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For any questions please feel free to contact us! Add my Store to your Favourites and receive my email newsletters about new items and special promotions! Ask Seller A Question. This large, deeply stratified cave allowed the team to apply cutting-edge techniques of excavation, recording, and multidisciplinary analysis in the meticulous study of a site that has become a new reference sequence for the classic Cantabrian region. The excavations uncovered the long history of human occupation of the cave, extending from the end of the Middle Paleolithic, through the Upper Paleolithic, up to the modern era.

This volume comprehensively describes the background information on the setting, the site, the chronology, and the sedimentology. This allows archaeologists to reconstruct living floors. Burnt bone concentrations within the three sublevels analysed here cluster differently, while showing some degree of spatial overlap. High concentrations of burned bones are found in the lower sublevel The small refuse burnt bone distribution varies between sublevels 15, Amounts of burnt bone remains constant in the northeastern edge of the excavation areas square J4 , which may be associated with a hearth.

The spatial distribution of individually plotted larger bones with impact marks and small bone chips from GB show different concentration marked in red; Fig. In the lower sublevel, In sublevel 15, bones with impacts marks were found in squares H3 and H4 as well as in the southeastern edge of the excavation area square J2. Bone flakes and chips from GB show a different spatial pattering. The superimposed sublevel Within the sublevels analysed here the bone flakes concentrations and bones with impact-marks coincide in some areas. In sublevel 15, no overlap was detected.

The two components, impact marks on bones and bone flakes or chips, are combined to achieve the distribution of bone working areas contributing to marrow extracting or grease rendering activities. Individual faunal remains with impact marks are plotted individually. Based on the counts of bone flakes the subsquares were colour coded according to low and high densities, from blue to red respectively. Particularly, good bone preservation indicates little post-depositional disturbance. The existence of young animal remains very porous, spongy, tiny bones demonstrate quite limited non-cultural formation processes.

Additionally, cultural formation processes can be used to enhance interpretations of human behaviour. Due to the problems archeologists face when attempting analysis of very thick cave deposits the palimpsest problem , spatial distribution analysis can simplify the data, enabling one to recognize spatial patterns among archaeological find categories that are not visible with the naked eye.

This paper analysed general point patterns using kernel density and created heatmaps to show clustering of individual finds. The faunal distributions in levels 15 and 16 inside the Cabin area are not homogeneous. The excavation area represents a spatial heterogeneity, because the southern excavation border is the cave wall. Due to accumulation principles, items do cluster along vertical borders Harris This might be the reason for accumulation clusters along the southern squares, but does not explain varied point intensities in other areas.

Low point intensities next to hot spots are visible along the western and eastern excavation borders. In any event, these patterns do not affect the question addressed here concerning general bone distribution by ungulate species. Our results explored whether the two most hunted animal species, red deer and ibex, overlapped in their spatial distribution patterns Fig.

Introduction

Their almost complete coincidence implies that both species with similar anatomies but moderately different average sizes were butchered, exploited and discarded in the same way and therefore suggests a uniformity of accumulation processes. There exists a spatial sorting of the bone types: A hearth was presumably located around square J4. A bone processing area around square J3 appears to have played a central role in the organization of reconstructed activities. The spatial data of the faunal remains permits archaeologists to identify activity areas, comparable to ethnographic examples of disposal modes in bone assemblages Bartram et al.

The distribution of small burnt bones concentrates around square J4. The spatial patterning of burned remains may indicate the location of a hearth in the northeast of the excavation area. The bones were possibly used to fuel the fires at the site. Spongy, cancellous bones are better fuel, while dense long bone shaft fragments are unsuitable as fuel, given that they do not burn reliably Bosch et al. Intentional bone cracking activity areas have been identified in square J3, in both sublevels Bones were deliberately fragmented, probably in the course of marrow extraction and preparation for grease rendering activities Janzen et al.

Three criteria are necessary for the identification of bone grease rendering at prehistoric sites: A drop zone around 1m in radius , located on the peripheries of the working zone in square J3 was determined, based on larger bone leftovers with impact marks. The working area was possibly a central locus of bone processing activity close to the fireplace and the dropping zone. Along the surroundings of the bone-processing zone, within a two meter radius, the high density of long bone items decreases and mostly teeth and other bone types such as short or irregular bones are represented.

