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Taphonomic data from the transitional Aurignacian of El Castillo cave (Spain) reveals the role of carnivores at the Aurignacian Delta level

Abstract: Palaeolithic sites are complex palimpsests due to the recurrent presence of human groups and carnivores through time, as documented in several European caves and rock shelters. Within these contexts, it can be challenging to identify the main contributors to bone accumulations and interpret human subsistence strategies and the role of carnivores. Consequently, taphonomic analyses are crucial for distinguishing the origins of these occupation episodes. One example of alternating occupations is found at El Castillo cave (Cantabria, Spain), specifically in the so-called Transitional Aurignacian level (~46-42 ka uncal BP). According to a recent study conducted at this level (Luret et al., 2020), the human groups had a hunting specialisation focused on red deer, while carnivores had little influence on the assemblage. However, these interpretations were based only on the faunal assemblage from the recent excavations (1980-2011). A previous excavation phase was conducted on this site from 1910 to 1914, and after that, the faunal remains recovered were separated across several institutions, lacking a complete archaeozoological and taphonomic analysis of the whole level. In this work, a new taxonomic assessment and, for the first time, a taphonomic study of the macrofauna recovered in the Aurignacian Delta level during the initial excavations, stored at Museo Nacional y Centro de Investigaci´on de Altamira (Cantabria, Spain), is carried out. This work provides new information about the human and carnivore groups that occupied El Castillo, constructing new hypotheses to interpret this relevant archaeological level.

 Authorship: Sanz-Royo A., Terlato G., Marín-Arroyo A.B.,

 Fuente: Quaternary Science Advances, 2024, 13, 100147

 Year of publication: 2024

 No. of pages: 13

 Publication type: Article

 DOI: 10.1016/j.qsa.2023.100147

 ISSN: 2666-0334

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

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