

Céline BéMILLI & Grégory BAYLE

case of horses. Finally, some Reindeer bone-shaft fragments were used as retouching tools and a burnisher was made on antler. A minimal number of 10 animals was estimated (using the talus) and the combination of the different ages gives a number of 12 reindeers (MNIc, Bouchud 1966). The death profile does not show any particular selection within the herd, but reflects a catastrophic profile (Fig. 11) even if the number of animals is too low to make a statistically reliable curve. There are, inside this population, at least four males, according to the presence of canines. Precision of the death season 2,5 2 1,5 1 0,5 0

0-1 1-2,5


could be obtained thanks to the presence of foetus bones (Spiess 1979), which permitted to identify some gravid females killed between February and March, while the age of the young animals indicates a death at different moments of the year (Fig. 12): seven in autumn/winter, two between summer and autumn and one during summer. In conclusion, the different observations on seasonality obtained from Reindeer remains indicate an occupation in autumn and mostly in winter. The presence of two female antlers and no male antler fits in with this hypothesis.



Figure 11: Solutré, 2004. Ages of death of reindeers (MNI= 12)

Species Skeletal part Reindeer d3 & d4 Reindeer d4 Reindeer d3 Reindeer d3 Reindeer d2 Reindeer d4 Reindeer P4 Reindeer M3 Reindeer d3 or d4 Reindeer d3 or d4 Reindeer femur Reindeer radius Reindeer femur Reindeer radius

Lat. R R R L R L R R R R R L R L

Age 4/5 months 7/8 months 7/8 months 7/8 months 541




Pit M

Pit G 3p1







Bone MNI

not quantified >996








Figure 18: Charts of Red Deer remain numbers and skeletal parts present in the Mesolithic levels: Classic Montclusian (units G3p1 and G3) and Early Montclusian (units M and C2) at Clos de Poujol. Red Deer skeleton drawing» by C. Beauval ( (CAD E. David).


Matter and Material: Red Deer antler exploitation during the Mesolithic at Clos de Poujol (Aveyron, France)

Due to the very small size of the samples considered (only a few items per assemblage), it appears difficult to interpret the representation of skeletal parts in terms of patterns of animal transport onto the site, treatment and consumption. The rare fragments identified are remains of lumbar vertebra, rib, metapodial, phalanx, sesamoid bone, and lower and upper teeth (Fig. 18). At the most we may observe that some low bulk parts (limb extremities, head) as well as some bulky parts (lumbar vertebrae) were brought onto the site. The bone analysis does not allow to assess the season of Red Deer hunting. We may however propose that antlers were preferentially collected not long after the period of antler casting, at the end of winter or in the spring, in order to obtain a material in an optimal state of freshness and/or preservation4. If the collecting was indeed practiced during this period, at the time of or soon before the occupation of the site, hunters were then able to kill either stags in a cast antler stage or hinds. At this time of the year, Roe Deer antlers have grown anew and start to loose their velvet (i.e. the few fragments of Roe Deer antler identified in the assemblages).

Conclusion During the Sauveterrian Mesolithic at Clos de Poujol, Red Deer was introduced in two forms resulting from two different procurement patterns (Fig. 19): - Antlers were collected at the end of winter or in the spring and brought onto the site as a whole or partially pruned off in order to be knapped and worked. To identify which parts of these antlers were preferentially worked and used was not achievable here. We focused on the antler tine tips because they are the parts easiest to identify and are thus reliable for a quantitative approach compared to the bulk of heavily fractured antler remains. Part of the antlers worked at the site (such as matrices) may have been taken away at the end of the occupation. In that case, it would imply a circulation of the «antler» material within a wider network of sites. It is not excluded that the part introduced onto sites may not be exclusively the product of a collecting practiced during the occupation of the site (as emphasised by Fontana et al. 2007: 121; see above). It is thus really difficult to assess what was transformed at a site from what was intended to be transformed somewhere else. It is nevertheless one of the keys to any site characterisation (ibid.: 127). Moreover, certain unused antler parts were rejected into the fire, thus becoming part of the fuel and


Collecting shed antler pruned off before transport?


of males in an unshed stage and/or females

other sites?



before transport?

