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Taphonomic resolution and hominin subsistence behaviour in the Lower Palaeolithic: differing data scales and interpretive frameworks at Boxgrove and Swanscombe (UK)

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Zitation

Smith, G. M. (2013). Taphonomic resolution and hominin subsistence behaviour in the Lower Palaeolithic: differing data scales and interpretive frameworks at Boxgrove and Swanscombe (UK). Journal of Archaeological Science, 40(10), 3754-3767. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2013.05.002.


Zitierlink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002E-32C7-7
Zusammenfassung
The identification of human butchery-signatures on fauna from Lower Palaeolithic sites is well documented and readily identifiable. Such bone surface modifications have the potential to provide not only information about past hominin meat-procurement behaviour but address the wider issue of competition for resources with other carnivore species. To understand and discuss these broader issues both hominin and natural bone surface modifications must be understood and contextualised within a site-specific spatial and temporal framework. This paper presents new results from faunal analysis at two key British Lower Palaeolithic localities: Boxgrove and Swanscombe. It illustrates that different depositional environments and excavation histories have resulted in different scales and resolutions of available data and hence in varying interpretive potentials. At Swanscombe the archaeological record has been disturbed by both fluvial activity and excavation history providing a coarser-grained record of anthropogenic behaviour than previously acknowledged. Conversely, at Boxgrove, a finer-grained, higher resolution record of human behaviours has been preserved; this, combined with both an extensive and intensive excavation strategy, has allowed for a broader discussion of hominin landscape use, resource competition and meat-procurement behaviour. This paper highlights that assessing the specific depositional environment at each site is crucial to understanding Palaeolithic faunal assemblage formation and, consequently, the available data-resolution and behavioural interpretation.