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Neanderthal infant and adult infracranial remains from Marillac (Charente, France)

Authors

  • María Dolores Garralda,

    Corresponding author
    1. U. D. de Antropología Física, Facultad de Biología, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
    • Correspondence to: Prof. María Dolores Garralda, U. D. de Antropología Física, Facultad de Biología, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid, Spain. E-mail: mdgarral@bio.ucm.es

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  • Bruno Maureille,

    1. Université de Bordeaux, UMR5199 PACEA, Bâtiment B8, Allée Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, Pessac cedex, France
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  • Bernard Vandermeersch

    1. Université de Bordeaux, UMR5199 PACEA, Bâtiment B8, Allée Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, Pessac cedex, France
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ABSTRACT

At the site of Marillac, near the Ligonne River in Marillac-le-Franc (Charente, France), a remarkable stratigraphic sequence has yielded a wealth of archaeological information, palaeoenvironmental data, as well as faunal and human remains. Marillac must have been a sinkhole used by Neanderthal groups as a hunting camp during MIS 4 (TL date 57,600 ± 4,600BP), where Quina Mousterian lithics and fragmented bones of reindeer predominate. This article describes three infracranial skeleton fragments. Two of them are from adults and consist of the incomplete shafts of a right radius (Marillac 24) and a left fibula (Marillac 26). The third fragment is the diaphysis of the right femur of an immature individual (Marillac 25), the size and shape of which resembles those from Teshik-Tash and could be assigned to a child of a similar age. The three fossils have been compared with the remains of other Neanderthals or anatomically Modern Humans (AMH). Furthermore, the comparison of the infantile femora, Marillac 25 and Teshik-Tash, with the remains of several European children from the early Middle Ages clearly demonstrates the robustness and rounded shape of both Neanderthal diaphyses. Evidence of peri-mortem manipulations have been identified on all three bones, with spiral fractures, percussion pits and, in the case of the radius and femur, unquestionable cutmarks made with flint implements, probably during defleshing. Traces of periostosis appear on the fibula fragment and on the immature femoral diaphysis, although their aetiology remains unknown. Am J Phys Anthropol 155:99–113, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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