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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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Other potential biases in the Hayonim Terrace data may have been introduced by the rapid analytical methods employed in the compilation of the data. Because elements were counted quickly, rare ungulate species such as roe deer and wild goat may be underrepresented in the sample. Moreover, because the assemblage is highly fragmented, and the portions of other small ungulate elements are morphologically similar to gazelle, it is possible that some rare taxa were mistakenly classified as gazelle. Again, because the proportions of these species are so low to begin with, this is not expected to introduce any significant bias to the results reported here. Roughly 10,000 identifiable specimens were tallied from the Hayonim Terrace collection.

Hiiazon Tachtit Thorough excavation procedures were followed at Hiiazon Tachtit, including, proveniencing in 50 by 50 centimeter units in 5 centimeter spits; piece plotting significant finds in three dimensions; dry screening through 2 millimeter mesh; and wet sieving and picking of washed sediments for additional artifacts and microfauna. A sample of 2000 identifiable bones was recovered from the first three seasons of excavations. The assemblage is described here for the first time, but will continue to grow as excavations continue at the site. Though the microfauna is excluded from this analysis, a sizable sample has also been recovered.

el-Wad The history of archaeofaunal research at el-Wad is as long as its excavation record. Dorothy Bate, an original member of Garrod's team, analyzed the assemblage

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gazelle/fallow deer index originated from the study of the el-Wad assemblage as well as from the fauna recovered from at other Mt. Carmel Caves including the Tabun and Jamal Caves. Bate employed changes in the ratios of fallow deer to gazelle through time as an indicator of climatic shifts from wet (higher proportions of fallow deer) to dry conditions (higher proportions of gazelles). Though widely used during succeeding decades. Bate's index is not as popular today, because it fails to consider the cultural filter and its influence on ungulate ratios in archaeological sites. Unfortunately, the large faunal sample from Garrod's excavations carmot be considered here, largely because of the standards of excavation and recovery favored at the time. Until at least the 1950s, excavations in the Near East were consumed with reconstructing cultural sequences; thus, as was the norm for the day, only diagnostic bones from large mammals were collected by Garrod and analyzed in Bate's study.

Valla and Bar-Yosefs test excavations in the mid 1980s were carried out with much greater precision, and though recovery was excellent, sample sizes from each of the three Natufian layers are simply too small to use for comparison. The sample was fully analyzed by Tchemov, with the exception of the avifauna, which have not been identified to species (Valla et al. 1986). The full spectrum of common Natufian species are present, and gazelle and hare are especially common. A report on the fauna from the current excavations on el-Wad Terrace is included in a recent dissertation by Guy Bar-Oz (2001).

A larger sample of identifiable fauna was recovered by Weinstein-Evron during her excavations in Chamber III in the late 1980s. This assemblage was analyzed by

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identified and counted by myself for inclusion in this study. During the analysis of the small game fraction, additional hare bones were found mixed in with the other small game species. These were added to Rabinovich's (1998) counts, and explain any inconsistencies between the totals reported here and those in her original report. In total

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This research uses faunal remains as a tool to address the economic decisions and predator-prey population dynamics of Natufian foragers. Before human behavior can be examined, it must be established that the patterns observable in the archaeofaunal record were, in fact, generated by past human actions. Both the collectors of faunal assemblages and the effects of in situ attrition will be documented in this chapter. The collectors are those agents that transported and deposited bones in the sites of interest. Bone collectors include animals such as rodents, but are most often predatory animals such as raptors, mammalian carnivores, and humans, who capture prey and transport carcasses to a safe place for consumption. In situ attrition refers to the decomposition of skeletal materials by chemical or mechanical processes following their deposition. These processes may selectively remove bones or portions thereof from an assemblage. The range of processes encompassed by the term "in situ attrition" as it is defined here include chemical decomposition, weathering, root etching, and rodent or carnivore activity. Human-caused bone attrition including trampling, burning, and other activities, will be discussed independently in the next chapter. Only after establishing that prey skeletons were collected by humans and eliminating biases following human disposal, can accurate

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The field of taphonomy is based largely on observations from actualistic research, including but not limited to ethnographic analogy and experiments. Actualistic research explores potential links between taphonomic agents and the damage they leave on animal remains. Analogues drawn from actualistic studies can then be compared with a skeletal blueprint to derive expectations for archaeofaunal assemblages under a specific range of conditions. Comparisons of natural standards to archaeological data allow the analyst to determine what bones are missing from an archaeological assemblage and which processes most likely removed them. Despite the strength of recent research and a growing comparative database, taphonomic methods are far from infallible, due largely to the fact that a variety of processes acting alone or in combination can produce similar end results (equifinality). Because, it is easy to get lost in the mass of taphonomic information, or be misled by a false sense of precision, this chapter focuses on questions whose resolution is most relevant to the research problems at hand. They include identification of the collectors of prey bones and the processes and effects of in situ attrition, as well as basic information pertinent to understanding human transport and butchering activities discussed in the next chapter. Each questions is addressed using a series of independent tests to limit problems of equifinality.





Of the four assemblages examined here, detailed taphonomic information was recorded only for the Hayonim Cave and Hilazon Tachtit assemblages. The other assemblages were included in the study to test a narrower range of questions. The majority of the following discussion thus focuses on these two cave sites. Limestone

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sediment that may cover and protect bones. However, other properties of cave sediments and their potential inhabitants create their own biases that may confound interpretations of archaeofaunal remains. The origin of very small animals is particularly problematic because some species inhabit caves and also die there (Andrews 1990; Brain 1981).

