Tale of two timescales: Combining tooth wear methods with different temporal resolutions to detect seasonality of Palaeolithic hominin occupational patterns

Carlos Sánchez-Hernández, Florent Rivals, Ruth Blasco, Jordi Rosell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Seasonality in archaeological sites can be inferred using different methods such as tooth eruption and wear patterns, stable isotopes or cementochronology. In this paper we propose to use the analysis of tooth microwear and mesowear methods combined with the analysis of the tooth eruption patterns in ungulates. The aim is to gain a better understanding about Neanderthal occupations that occurred at two Middle Palaeolithic sites, Teixoneres cave (North-Eastern Spain) and Portel-Ouest cave (Southern France). The tooth wear methods are referring to two techniques which provide information about diet traits of mammals. However tooth meso- and microwear are recording diets on different temporal scales. Because of this difference, the discrepancies sometimes observed in the results between the two methods could be considered as a bias in one of the two methods. The purpose of this research is to understand, for a methodological point of view, what the differences between microwear and mesowear mean when integrated for the study of ungulate assemblages from archaeological sites. The data reveal that larger differences between the results are related to greater seasonality in the accumulation of the prey at the archaeological level. The differences due to the distinct temporal scales appear as a good proxy to infer seasonality in the accumulation of the preys by Neanderthals in archaeological sites. Therefore, the application of methods with different temporal resolutions, instead of being limiting, appears as a good proxy to improve the knowledge of hominin occupational patterns.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)790-797
    JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
    Volume6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

    Keywords

    • Mesowear
    • Microwear
    • Middle palaeolithic
    • Neanderthals
    • Portel-Ouest cave
    • Teixoneres cave
    • Ungulates

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