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An Experimental Study of the Anatomical Distribution of Cut Marks Created by Filleting and Disarticulation on Long Bone Ends



Analogical frameworks created through experimentation are a vital part of taphonomic studies for interpreting the archaeological record. Understanding the anatomical location of cut marks is crucial for interpreting the butchery behaviour of humans in the past, as well as for indirectly inferring the subsistence and economic function of archaeological sites. Two experimental/ethnoarchaeological studies have provided taphonomists with analogues to interpret filleting and disarticulation butchery behaviours from archaeofaunal assemblages. However, these analogues were made with limited control and both involved the use of metal knives. The present work provides the first systematic and controlled study of cut mark distribution on long bones made with stone tools, aimed at differentiating cut marks created by filleting or defleshing from those inflicted during disarticulation. It also studies the variability of cut mark distribution according to stone tool type (simple flakes, retouched flakes and handaxes). The results show some differences with previous studies made with metal tools and offer an updated analogue to interpret butchery (filleting, dismembering and skinning) from prehistoric contexts.