Ungulates and the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition at Grotte XVI (Dordogne, France)


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Publication Date

January 2003


Grotte XVI (Dordogne, France) contains a rich archaeological sequence that begins during the Mousterian and continues through the Magdalenian and includes Châtelperronian and early Aurignacian assemblages. Analyses of the ungulates from this site show no significant change in skeletal part representation, butchering intensity (as measured by cut mark numbers and placement), degree of bone fragmentation, and intensity of carnivore damage across the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition. Relative taxonomic abundances of ungulates change significantly from the Mousterian to the early Aurignacian, but these changes are consistent with climatic forcing and continue throughout the sequence. Only the Magdalenian ungulate assemblage is clearly distinct from all others when examined in terms of these variables, perhaps because of altered predator/prey ratios on the local landscape. Cave bear relative abundances decline precipitously across the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition; this decline may reflect increased human residence times and/or group sizes during this interval, just as Kurtén observed many years ago.


Neanderthals, Middle Paleolithic, Upper Paleolithic, Cave Bears, Magdalenian, Grotte XVI, France

Document Type



Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 30, no. 12 (2003).