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A tool for determining duration of mortality events in archaeological assemblages using extant ungulate microwear.

Rivals F, Prignano L, Semprebon GM, Lozano S - Sci Rep (2015)

Bottom Line: The seasonality of human occupations in archaeological sites is highly significant for the study of hominin behavioural ecology, in particular the hunting strategies for their main prey-ungulates.We propose a new tool to quantify such seasonality from tooth microwear patterns in a dataset of ten large samples of extant ungulates resulting from well-known mass mortality events.The tool is tested on a selection of eleven fossil samples from five Palaeolithic localities in Western Europe which show a consistent classification in the three categories.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Barcelona, Spain.

ABSTRACT
The seasonality of human occupations in archaeological sites is highly significant for the study of hominin behavioural ecology, in particular the hunting strategies for their main prey-ungulates. We propose a new tool to quantify such seasonality from tooth microwear patterns in a dataset of ten large samples of extant ungulates resulting from well-known mass mortality events. The tool is based on the combination of two measures of variability of scratch density, namely standard deviation and coefficient of variation. The integration of these two measurements of variability permits the classification of each case into one of the following three categories: (1) short events, (2) long-continued event and (3) two separated short events. The tool is tested on a selection of eleven fossil samples from five Palaeolithic localities in Western Europe which show a consistent classification in the three categories. The tool proposed here opens new doors to investigate seasonal patterns of ungulate accumulations in archaeological sites using non-destructive sampling.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Frequency distribution of the density of scratches in individuals that died in different mortality events.Both standard deviation (SD) and coefficient of variation (CV) have problems distinguishing mortality time windows in certain cases. Panel (A) (left): Hypothetical scenario where SD cannot distinguish a single event in a warm season from a longer one in a colder part of the year. Panel (B) (right): Hypothetical scenario where CV cannot distinguish a single event in a cold season from a longer one in a warm part of the year.
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f3: Frequency distribution of the density of scratches in individuals that died in different mortality events.Both standard deviation (SD) and coefficient of variation (CV) have problems distinguishing mortality time windows in certain cases. Panel (A) (left): Hypothetical scenario where SD cannot distinguish a single event in a warm season from a longer one in a colder part of the year. Panel (B) (right): Hypothetical scenario where CV cannot distinguish a single event in a cold season from a longer one in a warm part of the year.

Mentions: SD alone may not be able to properly distinguish death events concentrated in the warm season from those distributed during a larger time interval. In the latter case, however, the average number of marks will be smaller (See Fig. 3A). This would increase CV, making it possible to discriminate between the two scenarios. On the contrary, considering CV alone makes it difficult to separate short mortality events concentrated in the colder seasons from events distributed on a longer time interval. These two cases are easily distinguishable using SD, which is low in the former and high for the latter (See Fig. 3B).


A tool for determining duration of mortality events in archaeological assemblages using extant ungulate microwear.

Rivals F, Prignano L, Semprebon GM, Lozano S - Sci Rep (2015)

Frequency distribution of the density of scratches in individuals that died in different mortality events.Both standard deviation (SD) and coefficient of variation (CV) have problems distinguishing mortality time windows in certain cases. Panel (A) (left): Hypothetical scenario where SD cannot distinguish a single event in a warm season from a longer one in a colder part of the year. Panel (B) (right): Hypothetical scenario where CV cannot distinguish a single event in a cold season from a longer one in a warm part of the year.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4663483&req=5

f3: Frequency distribution of the density of scratches in individuals that died in different mortality events.Both standard deviation (SD) and coefficient of variation (CV) have problems distinguishing mortality time windows in certain cases. Panel (A) (left): Hypothetical scenario where SD cannot distinguish a single event in a warm season from a longer one in a colder part of the year. Panel (B) (right): Hypothetical scenario where CV cannot distinguish a single event in a cold season from a longer one in a warm part of the year.
Mentions: SD alone may not be able to properly distinguish death events concentrated in the warm season from those distributed during a larger time interval. In the latter case, however, the average number of marks will be smaller (See Fig. 3A). This would increase CV, making it possible to discriminate between the two scenarios. On the contrary, considering CV alone makes it difficult to separate short mortality events concentrated in the colder seasons from events distributed on a longer time interval. These two cases are easily distinguishable using SD, which is low in the former and high for the latter (See Fig. 3B).

Bottom Line: The seasonality of human occupations in archaeological sites is highly significant for the study of hominin behavioural ecology, in particular the hunting strategies for their main prey-ungulates.We propose a new tool to quantify such seasonality from tooth microwear patterns in a dataset of ten large samples of extant ungulates resulting from well-known mass mortality events.The tool is tested on a selection of eleven fossil samples from five Palaeolithic localities in Western Europe which show a consistent classification in the three categories.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Barcelona, Spain.

ABSTRACT
The seasonality of human occupations in archaeological sites is highly significant for the study of hominin behavioural ecology, in particular the hunting strategies for their main prey-ungulates. We propose a new tool to quantify such seasonality from tooth microwear patterns in a dataset of ten large samples of extant ungulates resulting from well-known mass mortality events. The tool is based on the combination of two measures of variability of scratch density, namely standard deviation and coefficient of variation. The integration of these two measurements of variability permits the classification of each case into one of the following three categories: (1) short events, (2) long-continued event and (3) two separated short events. The tool is tested on a selection of eleven fossil samples from five Palaeolithic localities in Western Europe which show a consistent classification in the three categories. The tool proposed here opens new doors to investigate seasonal patterns of ungulate accumulations in archaeological sites using non-destructive sampling.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus