Early Upper Paleolithic bone processing and insights into small-scale storage of fats at Vale Boi, southern Iberia

Manne, Tiina (2014) Early Upper Paleolithic bone processing and insights into small-scale storage of fats at Vale Boi, southern Iberia. Journal of Archaeological Science, 43 1: 111-123. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2013.12.003


Author Manne, Tiina
Title Early Upper Paleolithic bone processing and insights into small-scale storage of fats at Vale Boi, southern Iberia
Journal name Journal of Archaeological Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0305-4403
1095-9238
Publication date 2014-03-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jas.2013.12.003
Volume 43
Issue 1
Start page 111
End page 123
Total pages 23
Place of publication Camden, London, United Kingdom
Publisher Academic Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Highlights
• Upper Paleolithic ungulate remains are tested for evidence of bone-grease rendering.
• Density-mediated attrition of only ungulate post-cranial skeletons are apparent.
• Zooarchaeological and taphonomic evidence demonstrates grease-rendering.
• Portable and energy-rich, bone fats were a significant resource for mobile foragers.
• Vale Boi represents one of the earliest cases of grease rendering in Eurasia.

The Upper Paleolithic site of Vale Boi in coastal, southwestern Portugal currently represents one of the earliest known cases of grease-rendering in Eurasia, with initial occupation of the site occurring during the early Gravettian at ~28,000 BP. Already by this time, Vale Boi foragers were intensively processing ungulate carcasses by rendering grease from their bones. Zooarchaeological evidence of grease rendering includes extensive fragmentation of red deer and equine remains, abundant evidence of impact features on specimens and a lower proportion of preserved grease-rich skeletal portions. Comparisons of red deer and horse bone portions with density assays and utility indices suggest that ungulates at Vale Boi were systematically processed for their marrow and bone grease. The early onset of grease-rendering at Vale Boi, in addition to heavy rabbit exploitation may have been spurred by ungulate communities unable to support human consumer-demand on their own. However, the continued practice of grease-rendering at Vale Boi over the course of the Upper Paleolithic may also be closely related to the significance of bone fats for mobile hunter–gatherers – as a highly valued, storable and easily-transportable resource.
Keyword Upper Palaeolithic
Iberia
Bone-grease rendering
Storage
Zooarchaeology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online 18 December 2013

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
 
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Created: Sun, 26 Jan 2014, 13:37:32 EST by Tiina Manne on behalf of School of Social Science