Small Animal Exploitation and its Relation to Hunting, Scavenging, and Gathering in the Italian Mousterian



The remains of small aquatic animals are preserved in many Mousterian caves along the Mediterranean coast. These faunas offer clues about hominids' strategies of searching for and transporting small food packages, an important complement to information on ungulate exploitation in the same region. Marine shellfish and tortoise remains from Grotta dei Moscerini, a shallow cave on the Tyrrhenian (west-central) Italian coast, are examined from taphonomic, zooarchaeologic, and biogeographic perspectives. Mousterian use of large mobile versus small sessile prey are compared to related practices by some “fully modern” human cultures.