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Experimental butchering of a chimpanzee carcass for archaeological purposes.

Saladié P, Cáceres I, Huguet R, Rodríguez-Hidalgo A, Santander B, Ollé A, Gabucio MJ, Martín P, Marín J - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: As a result, about 40% of the remains showed some kind of human modification.In case of the MIR4 assemblage, the results are similar except in the treatment of skulls.Our results indicate that high frequencies of anthropogenic modifications are common after an intensive butchering process intended to prepare a hominin body for consumption in different contexts (both where there was possible ritual behavior and where this was not the case and the modifications are not the result of special treatment).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: IPHES, Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social, Tarragona, Spain; Área de Prehistoria, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Tarragona, Spain; GQP-CG, Grupo Quaternário e Pré-História do Centro de Geociências (uI and D 73-FCT), Tomar, Portugal; Unit associated to Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Ciéntíficas (CSIC), Departamento de Paleobiologia, Museo de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN), Madrid, Spain.

ABSTRACT
Two archaeological assemblages from the Sierra de Atapuerca sites show evidence of anthropogenic cannibalism. These are the late Early Pleistocene level TD6-2 at Gran Dolina, and the Bronze Age level MIR4 in the Mirador Cave. Despite the chronological distance between these two assemblages, they share the common feature that the human remains exhibit a high frequency of anthropogenic modifications (cut marks, percussion pits and notches and peeling). This frequency could denote special treatment of bodies, or else be the normal result of the butchering process. In order to test these possibilities, we subjected a chimpanzee carcass to a butchering process. The processing was intensive and intended to simulate preparation for consumption. In doing this, we used several simple flakes made from quartzite and chert from quarries in the Sierra de Atapuerca. The skull, long bones, metapodials and phalanges were also fractured in order to remove the brain and bone marrow. As a result, about 40% of the remains showed some kind of human modification. The frequency, distribution and characteristics of these modifications are very similar to those documented on the remains of Homo antecessor from TD6-2. In case of the MIR4 assemblage, the results are similar except in the treatment of skulls. Our results indicate that high frequencies of anthropogenic modifications are common after an intensive butchering process intended to prepare a hominin body for consumption in different contexts (both where there was possible ritual behavior and where this was not the case and the modifications are not the result of special treatment).

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Distribution of the cut marks on fore limb elements.a) Scapulae, b) humeri, c) radii d) and ulna of the chimpanzee sample.
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pone.0121208.g006: Distribution of the cut marks on fore limb elements.a) Scapulae, b) humeri, c) radii d) and ulna of the chimpanzee sample.

Mentions: On the scapulae (NISP = 2, both with cut marks), cut marks were mostly clustered (Fig. 6a), and ran in several directions (transversal, oblique and longitudinal) (Fig. 3a). These specimens displayed the longest (50 mm) slicing mark of the sample. The cuts were visible on the dorsal face, on the area where the supraespinatus and infraspinatus muscles attach, and on the scapular spine, where the trapezius, teres major and deltoides muscle attach. The scapular spine had slicing, chop and scrape marks. There were also cut marks on the ventral face and neck of the scapulae. These cuts were caused by cutting the teres minor and subescapularis muscles. All marks identified on scapulae are associated with defleshing and disarticulation.


Experimental butchering of a chimpanzee carcass for archaeological purposes.

Saladié P, Cáceres I, Huguet R, Rodríguez-Hidalgo A, Santander B, Ollé A, Gabucio MJ, Martín P, Marín J - PLoS ONE (2015)

Distribution of the cut marks on fore limb elements.a) Scapulae, b) humeri, c) radii d) and ulna of the chimpanzee sample.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4368797&req=5

pone.0121208.g006: Distribution of the cut marks on fore limb elements.a) Scapulae, b) humeri, c) radii d) and ulna of the chimpanzee sample.
Mentions: On the scapulae (NISP = 2, both with cut marks), cut marks were mostly clustered (Fig. 6a), and ran in several directions (transversal, oblique and longitudinal) (Fig. 3a). These specimens displayed the longest (50 mm) slicing mark of the sample. The cuts were visible on the dorsal face, on the area where the supraespinatus and infraspinatus muscles attach, and on the scapular spine, where the trapezius, teres major and deltoides muscle attach. The scapular spine had slicing, chop and scrape marks. There were also cut marks on the ventral face and neck of the scapulae. These cuts were caused by cutting the teres minor and subescapularis muscles. All marks identified on scapulae are associated with defleshing and disarticulation.

Bottom Line: As a result, about 40% of the remains showed some kind of human modification.In case of the MIR4 assemblage, the results are similar except in the treatment of skulls.Our results indicate that high frequencies of anthropogenic modifications are common after an intensive butchering process intended to prepare a hominin body for consumption in different contexts (both where there was possible ritual behavior and where this was not the case and the modifications are not the result of special treatment).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: IPHES, Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social, Tarragona, Spain; Área de Prehistoria, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Tarragona, Spain; GQP-CG, Grupo Quaternário e Pré-História do Centro de Geociências (uI and D 73-FCT), Tomar, Portugal; Unit associated to Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Ciéntíficas (CSIC), Departamento de Paleobiologia, Museo de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN), Madrid, Spain.

ABSTRACT
Two archaeological assemblages from the Sierra de Atapuerca sites show evidence of anthropogenic cannibalism. These are the late Early Pleistocene level TD6-2 at Gran Dolina, and the Bronze Age level MIR4 in the Mirador Cave. Despite the chronological distance between these two assemblages, they share the common feature that the human remains exhibit a high frequency of anthropogenic modifications (cut marks, percussion pits and notches and peeling). This frequency could denote special treatment of bodies, or else be the normal result of the butchering process. In order to test these possibilities, we subjected a chimpanzee carcass to a butchering process. The processing was intensive and intended to simulate preparation for consumption. In doing this, we used several simple flakes made from quartzite and chert from quarries in the Sierra de Atapuerca. The skull, long bones, metapodials and phalanges were also fractured in order to remove the brain and bone marrow. As a result, about 40% of the remains showed some kind of human modification. The frequency, distribution and characteristics of these modifications are very similar to those documented on the remains of Homo antecessor from TD6-2. In case of the MIR4 assemblage, the results are similar except in the treatment of skulls. Our results indicate that high frequencies of anthropogenic modifications are common after an intensive butchering process intended to prepare a hominin body for consumption in different contexts (both where there was possible ritual behavior and where this was not the case and the modifications are not the result of special treatment).

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus