Paper submitted for publication in International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.
Special Issue Paper
Middle Palaeolithic Cave Taphonomy: Discerning Humans from Hyenas at Arcy-sur-Cure, France
Article first published online: 26 AUG 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Special Issue: New Perspectives on Taphonomy
Volume 22, Issue 5, pages 591–602, September/October 2012
How to Cite
Enloe, J. G. (2012), Middle Palaeolithic Cave Taphonomy: Discerning Humans from Hyenas at Arcy-sur-Cure, France. Int. J. Osteoarchaeol., 22: 591–602. doi: 10.1002/oa.1276
- Issue published online: 8 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 26 AUG 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 11 JUL 2011
- Manuscript Received: 17 MAY 2011
- LSB Leakey Foundation for Anthropological Research
- University of Iowa's Arts and Humanities Initiative
- Middle Palaeolithic;
- spatial analysis;
Recent excavations at the Grotte du Bison, Arcy-sur-Cure, demonstrate essential continuity in industrial succession from the late Mousterian into the Châtelperronian. The faunal assemblage, however, demonstrates considerable occupation by hyenas and bears in alternation with that by humans in the underlying Mousterian levels. This demonstrates one of the fundamental problems of cave stratigraphies. The archaeological record of the Middle Palaeolithic rarely presents unambiguous associations and spatial configuration. A substantial proportion of the Middle Palaeolithic archaeological record has been investigated in cave mouth and rock shelter sites. Cave taphonomy most often results in complex palimpsests of depositional history, mixing debris from prehistoric human occupations with those from other processes, both geological and faunal. Spatial analysis may be one way of deciphering portions of complex depositions. Data from one Middle Palaeolithic level of the Grotte du Bison are presented here to illustrate the potential for discerning differential activity and occupation areas resulting from Neanderthals, hyenas and other animals. Signatures of associations of bone fragments with other classes of material recovered from recent excavations are offered to identify those portions of the palimpsest attributable to human activities. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.