Upper Palaeolithic mammoth mega-sites: a dog’s dinner?

The discovery and excavation of Palaeolithic sites with vast quantities of mammoth material is a source of both wonder and considerable academic debate. In particular, the large Upper Palaeolithic localities from eastern Europe with structures made from mammoth bones. However, despite a long history of research the actual process of how these remains were acquired…

Diet breadth in the Middle Stone Age: Evolutionarily important?

The Middle Stone Age (MSA, ca. 300,000 to 30,000 years ago), is a crucial period in terms of the emergence of our species. During this period anatomically Modern Humans evolved and spread out of Africa. A recent study published in Current Anthropology (free access) provides a new perspective on this phenomenon through an investigation of subsistence practices…

A (re)touchy subject: Using bone to shape stone during the Middle Palaeolithic

The use of organic materials, such as bone, wood and antler, has been identified throughout various Lower, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic contexts. Through detailed archaeological investigations and experimental approaches it is has been demonstrated that these objects were frequently used to shape and retouch lithic artefacts. New research published in Quaternary International provides the first…

Who let the hyaenas out? Do we mistake hyaena dens for hominin occupation sites?

Since the first discovery of Pleistocene mammal fauna with lithic tools, the role of carnivores as accumulators at archaeological sites, both modern and during the ice-age, has been well established. The analysis and identification of specific types of carnivore bone surface modification and accumulation patterns during the 1960-1980s advanced our knowledge and understanding of site…