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«Item type text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic) Authors Munro, Natalie Dawn Publisher The University of Arizona. Rights Copyright © is held ...»

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THE LONG PALEOLITHIC SEQUENCE AT HAYONIM CAVE

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The late Middle and Upper Pleistocene. Layers from the Early Middle Paleolithic (Mousterian), Upper Paleolithic (Levantine Aurignacian), and Epipaleolithic (Kebaran and Natufian) periods provide an ideal sequence for the examination of long-term change. Faunal analyses of the early occupations at the site were undertaken by Mary Stiner of the University of Arizona (Stiner and Tchemov 1998; Stiner et al. 1999, 2000) and Rivka Rabinovich of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (Rabinovich 1997, Kebaran and Aurignacian only). Because Rabinovich did not quantify the small game remains of the Aurignacian assemblage, they were later counted by Stiner and combined with Rabinovich's figures for ungulates and carnivores. The revised counts appear in Stiner et al. (1999, 2000). Fauna from the earlier layers were collected according to the same standards as the Natufian sample, thus the assemblages are directly comparable. With the exception of the Natufian component, which is greatly expanded in the current study, the figures reported here follow Stiner et al. (2000; Table 4, Table 5).

Minor changes to the small game criteria set forth in Stiner et al. (2000) are the removal of two reptilian species, snakes {Calubra sp.) and the lizard, Agama stellio, because these species could not be unequivocally linked to humans. The small game species include the Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise {Testudo graeca); the legless lizard {Ophisaunis apodus)\ a diverse category of avifauna composed primarily of ground birds (mainly Phasinidae), raptors (Falconi formes and Strigiformes), and waterfowl (Ralliformes, Gruiformes, and Anseriformes); and the small mammals, hare (Lepus capensis), Persian squirrel (Sciunis anomalus), and hedgehog (Erinaceus

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Figure 7.1: Relative abundance of broad taxonomic groups from Mousterian, Aurignacian, Kebaran, and Natufian layers at Hayonim Cave.

Phases are ordered from oldest to most recent. The Mousterian or Middle Paleolithic (MP) layer is divided into four phases that are designated by the depths of the deposits, which in turn correspond to climatic and technological changes. Faunal data for pre-Natufian layers from Stiner et al. (1999, 2000).

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Table 7.1: Taxonomic abundance of ungulate species from all Paleolithic layers at Hayonim Cave.

Numbers outside of parentheses are NISP counts. Numbers in parentheses represent the proportion of the subtotal for that layer. "Subtotal" refers to the NISP of ungulates assigned to species for each layer, and "Total" refers to the NISP of ungulates for each layer, including those assigned to broad categories based on size, "nd" means no data. Data for pre-Natufian layers from Stiner et al. (2000).

241 Figure 7.1 compares the relative abundance of ungulates, carnivores, and small game for Hayonim Cave's four Paleolithic cultural periods. The ungulate fraction in the Natufian is comprised almost exclusively of gazelles (88%), whereas earlier assemblages contain notably higher quantities of large-bodied species such as fallow deer, red deer, wild boar, and wild cattle (see Table 7.1). The carnivore fraction is relatively stable throughout the Paleolithic sequence and represents only a small proportion of identifiable specimens (1- 5%).

The ratio of small game to ungulates is high but variable throughout the Paleolithic sequence, although it is highest in the Natufian period, at 63% (NISP = 14,998). Ungulates continued to provide a significant meat source for the Natufians, but their remains are surpassed by small game in sheer numbers for the first time in the Natufian period. The investment required to capture such large numbers of small animals is significant and would have involved increased efforts in pursuit and/or investment in technology by Paleolithic hunters.

