Strontium isotope evidence for migration in late Pleistocene Rangifer: Implications for Neanderthal hunting strategies at the Middle Palaeolithic site of Jonzac, France

Kate Britton (Corresponding Author), Vaughan Grimes, Laura Niven, Teresa Steele, Shannon McPherron, Marie Soressi, Tegan Kelly, Jacques Jaubert, Jean-Jacques Hublin, Michael Richards

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62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In order to understand the behaviours and subsistence choices of Palaeolithic hunter–gatherers, it is essential to understand the behavioural ecology of their prey. Here, we present strontium isotope data from sequentially-sampled enamel from three reindeer (Rangifer tarandus ssp.) and a single bison (Bison cf. priscus) from the late Middle Palaeolithic site of Jonzac (Chez-Pinaud), France. The results are used to investigate the ranging and migratory behaviours of these important prey species. We found that the bison had isotope values most consistent with a local range, while the three reindeer had values indicating a seasonal migration pattern. Due to the similarity of the patterning of two of the three reindeer and in conjunction with zooarchaeological results, we suggest that they may have been from the same herd, were likely killed around the same point during their seasonal round and may therefore be the product of a single hunting event or a small number of successive hunting events. The isotope analyses complement the zooarchaeological data and have allowed greater insight into the palaeoecology of these species, the palaeoenvironment, and Neanderthal site use and hunting strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-185
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume61
Issue number2
Early online date16 Apr 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

Keywords

  • stable isotope analysis
  • sequential sampling
  • reindeer
  • bison
  • migration
  • middle palaeolithic

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