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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020 / Bird bones from Trou de Chaleux and the human exploitation of birds during the late Magdalenian in Belgium

Quentin Goffette, Mietje Germonpré, Christine Lefèvre, Jonathan Brecko, Eric Goemaere and Veerle Rots (2020)

Bird bones from Trou de Chaleux and the human exploitation of birds during the late Magdalenian in Belgium

Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 29:102096.

The Trou de Chaleux is a cave site located in Belgium. It delivered a rich late Magdalenian material culture constituted mainly of lithic artefacts but also including bone industries and figurative art. This paper presents the results of the analysis of the large collection of bird remains recovered by E. Dupont in 1865, which was yet unstudied from taphonomical and archaeozoological perspectives. In addition to the taxonomic identification, surface alterations were investigated based on a macro- and microscopic analysis, including an analysis of wear traces and elementary composition. Special attention is devoted to the presence of human modifications such as disarticulation or butchering marks, traces of heating, presence of colourants and traces of bone working. The taphonomic history of the bird assemblage is reconstructed and the use of birds by humans characterized, as well as their importance in past human activities. We also discuss evidence for seasonal exploitation and for reconstructing the local environment and integrate our results with evidence from other Magdalenian assemblages from north-western Europe. At Trou de Chaleux, birds were used for food, as raw material for bone working and for symbolic purposes. The exploitation of avian products was intense, and species have been used for several purposes such as the raven and snowy owl having been exploited both for food and for symbolic reasons. Large bird bones were used as raw material to produce artefacts, but the use-wear analysis did not evidence unambiguous traces related to the use of the objects produced. Despite several limiting factors, the bird material from Trou de Chaleux considerably increases the knowledge of past human exploitation of birds during the late Magdalenian in north-western Europe.

Peer Review, International Redaction Board, Impact Factor
Subsistence, Late Magdalenian, Belgium, Birds, Archaeozoology

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