Significant differences in the composition of the small game fraction over the course of the Paleolithic set the Natufian faunal assemblage apart from all previous occupations at Hayonim Cave. Figure 7.2 focuses on the relative abundances of small game types only for the Hayonim Cave series. Unlike earlier Paleolithic occupations, the Natufian small game fraction is represented by more even proportions of each of the three small game groups. Middle Paleolithic small game assemblages are dominated by slowmoving tortoises; in fact, tortoises appear to have been a staple throughout the entire

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to the diet (see Stiner et al. 2000). Moreover, a wide array of birds appears in abundance in the Aurignacian period, and increases even further during the Natufian period. Hare, another fast-escape type, appears in large numbers only during the Natufian period.

Though the Natufians continued to hunt tortoises, proportions of this prey type are significantly reduced relative to the rapidly increasing frequencies of partridge and hare.

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Figure 7.2: Relative abundance of small game groups from Mousterian, Aurignacian, Kebaran, and Natufian layers at Hayonim Cave.

Phases are ordered from oldest to most recent. The Mousterian or Middle Paleolithic (MP) layer is divided into four phases that are designated by the depths of the deposits, which correspond to climatic and technological changes. Data from pre-Natufian assemblages from Stiner et al. (2000).





Changes in the composition of small game faunas across the Paleolithic from predominantly high- to predominantly low-ranked animals, signal shifts in human population densities (demography) and human adaptations. It is inferred that in the Middle Paleolithic, human population densities were lower, and hunters could afford to

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small prey. Changing species composition indicates that this was no longer possible throughout the Upper Paleolithic, and even less so in the Natufian (Stiner et al. 2000). In general, the increasing use of quick-moving small prey (partridges and hares) favored immediately prior to the agricultural transition can be related to higher availability as tortoises declined. Partridges and hares have short life spans, reach reproductive maturity within a year, and produce multiple litters per year. Such populations can rebuild quickly and withstand comparatively intense predation (see Chapter 6). Ungulates and tortoises, by contrast, reach reproductive maturity at a much older age (about two and ten years, respectively). They have greater difficulty reestablishing their populations after heavy losses, and as a result, their populations are much more sensitive to predation (Stiner et al. 1999,2000). Overall, the significantly higher proportions of hares and partridges in relation to tortoises during the Natufian indicates that this period witnessed the most intense levels of predation of the Levantine Paleolithic sequence. This observation serves as the main premise for the pan-Natufian analysis; the focus of this dissertation.

Changes in the proportions of high- versus low-ranked animals clearly mirror shifts in human adaptations, shifts that are argued to be linked to increased population density at the regional scale. The sequence in which small game taxa were introduced to Paleolithic diets indicates evolutionarily significant changes in hominid foraging strategies and increased human population densities culminating in the Natufian period

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INTRASITE COMPARISON: THE NATUFIAN LAYER AT HAYONIM CAVE

Tracking relative prey abundances across the five phases of occupation at Hayonim Cave reveals trends in site use intensity (see Bar-Yosef 1991 and Belfer-Cohen 1988 for phase divisions). Here, the small game group is pared down in comparison to the previous analyses to ensure that only those prey unambiguously captured by humans are evaluated; these are tortoises, hares, partridges, waterfowl, and Falconi formes. This rather extreme measure is taken to exclude species with somewhat equivocal taphonomic histories and any possibility of ambiguous stratigraphic association. The taphonomic histories of the small game species from Hayonim Cave discussed in Chapter 4 form the basis for these decisions. The elimination of squirrels, legless lizards, and hedgehogs is statistically insignificant in terms of overall results, because these small game animals are only represented in very small numbers in the Natufian assemblages.

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Figure 7.3 shows the relative proportions of ungulates, carnivores, and small game for each of the five Natufian phases at Hayonim Cave.

Two patterns immediately emerge. First, the consistency in the relative proportions of the three groups through time is remarkable, indicating stability in the basic hunting strategy throughout the occupation.

Second, the small game fraction consistently outnumbers the large game component, confirming a categorical increase in small game use for the Natufian period relative to earlier cultural periods.

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Figure 7.4: Relative abundance of gazelle in comparison to total ungulate species from five phases of Natufian occupation at Hayonim Cave.

