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Keywords:

  • SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION;
  • GIS;
  • ZOOARCHAEOLOGY;
  • LOCAL DENSITY ANALYSIS;
  • LATE GLACIAL;
  • EL MIRÓN CAVE;
  • CANTABRIAN SPAIN

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are being incorporated into archaeology as a technique to improve the understanding of spatial organization and the relationships among finds within specific areas. Although their use as a basic tool in predicting the location of archaeological sites or in assessing the extent of their catchment areas is relatively common, in general, they have less often been applied to the study of the spatial distribution of archaeological remains within individual deposits, and in particular to faunal assemblages. Despite this, they can prove essential to understanding dispersion and grouping patterns within deposits fully, and, together with various correlation analytical techniques, they provide valuable information about the economic organization of settlements and inhabitant lifeways. To demonstrate the potential of this methodology, a zooarchaeological GIS has been prepared for the Middle and Late Magdalenian and Azilian layers in El Mirón Cave (eastern Cantabria, Spain), and the spatial distribution patterns of various attributes of the archaeological record have been analysed. Significant conclusions in terms of type and duration of human occupation have been drawn.