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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 regional analysis focuses on the intensity of human hunting pressure within the Mediterranean hill zone. Regional trends are investigated from both long- and shortterm perspectives. First, changes in human demography from the Middle Paleolithic to the late Epipaleolithic are reviewed (Stiner et al. 1999, 2000) to pinpoint the conditions that set the Natufian apart from preceding cultural periods. Next, the level of inquiry is restricted to the Natufian period (Early versus Late phases). Results from the Natufian sites in the sample are combined to provide a more detailed picture of regional demography during both the Early and Late Natufian phases. Though the analyses center on prey relative abundance and mortality profiles, some prey species are better suited than others for addressing local versus regional variation in the distribution of human populations. These animals include gazelle, which are best suited for regional analyses, and small game species such as hare, partridge, and tortoise, which are especially informative on a local scale.

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home range of prey species. Small game such as tortoises, hares, and partridges have small territories, thrive at high densities in the absence of predator pressure, and are expected to be captured close to home because they provide limited caloric returns and so are unworthy of search and transport over long distances. The relative proportions of different small game animals captured by humans thus record the local impact of human populations. In contrast, gazelle and other ungulate populations occupy large home ranges that are more likely to intersect with the seasonal rounds of multiple groups of human foragers. Changes in the intensity of gazelle hunting by humans are therefore expected to better reflect regional pressure on animal resources. This should be detectable in the relative proportions of gazelle to small game, and in the age profiles and butchering intensity of gazelle and other ungulate species.

Predicted Human Impacts on a Local Scale: Small Game Site occupation intensity is a function of any or all of the following: length of stay, frequency of visits, and size of the resident population at a site per unit time. All else being equal, the impact of a site's inhabitants on local resources will increase with site use intensity. Short-term, ephemeral occupations are expected to lightly impact local prey populations, as newcomers should initially rely on more desirable (cost effective), high-ranked species and move away when they are no longer sufficiently abundant to meet the needs of the human population. As site occupation intensity increases and prey availability decreases with continued exploitation, the demand for alternative prey will also increase and ultimately alter the ratio of high- and low-ranked species captured and

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requirements of the local population, lower ranked species must be added to human diets.

Different levels of site occupation intensity are thus expected to produce assemblages with varying proportions of key prey types. Low intensity occupations should create assemblages with higher proportions of high-ranked prey taxa than intensive occupations.

Because small game taxa possess a wide range of reproductive and escape strategies, they show great variation in their responses to predator pressure. Though small game are an under-studied component of Paleolithic and other assemblages (but see Davis 1989; Davis et al. 1994; Pichon 1984, 1991; Stiner et al. 1999, 2000; Tchemov 1984, 1991, 1993), they can greatly inform our interpretations of human settlement strategies and local hunting intensity.

Relative species abundance in Levantine archaeo faunas varies with time, but three small prey types dominate in Paleolithic faunal assemblages. The Mediterranean spurthighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) is a slow-moving reptile (Chelonia) whose low population resilience is attested to by the population simulations presented in Chapter 6.

The ease with which tortoises can be captured by humans earn them the highest rank of the small game species used in the Paleolithic Levant. Hares (Lepus capensis) and chukar partridges {Alectoris chukar) use rapid flight to evade predators. Without special tools, the capture of these animals requires a significant energy investment, and both species thus receive a low ranking. Once included in a predator's diet, however, both hare and partridge populations are noteworthy for their great resilience. They provide a reliable resource base under intense hunting conditions if capture costs can be overcome.

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turnover (recovery) rates, and low-ranked partridge and hare populations have the fastest population timiover rates. The pairing of these characteristics heightens the contrasting effects of human hunting pressure on small prey populations. Even low-tumover tortoise populations can comfortably sustain modest culls, and significant depletion is unlikely to occur under low hunting intensity. As hunting intensity increases, tortoise populations will soon decline. The depression of such high-ranked prey populations gives way to a shift to lower ranked partridges and hares by hunters. The relative abundances of tortoises, hares, and partridges in archaeofaunas provide a simple yet elegant gauge for detecting change in site use intensity. The small game index used here pits the absolute abundance (NISP) of the high-ranked tortoises against that of low-ranked partridges and hares (high-ranked species/high-ranked species + low-ranked species) on a scale from 0 to 1. Based on the predictions laid out earlier in this chapter, it is expected that under conditions of low site occupation intensity, the small game index will be rich in tortoises and closer to a value of one. The index value will decrease as the intensity of site occupation increases due to prolonged stays, increased population size, or a combination of the two and assemblages will be richer in partridges, hares, or both.

The small game index does not provide absolute answers. It cannot, for example, be used to compute for how many consecutive days and by how many people an archaeological site or prehistoric landscape was occupied. But it does have the power to trace the relative intensity of land use on a local scale across space and time. It can thus identify synchronic differences in site occupation intensity within a region, as well as

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more quantitative dimension to current conceptions of sedentism and population pressure;

moreover, it allows us to go beyond static interpretations of human demography; an important step toward refining models of agricultural origins.

