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Neanderthal faunal exploitation and settlement dynamics at the Abri du Maras, level 5 (south-eastern France).

Abstract : Over the past two decades, taphonomic and zooarchaeological studies have focused on Neanderthal settlement patterns and subsistence strategies. The south-eastern margins of the Massif Central constitute one of the regions with the most abundant archaeological evidence of Neanderthal occupations in France. The faunal record of level 5 of Abri du Maras is a unique source of information for analysing Neanderthal behaviour at the end of the MIS 5. The assemblage is divided into three levels 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3, which correspond to the three main phases of human occupation of the shelter in level 5. Through the taphonomic and zooarchaeological analysis of the faunal remains, we define the characteristics of human occupation developed in the rock shelter. In this paper, we show that Neanderthal groups used the Abri du Maras as a residential campsite for long-term occupation events during a whole season, mainly summer. The intensive exploitation of the faunal resources is typical of a residential campsite, and the selective seasonal hunting strategy of medium and large ungulates, centred on prime adults, indicates different Neanderthal subsistence patterns to the upper levels of the sequence. Here, our results document the chronological changes in occupation patterns in one of the reference sites in south-eastern France and address questions related to cultural choices and environmental constraints.
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Juan Marin, Camille Daujeard, Palmira Saladié, Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo, Delphine Vettese, et al.. Neanderthal faunal exploitation and settlement dynamics at the Abri du Maras, level 5 (south-eastern France).. Quaternary Science Reviews, Elsevier, 2020, 243, pp.106472. ⟨10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106472⟩. ⟨hal-02957845⟩

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