Taphonomy and actualistic studies of carnivores: applications to understanding Sima de los Huesos (Atapuerca) and other Pleistocene sites in Spain.
The study of carnivore activity on bones is crucial to understand the role of the carnivores in the site formation since some carnivores are able to accumulate bones in cave dens. The studies of the Professor Haynes reveal that actualism is a very useful tool for taphonomic studies, as it allows understanding the behavior of the fauna in the past. In Spain there are several Pleistocene sites with evidences of carnivore activity. The Sima de los Huesos (SH) is site is the largest accumulation of human remains from the Middle Pleistocene. Studies in the last two decades have proposed different hypotheses to explain the origin of the SH hominin accumulation, being the carnivores one of them. We have approached the taphonomic study of SH through actualistic research with living carnivores (ursids, canids, and large felids).
The comparison of bone modification patterns at SH to actualistic data allows us to suggest that bears were likely to have been the carnivore responsible for the modification observed on human fossils but we discard the carnivores as the accumulation agents.
The research developed by G. Haynes was decisive in this study since it was the framework of our actualistic experiments.
SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit http://www.tdar.org/SAA2015 for instructions and more information.
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
- From Taphonomy to Human Ecology: Papers in Honor of Gary Haynes •
- Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)
Cite this Record
Taphonomy and actualistic studies of carnivores: applications to understanding Sima de los Huesos (Atapuerca) and other Pleistocene sites in Spain.. Nohemi Sala, Juan Luis Arsuaga. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394945)
min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;