A zooarchaeological contribution to establish occupational patterns at Level J of Abric Romaní (Barcelona, Spain).
In recent decades, many research questions focus on occupational patterns in the Middle Palaeolithic. Many discussions on that topic address the temporal resolution of formation of assemblages and the character of palimpsests that can be frequently observed at archaeological sites. The Abric Romaní site (Barcelona, Spain) is a good example to analyze questions related to temporal resolution of the human occupations. This site is filled by a succession of travertine platforms of rapid formation, which clearly separate different archaeological levels. With the objective of characterizing the settlement patterns developed at this site, a combination of zooarchaeological and spatial data from Level J (sublevels Ja and Jb) is presented here. On one hand, primary and immediate anthropogenic accesses to the carcasses (mainly horses and red deer) and well-established patterns of animal processing are observed. On the other hand, these activities are always developed around hearths of inhabitable areas. From a nutritional perspective, faunal refits suggest synchronic relationships between the different activity areas and, therefore, the anthropic occupation of the total surface of the rock-shelter during the formation of Level J. However, this certain synchrony is combined with the presence of other elements, such as overlapped hearths, which show a succession of several occupations with the same settlement patterns. In this way, Level J of Abric Romaní could be understood as the succession of several occupations formed by groups that maintained the same traditions through time. From this perspective, the aim of this paper is to improve data to understand the settlement patterns and the social organization systems of the Neanderthal groups during MIS 3.
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