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Figure 7.15 Relative frequencies of horn and head parts to limb bones (expressed by the ratio H+HjL) for medium-sized ungulates, in faunal assemblages accumulated by scavengers (striped and brown hyena -marked by open circles) and hunters (wolves - marked by closed circles). After Stiner 1991a.

60 80 Total skeletal elements

60 80 Total skeletal elements

Figure 7.15 Relative frequencies of horn and head parts to limb bones (expressed by the ratio H+HjL) for medium-sized ungulates, in faunal assemblages accumulated by scavengers (striped and brown hyena -marked by open circles) and hunters (wolves - marked by closed circles). After Stiner 1991a.

1991a,b, for a systematic analysis of the modern ethnographic and zoological data on this point: see Figures 7.14, 7.15):

The crucial point however is that the vast majority of horse and bovid remains at Combe Grenal are head parts. For instance, an estimated 132 horses are represented at Combe Grenal (Würm I and Würm II only) by head parts alone, whereas for appendicular skeletal parts the best one can do is 8.5 horses for the same levels ... I know of no hunting people who abandon muscle-bearing parts in favour of heads with such astonishing regularity!

(Binford 1991: 113).

Against this one could cite the arguments for the Schlepp-effect factor discussed earlier, which for these very large animals is likely to have had a major effect on the butchering and transportation of carcases. The remaining arguments advanced by Chase on the age structure of horse remains at Combe Grenal and the remarkable specialization in the exploitation of large bovids documented at Mauran, La Borde, Le Roc and other sites, have not yet been answered directly by Bin-ford. No doubt these issues will be addressed fully and forcefully in the forthcoming monograph on the Combe Grenal material.

How one can reconcile the various arguments for and against hunting or scavenging is still not clear. Chase accepts (1986a) that the strongly head-and-lower-limb dominated pattern documented for red deer remains and several other species in the southwestern French sites could provide a reasonable a priori argument for scavenging. At the same time the character and composition of the highly specialized faunal assemblages from Mauran, Le Roc, La Borde and other sites (reflecting an almost exclusive exploitation of large bovids) seems to provide powerful if not conclusive evidence for deliberate hunting of these species in these particular sites. The same could be said, with slightly more reservations, for Levine's (1983) studies of the age profile of horse remains from Combe Grenal (Fig. 7.12), and for the similar studies of bovid remains from La Borde and Mauran (Fig. 7.24) (Slott-Moller 1990; Jaubert & Brugal 1990; Farizy et al 1994). What is common ground to both Chase and Binford is that by at least the middle stages of the Würm II succession, the deliberate killing of local reindeer herds must be regarded as a well documented feature of the faunal record. In other words, it is now effectively agreed that in at least certain contexts

Italian Paleolithic:

Middle Paleolithic O Upper Paleolithic

Middle Paleolithic O Upper Paleolithic

Figure 7.16 Representation of mortality patterns of animals in terms of three main age groupings (juveniles, prime-aged and old) expressed as triangular scatter gram plots, after Stiner 1990. Stiner argues that typical hunters (as represented by north American Indian groups) exploit mainly prime-aged animals, whereas scavengers tend to accumulate higher frequencies of old animals. The distributions show that whereas Middle Palaeolithic faunal assemblages from four sites in western Italy (Grotta Breuil, Guattari, Moscerini and San Agostino) seem to reflect both kinds of exploitation pattern, the assemblages from two Upper Palaeolithic sites (Palidoro and Polesini) reflect characteristic prime-dominated hunting patterns.

Figure 7.16 Representation of mortality patterns of animals in terms of three main age groupings (juveniles, prime-aged and old) expressed as triangular scatter gram plots, after Stiner 1990. Stiner argues that typical hunters (as represented by north American Indian groups) exploit mainly prime-aged animals, whereas scavengers tend to accumulate higher frequencies of old animals. The distributions show that whereas Middle Palaeolithic faunal assemblages from four sites in western Italy (Grotta Breuil, Guattari, Moscerini and San Agostino) seem to reflect both kinds of exploitation pattern, the assemblages from two Upper Palaeolithic sites (Palidoro and Polesini) reflect characteristic prime-dominated hunting patterns.

Middle Palaeolithic groups were competent in both their behaviour and technology to secure certain species of game by means of deliberate hunting strategies. The same conclusion has been drawn recently by Mary Stiner (1990, 1991a,b) from her studies of a series of Mousterian faunal assemblages from west-central Italy, where she believes one can demonstrate a variety of exploitation strategies ranging from almost pure scavenging (at the sites of Grotta Guattari and Grotta dei Moscerini) to specialized, focused hunting adaptations, seemingly identical to those documented in the Upper Palaeolithic sites in the same region (at San Agostino and Grotta Breuil) (Fig. 7.16). As Stiner (1991b) emphasizes, the main issue hinges on the relative scale on which these hunting strategies were practised - i.e. whether as a regular and dominant pattern of animal exploitation, or as a subsidiary employed at certain times and locations to supplement subsistence strategies based mainly on scavenging of animal carcases. More systematic data on both the age structure of different species in the faunal assemblages and the detailed taphonomic patterns of remains in different sites, is needed to resolve these issues more conclusively.

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