Predicted Human Impacts on a Regional Scale: Hunting Pressure and Human Demography in the Mediterranean Zone The region-level analyses investigate the impact that humans had on their environments across the Mediterranean hill zone, commonly considered the "core area" (cf Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen 1989) of the Natufian adaptation and home to the sites studied here. As explained above, regional pressure is best investigated via changes in preferred large-bodied species (e.g., ungulates). Such species occupy larger territories that are more akin to the scales at which humans use landscape than the territories of smaller-bodied mammals.

Relative changes in the impact of Natufian groups on regional resources are evaluated first by comparison to earlier Paleolithic cultures in the region, and then within the Natufian period itself Regional pressure on ungulate resources should be expressed as "depression" of prey populations as a result of human hunting. Resource depression can be detected partly fi-om a decrease in the ratio of low-ranked (small-bodied) to highranked (large-bodied) species selected by hunters but, more importantly, by distortions in the age structures of hunted prey populations. Region-level pressure is also explored with reference to the butchering intensity of gazelle carcasses and the average body size of low-turnover tortoise populations.

The proportion of large ungulates to small game reflects the availability of large

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humans are forced to compensate by increasing their consumption of low-ranked prey, either smaller bodied animals or those with higher capture costs, or both. In the case of either a regional reduction in large game availability or increased human demands, hunters must increase their consumption of smaller animals in compensation. Thus, increased proportions of small game in archaeofaunas, in effect, what Flannery (1969) referred to as a "broad spectrum economy", are expected to result from the failure of large game sources to meet the demands of human populations.

The relationship between age profiles of gazelle and the average body size of tortoises hunted by the Natufians is a good indicator of regional hunting pressure. Both of these high-ranked species should be preferred by human hunters because they provide high returns in relation to pursuit costs. Both also have relatively low rates of population turnover, the tortoise having the lowest of all. Their population structures are more sensitive to human hunting pressure. If human exploitation exceeds annual recruitment, the prey population will destabilize, fall well below carrying capacity, and enter a protracted growth mode. The proportion of juveniles will be inflated in the population as females maximize productivity. For gazelle populations, this effect will be recorded in the age structure of the hunted population based on tooth eruption and wear and fusion data; the number of juveniles in the living population will increase as will their frequency in the hunted assemblage (see Chapter 8). For tortoises, which grow more continuously through life, an increase in the proportion of young individuals will be expressed as a decrease in the average body size of the hunted population. This impact will be

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decrease in the average body size in the archaeological assemblages. Finally, gazelle butchery practices may also reflect the intensity with which the Natufians utilized animal carcasses in response to the degree of hunting pressure that human populations placed on ungulate populations. Though it can be more elusive than other indicators, butchering intensity is examined through the examination of body part representation and bone damage (see Chapter 5).

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This study centers on faunal remains from the Natufian layer of Hayonim Cave, a multicomponent site in the western Galilee of the southem Levant. Hayonim Cave is particularly appropriate for large- and small-scale diachronic comparisons because it contains Paleolithic assemblages from several cultural periods (Mousterian, Aurignacian and Kebaran), and because of the thick Natufian layer that preserves considerable temporal resolution. For practical reasons, taphonomic studies of the Natufian were limited to the approximately 20,000 specimens collected from both the Early and Late Natufian layers from Hayonim Cave. Archaeofaunal assemblages from three additional Natufian sites were examined to provide a broader regional representation of Natufian subsistence and settlement strategies in the core region of the southem Levant. Each of the sites ~ Hilazon Tachtit, el-Wad Cave, and Hayonim Terrace - is located in the Mediterranean zone of the western Galilee. This sample provides a platform from which broader shifts in Natufian demography can be assessed at site and regional levels.

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Natufian settlement and subsistence, the data reveal provocative trends in site occupation intensity and shifts in regional human population density within the Natufian period.

Published data from earlier Paleolithic occupations in the Levant and other Natufian sites in the Mediterranean region and beyond are consulted for comparison.

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This research is presented in ten chapters, commencing with the preceding discussion of the research problem and its general theoretical basis. Specifically, Chapter 2 presents a review of the paleoecology of the southern Levant during the Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene, with special emphasis on climatic change, the role of the Younger Dryas, and its implications for faunal reconstructions during the Natufian period. The sites in the study sample, their faunal assemblages, and the history of research for each site and the Natufian period in general are summarized in Chapter 3.

Chapters 4 and 5 examine the taphonomic histories of the archaeofaunal assemblages from Hayonim Cave, and to the extent that sample size allows fi-om Hilazon Tachtit. Taphonomic studies are limited to these two sites because they are the only assemblages for which a thorough analysis of bone damage, body part representation, and fragmentation was feasible. Chapter 4 establishes which species were collected and used by humans as opposed to other bone collectors and addresses the impact of in situ attrition in assemblage formation, according to frequencies of bone damage and the differential representation of skeletal portions. This chapter is a crucial first step in the

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carcasses at Hayonim Cave and Hilazon Tachtit are detailed in Chapter 5. Prey body part profiles, fragmentation indices, and fi-equencies of bone damage are examined to establish the habitual methods of prey transport, butchery, and consumption by Natufian foragers.

An evaluation of the intensity of prey carcass processing follows as an offshoot of these studies.

Next, the prey simulation models originally developed by Stiner et al. (1999,

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