The ungulate assemblage from layer A9 at Grotta di Fumane, Italy: A zooarchaeological contribution to the reconstruction of Neanderthal ecology


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Quaternary International

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One of the most widespread flaking methods in Europe was the Discoidal technique. However, technological analyses of these lithic artifacts are not yet sufficiently integrated into a corpus of zooarchaeological indicators that outline an ecological profile of Neanderthal mobility. To address this issue, this study presents evidence from Grotta di Fumane in northern Italy, where the exclusive use of the Discoid manufacturing technology is embedded in a Late Mousterian sequence with Levallois industries. The paper begins with a presentation of the regional ecological and contextual setting, and then explains the taphonomic and zooarchaeological data from the large and varied ungulate assemblage. Results show that hunting activity was shaped by the availability of game and that well-established, cost-effective patterns were used in carcass processing. Compared on a broader scale with other contexts where Discoid implements have been taken into account in relation to faunal assemblages, these foraging practices show that a common model for Neanderthal subsistence strategy cannot be applied.

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