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A bird's eye view of the Middle Palaeolithic: Avian Fossil Remains and Their Contribution to Neanderthal research in Eurasia

Amos, L (2021) A bird's eye view of the Middle Palaeolithic: Avian Fossil Remains and Their Contribution to Neanderthal research in Eurasia. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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The study of Neanderthal behaviour and ecology has been shaped by the overarching question of Neanderthal cognitive modernity. The debates concerning Neanderthal cultural complexity and subsistence strategies cross paths in the study of birds. Recent research has shed light on the contribution of bird remains as a proxy in interpretations of Middle Palaeolithic diet and behaviour. Additionally, birds function as excellent indicators of past climate and environmental conditions because some species have highly restricted niche requirements. This thesis contributes new information to our understanding of Neanderthal behaviour and ecology across their geographical and temporal range by employing ecological and taphonomic methods to bird remains recovered from five Neanderthal sites: Gorham’s Cave and Devil’s Tower Rockshelter in Gibraltar, Cova Negra, Spain, Scladina Cave, Belgium, and Tabun Cave, Israel. Intra- and inter-site analyses establish that Neanderthals exploited gamebirds and wetland species for subsistence purposes in all five locations. Ecological results indicate that the Neanderthal bioclimatic and habitat niche did not vary by geographic position. Within their niche, Neanderthals efficiently exploited birds as a regular addition to their diet, focussing their efforts on specific taxa. This conflicts with earlier research, which proposed that Neanderthals were incapable of conceptualising the complex strategies necessary for hunting birds and small, fast game.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Archaeology; Neanderthal; Avian taphonomy; Avian taxonomy; Middle Palaeolithic
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2021 08:53
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2023 15:09
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00015514
Supervisors: Jennings, RP, Irish, J, Finlayson, C and Sanchez-Marco, A
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15514
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