Phases are ordered from oldest to most recent. The "Other Ungulate" category includes roe deer, fallow deer, red deer, wild boar, wild goat, and wild cattle.

Figure 7.4 compares the proportions of gazelles relative to all other ungulate species in the five Natufian phases at Hayonim Cave.

The results are entirely consistent with what has been reported in earlier analyses of fauna from both Hayonim Cave and

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Bouchud 1987; Cope 1991a, 1991b; Davis 1978, 1981; Davis et al. 1994; Henry et al.

1981; Rabinovich 1998; Valla et al. 1986). Gazelles were hunted almost exclusively in each of the five phases, with wild boar, fallow deer, roe deer, red deer, wild goat, and aurochs playing distinctly minor roles.

The fauna from Hayonim Cave appears "typically Natufian" with the usual array of species. However, some qualities of the Natufian faunas of Hayonim Cave are anything but static. Figure 7.5 illustrates substantial changes in the small game index across the five phases of occupation. Here, small game are divided into "slow" (highranked) and "fast" (low-ranked) types, based on the animals' escape mechanisms. Phases I-III (Early Natufian) of the Natufian period show consistently higher proportions of fast to slow small game animals, with the fast types outnumbering the slow types. During Phase IV, at the onset of the Late Natufian, a reversal occurs, and the slow-moving small game fraction increases markedly, to the point where it surpasses the proportion of fast game. The trend continues through Phase V when slow, small prey constituted almost the entire small game fraction (83%).

Figure 7.5 tracks proportions of slow- versus fast-moving small game animals through time, but with small mammal and avian prey as separate categories.

Both types of quick small prey clearly decrease. The importance of absolute changes in Natufian diets for current interpretations necessitates independent verification of observed pattems in the small game fraction. As Figure 7.3 illustrates there is marked stability in the proportions of small game relative to ungulates across the five phases of the Natufian

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used as an independent standard for determining if the shifts in small game use represent absolute or only relative changes. If use of slow game was, in fact increasing, and fast game decreasing in absolute terms, then these trends will also be apparent when slow and fast game are plotted against the ungulates by phase.

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Figure 7.5: Relative abundance of small game types from the five phases of Natufian occupation at Hayonim Cave.

Phases are ordered from oldest to most recent. The Reptilia category includes only tortoises; Aves includes Phasinidae, Falconiformes, and waterfowl; and Mammalia includes only hares.

Figures 7.6 and 7.

7 compare the proportion of slow and fast small game types in comparison to ungulates for each of the five Natufian occupation phases. Figure 7.6 reveals a clear increase in the proportion of slow small game in the Late Natufian, and Figure 7.7 indicates a decline in the use of fast small game. These trends confirm that Natufian hunters from Hayonim Cave increased their off-take of slow small game, and

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Figure 7.6: Proportion of slow small game in relation to ungulates during the five phases of Natufian occupation at Hayonim Cave.

Phases are ordered from oldest to most recent. "Slow small game" includes only tortoise. Ungulates include gazelle, roe deer, fallow deer, red deer, wild boar, wild goat, and wild cattle.

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prey types was more even in the Early Natufian, the period of greatest pressure on easily collected small prey, and less even in the Late Natufian, when pressure lessened, albeit to an as yet undetermined degree.

Although, these patterns are intriguing, there is some difficulty linking stratigraphic layers to their associated temporal phases throughout the cave (see Chapter 3). Thus there may be some question over the accuracy of the phase divisions and the apparent trends. The reliability of the phase subdivisions can be tested to determine if the small game pattern is upheld in those areas of the cave that have the best spatial integrity, with clearly superimposed layers representing multiple phases of occupation. Locus 4 and Locus 8 are ideal candidates for this purpose, because each is clearly bounded by a

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Figure 7.9: Relative abundance of small game types from Locus 6 of the Hayonim Cave Natufian.

Phases are ordered from oldest to most recent. Slow small game (Reptilia) includes only tortoise. Fast small game (Aves and Small Mammals) include partridge, waterfowl, Falconiformes, and hares.

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