Optimizing Cementochronology for Archaeological Applications: The CemeNTAA Project
Various methodological approaches have been developed in zooarchaeology to discuss how past population coped with seasonal constraints. Among them, the analysis of tooth cementum incremental structures (cementochronology) is often used for discussing seasonality in archaeological contexts. However, several issues have been raised about the method, such as the absence of a standardized protocol, the lack of data for specific species, variability between geographical populations and destruction of archaeological materials. Here we present the CemeNTAA consortium which proposes a three-step program to address these issues and improve cementum analyses. First a common protocol validated through interobserver blind tests is now available. Second, a renewed biological documentation has been created from new comparative collections of modern specimens of the main Pleistocene-Holocene European preys. This reference documentation will systematically document cementum intra-population variability. Finally, multi-scale spectrometry analyses (optical, synchrotron microtomography and X-ray fluorescence, laser ablation isotopic mapping) are conducted to increase our knowledge of cementogenesis. This approach will help create a cementum 3D map which purpose is to minimize sample destruction through non-intrusive analyses. Preliminary application in an Early Aurignacian context of Southwestern France suggest a highly seasonal hunting organization in answer to the seasonal fluctuation of the reindeer population.
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Optimizing Cementochronology for Archaeological Applications: The CemeNTAA Project. William Rendu, Lionel Gourichon, Stephan Naji. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404783)
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