Consumption waste




Figure 19: Restitution of the Red Deer exploitation process during the Sauveterrian at Clos de Poujol documenting two distinct types of procurement (collect of shed antler and animal hunting) carried out at the end of winter and/or the beginning of spring (CAD E. David). 4

D. Ramseyer (2005: 191-192) put forward a similar hypothesis for the collecting of shed antler in the Neolithic of western Switzerland.



part of the burnt by-products, before being cleared away in pits. If the experiment we carried out shows that a hearth fed with Cervid antler lasts twice as long and is almost twice as calorific as one fed exclusively with vegetal wood (see Fig. 10), it is not enough to assume the use of antler as fuel. The fact that portions of antlers, broken tools, as well as bones of big and small game, without any specific selection of skeletal parts, were thrown in hearths and are later found scattered over the whole site suggests that osseous materials were not chosen at first for their calorific properties but rather became in fine part of the fuel. Osseous fuel appears to be of second intention, that is as a potentially flammable element thrown in hearths without being initially selected for that purpose. One can notice that firing has allowed here the preservation of the antler material, thus enhancing the archaeological visibility of its exploitation. - Regarding the animals themselves, some young hinds or stags in a cast antler stage were probably hunted near the site and then brought back to it. The likely (but not demonstrated) consumption of these animals was doubtless the main goal of their exploitation. As no bone débitage waste has been identified in the assemblages, one can assume that no bone tool manufacturing was carried out at the site. The bone tools discarded at the site were introduced onto the site already manufactured. The hypothesis we put forward for this site is that of two types of Red Deer procurement: cast antler collecting and animal hunting could be partially embedded through time, that is practiced at the same season and maybe within the same exploitation territory. Yet the supply of Red Deer and Cervid antlers takes place within a wider procurement system, which includes in particular a wide range of animal species (within which Wild Boar prevails) and a variety of lithic raw materials. The idea sometimes put forward for the Sauveterrian techno-economic system is twofold: a relative detachment from the constraints of lithic production and a focus on the acquisition and exploitation of animal materials (Philibert 2002: 163-165). At Clos de Poujol, as it is often the case in the Mesolithic, the supply in lithic raw materials is mainly local. The lithic assemblages are indeed dominated by two types of siliceous rocks present at a distance of less than five kilometres from the site, which may correspond to their territory of local

resource supply (see Geneste 1985, Perlès 1992). However the presence of other lithic resources (siltites and jasperlike rocks) bears witness to the transport of rocks from more distant regional contexts (10-40 km). Thus the diversity of raw materials (including pebbles and shells) moved around in the landscape and modified at the site raises questions about the patterns of mobility and exploitation regarding varied environments, such as the Causses of low mountain range (local), the riverine environments (local), and the volcanic high plateaus (regional). How were then the objectives of animal resource acquisition and the constraints of mobility at the spatio-temporal scale articulated? The characterisation of sites and of the annual cycle of activities (Bridault & Chaix 1999, Fontana 2005, Philibert 2002) may provide essential pieces to the jigsaw puzzle. It is not certain that the ongoing studies carried out about the site of Clos de Poujol will allow to answer all of these questions… However, the analysis presented here emphasises the need of questioning regarding procurement patterns and the status of various resources stemming from the same animal species. One can wonder if the kind of Red Deer procurement documented at this site is representative of a general pattern that prevailed during the Mesolithic in western Europe. Or do we have to expect a reverse pattern during other seasons? It also underlines the necessity of examining how procurements of various resources are articulated in space (territories covered and exploited) and time (at the seasonal scale and at the scale of the annual cycle of resource exploitation).

Acknowledgements We deeply thank Laure Fontana for her proof-reading of the text and for her informed criticisms, as well as François-Xavier Chauvière for his relevant comment. We sincerely thank Christophe Delage for his help in the translation of our paper. Thanks also to Professor Dr. Horst Kierdorf for his answers to our very precise questions on the histology of Cervid antler in connection to the fracturation of pieces at Clos de Poujol. All our thanks to the Center of Experimental Research in Lejre (Denmark) and more particularly to Inger Hildebrandt and Jocob Fredsted for their help in the experiments of combustion led by E. David (2006). Finally, thanks to Kim Aaris-SØrensen, Professor at the Zoology Museum of Copenhagen for his reception and for granting us access to the collections.


Matter and Material: Red Deer antler exploitation during the Mesolithic at Clos de Poujol (Aveyron, France)

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