The area may be interpreted as a walking corridor as it contains fewer long bone fragments squares I2, I3 and I4 and a working zone. Further away at more than a 2 m radius from the working zone, a dense accumulation of faunal material with anthropogenic modifications is interpreted as a toss zone squares H2, H3 and H4.

El Mirón Cave, Cantabrian Spain : the site and its Holocene archaeological record

In subsquare H3-A across sublevel Ethnographical comparisons have shown that hearths and adjacent areas were cleaned only when primary refuse densities reached unpleasant levels. After removing the larger pieces, only the smaller fragments remain in place Schiffer, The number of bone refits increase within the toss or drop zones, while teeth are commonly rearticulated within the walking zone. Additionally, narrowing down excavation spits to check for bone refits might help the identification of activity areas within such thick archaeological cave deposits.

The identification of specific activities and aspects of campsite organisation reveals insights into the behaviour of LCM hunter-gatherers. The LCM cultural period initiated quickly changing technologies, settlement patterns, subsistence strategies, and artistic activities Straus The thickest and densest LCM layer is the underlying Level 17, which is currently being studied by the first author fauna and by L. The abrupt end of these occupations after Level 15 might reflect the abandonment of the cave by LCM hunter-gatherer groups. The use of GIS analysis on faunal remains in Palaeolithic occupation horizons can yield positive results when dealing with large amounts of quantifiable data.

The creation of plots is the first step, while additional statistical analysis can be added.

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Density cluster and heatmaps not only enhance archaeological interpretation, but also produce results that can be compared across archaeological and ethnographical sites. This useful tool is of particular interest in analysing dense occupational layers such as the LCM deposits in the Cantabrian region. This case study has shown that a range of spatial data can be synthesized by combining different faunal categories from Individual and GB data. These interpretations of intense LCM occupations are made possible by spatial distribution plots showing different anthropogenic activities.

The bone-processing zone had a central role in the spatial organization of this area of the site. This specific activity produces a large quantity of bone debris, which in turn is visible in the high-density LCM layers found across Northern Spain and makes it archaeologically tangible. Whether these thick deposits represent specific cultural activities of the LCM remains to be seen and will be the subject of future research.


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Geiling is grateful to L. Hilbert for insightful discussions on the subject and to J.

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Straus for revising the English grammar spelling. This study was partially presented by J. Audouze, F and Enloe, J G High resolution archaeology at Verberie: Time perspectives, palimpsests and the archaeology of time. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 26 2: The interpretation of archaeological spatial patterning.

Journal of Archaeological Science 24 4: Intensities, interactions and uncertainties: Computational Approaches to Archaeological Spaces. Left Coast Press, pp. Binford, L R Dimensional Analysis of Behavior and Site Structure: Learning from an Eskimo Hunting Stand. American Antiquity 43 3: Blankholm, H P Intrasite spatial analysis in theory and practice. Humans, bones and fire: Zooarchaeological, taphonomic, and spatial analyses of a Gravettian mammoth bone accumulation at Grub-Kranawetberg Austria.

Clarke, D L Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets. The American journal of clinical nutrition 71 3: Bone Grease Rendering in Mousterian Contexts: Taphonomic consequences of the use of bones as fuel. Biosphere to Lithosphere New studies in vertebrate taphonomy. Ferring, C R Its role in settlement-subsistence systems analysis.

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Intrasite spatial analysis in archaeology ,: Hearth-side bone assemblages within the 27 ka BP Krems-Wachtberg settlement: Fired ribs and the mammoth bone-grease hypothesis. Geiling, J M Journal of Archaeological Science Pleistocene and Holocene hunter-gatherers in Iberia and the Gibraltar strait: Harris, E C The palimpsest problem, hearth pattern analysis, and Middle Paleolithic site structure.

Hodder, I and Orton, C New Studies in Archaeology. Smaller fragment size facilitates energy-efficient bone grease production.


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  • Lyman, R L Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 30 2: McKellar, J A Correlations and the Explanation of Distributions. Arizona Anthropologist 4 0: Taphonomic implicatons of the use of bone as fuel. The taphonomy of burned organic residues and combustion features in archaeological contexts Proceedings of the Round Table.

    On stone-boiling technology in the Upper Paleolithic: Journal of Archaeological Science Cantabria, Spain: Oron, M and Goren-Inbar, N Mousterian intra-site spatial patterning at Quneitra, Golan Heights. Point pattern analysis revisited.