Session: #398

Theme & Session Format

2. Archaeological Sciences, Humanities and the Digital era: Bridging the Gaps
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

What Do Animal Bones Have to Offer? Zooarchaeology and Taphonomy during the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic Transition in Southern Europe
One of the most extensively researched Palaeolithic topics revolves around the disappearance of Neanderthals and the subsequent expansion of anatomically modern humans (AMH). This pivotal shift, knowns as ‘Middle to Upper Palaeolithic Transition’ was of particular significance in Southern Europe, where Neanderthal populations survived longer and, at some places, coexisted with the first AMH.
Much research has explored this key transition event, employing the study of archaeological sites occupied by Neanderthals and AMH, with the primary goal of defining and comparing the economic behaviors, technological advancements, and cultural traditions of each group.
Within the context of this discussion, faunal remains have proven to be a unique and ubiquitous window into lifeways of these hunter-gatherer groups. The zooarchaeological and taphonomic analysis plays a pivotal role in elucidating human behaviors and gaining insights into the subsistence and adaptation strategies used to exploit diverse ecological environments.
In this session, we aim to provide a podium for presenting works focused on faunal remains dating to the mentioned period. This encompasses remains of both macro and mesofauna, mammals categorized as "small game", as well as avian, fish, and mollusk remains. We welcome studies with a zooarchaeological and taphonomic approach, offering data on hunting, processing and consumption techniques, and diet composition, alongside experimental approaches. We also invite contributions based on biomolecular analytical techniques such as isotopic and proteomic studies e.g., ZooMS, and the analysis of amelogenin, which can provide fresh and new perspectives on different paleoenvironmental and economic aspects.
The ultimate objective is to foster discussions on the disparities and similarities in the daily economic activities of Neanderthals and AMH, as well as the environmental factors influencing their changes. Additionally, we aim to serve as a starting point for consolidating the latest research findings on animal remains and the future prospects offered by emerging analytical techniques.
Palaeolithic, Southern Europe, faunal remains, zooarchaeology, taphonomy, biomolecular analytical techniques
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:
Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Community (PaM)


Main organiser:
Cristina Real (Spain) 1
Sara Silvestrini (Italy) 2
Lia Vidas (Croatia) 3
Federico Lugli (Germany) 4,5
1. Departamento de Prehistoria, Arqueología e Historia Antigua, Universidad de Valencia
2. Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna
3. Centre for Applied Bioanthropology, Institute for Anthropological Research
4. Institut für Geowissenschaften, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
5. Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia