Caldeirao cave (Central Portugal) - whose home? Hyaena, man, bearded vulture...

Simon J. M. Davis, Isabelle Robert, Joao Zilhao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

Abstract

Caldeirao cave, 140 kilometres north east of Lisbon, was excavated by Joao ZILHAO during the 1980s. The cave contains a sequence of Late Pleistocene-Holocene levels with associated cultural remains belonging to the Mousterian, early Late Palaeolithic, Solutrean, Magdalenian and Neolithic cultures. The associated faunal remains, all recovered by sieving, include ungulates (most are red deer, equids and goat), carnivores and rabbits. The problem we address here is who accumulated the animal bones - man, animal or both? Several criteria including those originally recommended by KLEIN (1975) are applied to the succession of assemblages. They indicate a change in the course of the cave's occupation. Several large carnivores - spotted hyaena, bear, wolf, leopard, and lion - were relatively common in the older periods, but subsequently became scarcer. Similarly coprolites, partially digested bones, and the presence of juvenile ungulates are more abundant in the earlier levels. Bum marks on bones are more common in the later levels as are the ratio lithics-to-bones and the relative abundance of unidentifiable bone fragments. We interpret these changes in terms of a replacement of large carnivores by man as the dominant occupant of the cave in the course of time. We caution that the Bearded vulture may also have played a small but significant role in the earlier levels.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLATE NEOGENE AND QUATERNARY BIODIVERSITY AND EVOLUTION: REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS AND INTERREGIONAL CORRELATIONS, VOL II
EditorsRD Kahlke, LC Maul, PPA Mazza
Place of PublicationFRANKFURT
PublisherSenckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft
Pages213-226
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-3-510-61390-8
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Event18th International Senckenberg Conference - Weimar, Germany
Duration: 20 Apr 200425 Apr 2004

Conference

Conference18th International Senckenberg Conference
CountryGermany
CityWeimar
Period20/04/0425/04/04

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