Predators of small animals, such as foxes, raptors, and owls, also commonly roost or den in caves and may contribute bones to the archaeological record by transporting prey or depositing their remains in pellets or scats.

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Though the high clay content of sediments in the Mediterranean hills is destructive to carbonized plant remains, it is conducive to the preservation of bone in most Natufian open air and cave sites. Over the course of this research I analyzed fauna from the Hayonim Cave and Hilazon Tachtit assemblages in detail, excavated a portion of the Natufian layer at both sites, and viewed the depositional conditions firsthand.

Overall, the quality of preservation is very good at these sites. Bones representing a full range of structural densities {sensu Lyman 1984, 1994), sizes and forms have been recovered intact from Natufian deposits. Bone specimens appear fresh, with crisp, clean features that are easy to recognize. Still, the bones do have a distinctly "archaeological" appearance, primarily due to manganese oxide blackening on much of the Hilazon assemblage (ca. 50%), and patchy staining on bones from Hayonim Cave.

The bone assemblages are extensively fractured. Most complete elements are

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the identification of even the smallest fragments, provided they retain anatomically diagnostic features. In general, the color of the firacture surfaces matches that of the bone's exterior, indicating that breakage took place in antiquity. The much lighter coloration of new breaks (those occurring during excavation or later) are immediately obvious but uncommon. At both caves the sediment matrix is loose and soft and adheres only lightly to bone surfaces. Bones were easily cleaned of sediment by gentle scrubbing with either dry or wet brushes. In sum, the Natufian cave assemblages are in fine macroscopic condition, their surfaces are easily viewed, and despite heavy fragmentation yield a high proportion of identifiable pieces.

Only the fauna fi-om the open air site Hayonim Terrace differs fi-om this pattern.

Bones from this assemblage were encased in a concreted carbonate matrix that adhered tightly to bone surfaces. The concretions were removed in a bath of weak acetic acid under the supervision of R. Rabinovich in the Department of Ecology, Systematics and Evolution at the Hebrew University, though there were many instances where they could not be completely dissolved. Because bone mineral is also susceptible to acids, the benefits of this cleaning method are limited and not without risks. When present, the concretions on the Hayonim Terrace material entirely obscure the bone's exterior.

Removal of concretions revealed remarkably well preserved surfaces and clear bone features.

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about collecting agents must be addressed independently for specific prey taxa. Both large and small animals are suspected to have been captured by human hunters, yet body size plays a major role in their differential treatment by bone collectors. Since a predator's choice of prey is partly affected by body size and carcass treatment is influenced by the size of prey bones, the collection of large game (ungulates and carnivores) and small game ( reptiles, birds, fish and small mammals) are addressed separately. This chapter thus investigates biases in the representation of animal taxa, skeletal elements, and bone portions in a multi-stage process. It is possible to determine which agents were the primary collectors of the assemblages by comparing categories of bone damage that are most clearly diagnostic of humans and non-human carnivores. The impact of in situ attrition is evaluated by examining natural categories of bone damage, as well as the representation of skeletal parts relative to differential bone mineral densities.

Primary and Derived Counting Units Several quantification methods are employed in the following analyses, depending on the nature of the question, and include both primary and derived measures.

NISP, or the number of identifiable specimens, is a primary counting unit representing the number of bones in an assemblage that can be classified to taxon and element. A specimen refers to any bone or tooth fragment, complete or not (Grayson 1984), and is not to be confused with the term element, which refers only to complete bones or teeth.

The use of NISP can be problematic if used to compare the relative abundances of taxa and body parts within a single assemblage. Complete skeletons from different animal

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are more subject to fragmentation than others (Grayson 1978, 1984). Because NISP does not account for fragmentation or taxonomic variation in skeletal composition, comparisons of the relative abimdances of taxa and body parts may be biased. On the other hand, this problem can be largely circumvented if the taxonomic composition and fragmentation histories of the assemblages being compared are similar, as is the case here. In this study, specimens were identified to the most specific taxonomic level possible, and maximum length was measured. If a bone could not be identified to genus or species, it was assigned to a broader taxonomic group, defined according to general taxonomic and body size criteria (e.g., small ungulate, large mammal). Articulated elements are rare in the assemblages, but, when present, were recorded as separate units, with physical associations noted. This includes mandibles and maxillae with teeth intact.

Because bones and teeth have distinct mineral properties, it is important to quantify them separately (Stiner 1994: 238), particularly in analyses of skeletal attrition. NISP values are used in this chapter to compare relative frequencies of bone damage, and later to compare the relative abundance of prey taxa.

Derived counting units include MNE (minimum number of skeletal elements), MNI (minimum number of individuals) and MAU (minimum number of animal units).

Though these derived measures facilitate comparisons between taxa and body parts, they introduce their own quantitative biases due to the way they are derived from primary counting units. Moreover, tallies may vary depending on whether or not variables such as side, sex, body size, or age are taken into account, or how an assemblage is subdivided

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aggregation error, since each value is rounded up to the next whole number, in accordance with complete biological structures (Grayson 1978, 1984). Because of the many techniques available to calculate derived measures, the methods used in this study are laid out below.

MNE is a derived counting unit representing the minimum number of elements that can account for all specimens of that element from a particular taxon. In this study MNE is calculated by counting morphologically unique bone portions and diagnostic landmarks specific to each element. The frequency of each bone portion or feature in the assemblage is tabulated and compared, and the most common portion defines the MNE.



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