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Systematic Butchery of Small Game at Kephalari Cave (Peloponnese, Greece)

Author(s): Britt Starkovich

Year: 2015

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Summary

An ongoing faunal analysis at Kephalari Cave documents a remarkable standardization in the butchery of small game animals during the Upper Paleolithic. The site spans several phases of occupation, including small Middle Paleolithic, early Upper Paleolithic, and Aurignacian components, but the majority of the materials are from the post-Aurignacian Upper Paleolithic, Epigravettian, and late Upper Paleolithic (possibly Mesolithic) periods. Diverse ungulate taxa are found at the site, but the faunal remains are heavily dominated by small game, particularly hares, partridges, and fish. This abundance of small game is similar to later Upper Paleolithic layers at nearby Klissoura Cave 1. The representation of partridge and hare body parts is biased toward meat-rich elements, suggesting that these taxa were skinned outside of the cave, possibly at a spring directly adjacent to the site. A particularly striking feature in the assemblage is cut marks on the distal tibiotarsus of at least 40 individual partridges, which indicates standardized skinning of these birds across multiple late Upper Paleolithic layers. This might reflect the practicalities of removing the skin and feathers from the body before consumption, as well as the use of feathers for decoration.

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Systematic Butchery of Small Game at Kephalari Cave (Peloponnese, Greece). Britt Starkovich. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397571)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Europe


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America