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Figure 7,27 Comparison of relative frequencies of different skeletal elements of bovids (including both Bos and Bison) represented in the faunal assemblages from Mauran, La Borde, and Combe Grenal (layers 11-35) After David & Farizy 1994; Slott-Moller 1990; Chase 1986a.

consumption in another location. While this could possibly account for the relative under-representation of some of the upper limb bones (e.g. femur, pelvis, humerus etc.), it is difficult to see how it could explain the dramatic under-representation of other elements such as ribs, vertebrae and certain other parts of the main axial skeleton, which in the case of very large animals such as bison and aurochs one would normally expect to be stripped of any usable meat at the site of the kill and subsequently discarded on site (Fig. 7.27). Conversely, Farizy herself has drawn attention to the fact that some of the much richer, meat-bearing bones, such as the humerus, do appear to be well represented in the Mauran assemblage (Farizy & David 1992: 88). Certain other specific features of the bone assemblages (such as the scarcity of all phalanges at Mauran and the total absence of terminal phalanges at La Borde) would seem equally difficult to reconcile with the notion of these sites as primary kill-site locations, where all the more marginal and less useful parts of carcases would be detached and discarded actually on the sites.

Interestingly, many of the bone-element patterns documented at both La Borde and Mauran show at least broad similarities with those documented for the remains of either Bos or Bison in the various occupation levels at Combe Grenal (see Fig. 7.27). At all three sites we can see the same strong emphasis on remains of teeth and jaws combined with a variable but generally strong representation of the main lower limbs (i. e. tibia and/or ulna). Remains of ribs and vertebrae are conspicuously scarce in all the sites. The main contrasts with Combe Grenal lie in the much stronger representation of all the main bones (with the exception of the femur) at Mauran, and the relatively high frequencies of the scapula and radiocubitus at La Borde (Jau-bert & Brugal 1990: 138; Farizy & David 1992: 95; David & Farizy 1994). However, the overall similarities in the composition of the bone assemblages from Combe Grenal and La Borde in particular are sufficient to suggest that much the same patterns were involved in the introduction and processing of large bovid remains within these sites.

Unless we are to suggest that Combe Gre-nal was also the location of large-scale, primary butchery of bovid carcases (which seems highly unlikely on several grounds) the implication is that the sites of La Borde and possibly also Mauran were devoted primarily to the intensive processing of certain selected carcase parts of animals that were killed at some distance from the immediate area of the archaeological sites. As at Combe Grenal, the main bones introduced into the sites would appear to be those which yielded either the largest amounts of bone marrow from the main lower limb segments, or rich and highly prized supplies of brains and tongues from heads. As at Combe Grenal, we could see the sites primarily as specialized locations for the extraction and processing of these particular elements, which were deliberately collected from the actual kill sites and transported into the archaeological locations specifically for these processing and extraction activities. This need not imply that the kill locations were at any great distance from the processing sites. On the contrary, the massive accumulations of bone remains recorded at all four sites suggests that the animals were procured fairly close to these locations. But to regard the archaeological sites as lying effectively on the kill sites would seem to be in conflict with several specific aspects of the faunal assemblages.

After Girard etall975.
Figure 7.29 Flake tools of flint and quartz associated with the aurochs-hone assemblage from La Borde. After Jaubert et al. 1990.

6. The final question relates to the functional orientation of the lithic industries recovered from these sites. As noted above, these were characterized in all the sites by a similar range of artefacts, heavily dominated by simple notched and denticulated forms and (in three of the sites) associated with large numbers of heavy-duty choppers and associated pebble tools (Jaubert & Turq 1990) (Figs 7.28-7.31). We are still poorly equipped with reliable information on the specific, intended functions of any of these tools. The probability remains, nevertheless, that all these forms were associated in these particular sites primarily with the intensive processing of large animal carcases, involving either the removal of meat from the bones or the more heavy-duty separation of the different bone and limb segments. It is tempting to suggest that some of the larger choppers and pebble tools

Figure 7.30 Heavy-duty 'chopping tools' of quartzite associated with the bison-bone assemblage at Mauran. After Girard et al. 1975.

Figure 7.31 Chopping tools of quartz associated with the aurochs-bone assemblage at La Borde. After Jaubert et al. 1990.

Figure 7.31 Chopping tools of quartz associated with the aurochs-bone assemblage at La Borde. After Jaubert et al. 1990.

would have been particularly well suited to these tasks - especially in the case of massive animals such as bison and aurochs. For the moment this remains largely as speculation. There is the possibility, however, that the curious lithic industries recovered from La

Borde, Mauran, Coudoulous and Le Roc provide one of the rare but more convincing cases of clear functional specialization in the composition of Middle Palaeolithic stone-tool assemblages.

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