Hunting bear during the Late Mousterian. Evidence from the North of Italy.

The revision of materials from a constantly growing number of European sites has contributed to an increased focus on the investigation of human-bear relationships during the Palaeolithic (Fosse, et al., 2002; Auguste, 2003; Quilès, 2004; Stiner, 1999). In recent decades this has been enhanced by im...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Authors: Romandini M., Nannini N., Tagliacozzo A., Peresani M.
Format: Conference Object
Language:English
Published: European Society for the Study of Human Evolution 2013
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Online Access:http://hdl.handle.net/11392/2359690
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Summary:The revision of materials from a constantly growing number of European sites has contributed to an increased focus on the investigation of human-bear relationships during the Palaeolithic (Fosse, et al., 2002; Auguste, 2003; Quilès, 2004; Stiner, 1999). In recent decades this has been enhanced by important evidence of hunting activity (Munzel & Conard, 2004, Morel 1993, Auguste, 1995). In North-Eastern Italy, towards the end of the Middle Palaeolithic, cave bears (Ursus spelaeus), brown bear (Ursus arctos) and human groups (Homo neanderthalensis) were potential competitors over the same environmental resources (both above and below ground). Fumane cave, 350 m.a.s.l., on the Lessini Mounts and Rio Secco Cave, 580 m.a.s.l., on the Pradis Plateau witnessed close human-ursidae interactions, as documented by discoid and levallois lithic industries found associated with the remains of plantigrades. Taphonomic evidence from the remains of both species quantitatively and qualitatively illustrates a well-established exploitation between 49 and 42 kycal BP. These two sites can be considered as rare examples of the accumulation of carcasses derived from violent death during phases of hibernation or close to its end. The extraction of hides, the consumption of meat, the employment of portions of long bones for retouching the edges of flint implements and the variety of age classes among the represented individuals suggest an unprecedented role for bear in the nomadic economy of Neanderthal hunter groups.