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Coastal and Inland subsistence strategies during the Gravettian in the Cantabrian Region (northern Iberian Peninsula)

Abstract: The Gravettian site of Fuente del Salín Cave is located in the northern Iberian Peninsula (Cantabrian Region, Spain). In 2016, excavations conducted at the site yielded numerous faunal remains, including mammals and fish. Researchers also recovered molluscs remains during the 1990, 1991, and 2000 campaigns. This study presents the results of the archaeozoological and taphonomical analyses of the large mammals and fish remains recovered during these excavations. At Fuente del Salín Cave, a high level of bone fragmentation and the presence of burning damage characterizes the faunal assemblage. Taxonomy of large game shows diverse habitat exploitation, such as coastal valleys and plains (red deer, Cervus elaphus; horse, Equus ferus) as well as rocky landscapes (Iberian ibex, Capra pyrenaica; and chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra). Additionally, fish remains show the presence of salmonids (Salmo sp.), cyprinids, and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), indicating the exploitation of coastal, demersal, and riverine species. The taphonomic analysis of the mammals revealed burning damage concentrated on axial elements and epiphyses, characterized by temperatures typical of carbonization or calcification. The scarcity of carnivore gnawing marks and the presence of butchering marks prove that humans were the main accumulators at Fuente del Salín Cave. Concerning fish, most remains correspond to spines, branchial spines, ribs, and vertebrae, indicating humans processed fish by removing these elements for consumption. Based on our results, Fuente del Salín Cave provides an essential record of the subsistence strategies of the inhabitants of the Cantabrian Region during the Gravettian.

 Authorship: Blanco-Lapaz A., Marín-Arroyo A.B., Gutiérrez-Zugasti I., González-Echegaray de Yarto F., González-Morales M.R.,

 Fuente: Quaternary Science Advances, 2023, 12, 100106

 Year of publication: 2023

 No. of pages: 14

 Publication type: Article

 DOI: 10.1016/j.qsa.2023.100106

 ISSN: 2666-0334

 Spanish project: PID2021-124059NB-I00

 European project: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/H2020/818299/EU/Subsistence and human resilience to sudden climatic events in Europe during MIS3/SUBSILIENCE/