The site of Abri du Maras, Ardèche, France provides a rich body of evidence of Neanderthal behaviour at the beginning of MIS 4. The excellent preservation at the site resulted in a large amount of animal bones and stone tools. These stone tools have been examined for the presence of residues. These residues can then be related to different types of use, although this is not always very straightforward. The authors of this study, published in Quaternary Science Reviews, identified a wide range of residues. For example fish residues and rabbit hairs were identified, and their presence is confirmed through the faunal assemblage. Other residues such as mushrooms, plants, wood and the presence of twisted fibres (which are related here to making string) will need further study to be confirmed more securely. However, this paper provides a thought-provoking insight in the wide range of resources that Neanderthals exploited and the amount of organic material that might have perished.
Reference: Bruce L. Hardy, Marie-Hélène Moncel, Camille Daujeard, Paul Fernandes, Philippe Béarez, Emmanuel Desclaux, Maria Gema Chacon Navarro, Simon Puaud, Rosalia Gallotti. 2013. Impossible Neanderthals? Making string, throwing projectiles and catching small game during Marine Isotope Stage 4 (Abri du Maras, France)
Quaternary Science Reviews, Volume 82, 15 December 2013, Pages 23–40