Impossible Neanderthals? Making String, Throwing Projectiles and Catching Small Game During Marine Isotope Stage 4 (Abri du Maras, France)
Neanderthal behavior is often described in one of two contradictory ways: 1) Neanderthals were behaviorally inflexible and specialized in large game hunting or 2) Neanderthals exhibited a wide range of behaviors and exploited a wide range of resources including plants and small, fast game. Using stone tool residue analysis with supporting information from zooarchaeology, we provide evidence that at the Abri du Maras, Ardèche, France, Neanderthals were behaviorally flexible at the beginning of MIS 4. Here, Neanderthals exploited a wide range of resources including large mammals, fish, ducks, raptors, rabbits, mushrooms, plants, and wood. Twisted fibers on stone tools provide evidence of making string or cordage. Using a variety of lines of evidence, we show the presence of stone projectile tips, possibly used in complex projectile technology. This evidence shows a level of behavioral variability that is often denied to Neanderthals. Furthermore, it sheds light on perishable materials and resources that are not often recovered which should be considered more fully in reconstructions of Neanderthal behavior.
Hardy, Bruce and al., Et, "Impossible Neanderthals? Making String, Throwing Projectiles and Catching Small Game During Marine Isotope Stage 4 (Abri du Maras, France)" (2013). Quaternary Science Reviews 82. Faculty Publications. Paper 19.
Quaternary Science Reviews