Cannibalism in Britain: Taphonomy of the Creswellian (Pleistocene) faunal and human remains from Gough's Cave (Somerset, England)

Citation

Material Information

Title:
Cannibalism in Britain: Taphonomy of the Creswellian (Pleistocene) faunal and human remains from Gough's Cave (Somerset, England)
Series Title:
Bulletin of the Natural History Museum: Geology Series
Creator:
Andrews, P.
Fernández-jalvo, Y.
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Taphonomic ( local )
Cannibalism ( local )
Creswellian ( local )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )

Notes

Abstract:
Human induced damage is the main taphonomic modification observed on the fossil bone assemblage of Gough's cave. Fossils from this site are very fragmentary, showing abundant cut-marks, percussion marks and peeling. Some specimens, however, are complete (ribs, vertebrae, carpal-tarsal bones and phalanges), but these elements are characterised by low marrow content where breakage to open the bone is not needed. Human remains recovered from this site show similar butchering patterns to other animals suggesting skinning, dismembering, defleshing and marrow extraction activities. Excavations during the 1986–1987 seasons showed that the human remains appear at the site randomly mixed with animal bones, with no specific distribution or arrangement of human bones. The evidence from this distribution indicates equal treatment of human and animal remains, and the analysis of cut-marks and other modifications suggests that both humans and animals were accumulated as the discarded food remains of the human population. This is interpreted as nutritional cannibalism. One exception to this is seen in the slight differences in skull treatment compared with other sites, suggesting a possible element of ritual cannibalism (cf Fontbrégoua, the French Neolithic site, ca 4000 BC).
Original Version:
Bulletin of the Natural History Museum: Geology Series, Vol. 58, no. S1 (2003-06-26).

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
Rights Management:
This object is protected by copyright, and is made available here for research and educational purposes. Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce the object beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder.

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