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Burning wood or burning bone? A reconsideration of flotation evidence from Upper Palaeolithic (Gravettian) sites in the Moravian Corridor

Burning wood or burning bone? A reconsideration of flotation evidence from Upper Palaeolithic (Gravettian) sites in the Moravian Corridor
Burning wood or burning bone? A reconsideration of flotation evidence from Upper Palaeolithic (Gravettian) sites in the Moravian Corridor
This paper compares archaeobotanical and other data from new excavations at two Upper Palaeolithic sites — Dolní V?stonice II and P?edmostí I — in the Moravian Corridor, Czech Republic. Both contain the traces of broadly contemporary ‘Gravettian’ occupations during the warmer episodes of the Pleistocene which preceded the last glacial maximum. Yet their archaeobotanical remains show striking differences — those from Dolní V?stonice II being dominated by large quantities of conifer wood charcoal, while those from P?edmostí I are much more scanty and dominated by vitrified plant remains, in association with large quantities of burnt bone. We argue that these differences between these two datasets arise from different uses of fuel at either site: bone at P?edmostí I and wood at Dolní V?stonice II. Subsequently, we explore the possible reasons for this difference and argue that once likely taphonomic distinctions are accounted for, these data on fuel use offer fresh insights into the functions and durations of these Upper Palaeolithic occupations of the Moravian corridor and some possible implications for how archaeobotanical data from such sites should be interpreted.
upper palaeolithic, dolní v?stonice, p?edmostí, archaeobotany, vitrification, burnt bone, taphonomy
0305-4403
2799-2811
Beresford-Jones, D.
559cde2a-f4cc-4567-8f83-f7a1d8802527
Johnson, K.
e80e1836-f26a-4b37-b84b-f2a91610449f
Pullen, A.
aea7536a-b3f2-43a7-ab03-aec7734a0063
Pryor, A.J.E.
89319cf1-8e96-4cfe-80a4-daf21713a7f5
Svoboda, J.
0331194a-e216-48a0-a110-d8e99fc3ef59
Jones, M.
cf34ab48-f4e0-40d8-9ce5-8f3b9cfe236e
Beresford-Jones, D.
559cde2a-f4cc-4567-8f83-f7a1d8802527
Johnson, K.
e80e1836-f26a-4b37-b84b-f2a91610449f
Pullen, A.
aea7536a-b3f2-43a7-ab03-aec7734a0063
Pryor, A.J.E.
89319cf1-8e96-4cfe-80a4-daf21713a7f5
Svoboda, J.
0331194a-e216-48a0-a110-d8e99fc3ef59
Jones, M.
cf34ab48-f4e0-40d8-9ce5-8f3b9cfe236e

Beresford-Jones, D., Johnson, K., Pullen, A., Pryor, A.J.E., Svoboda, J. and Jones, M. (2010) Burning wood or burning bone? A reconsideration of flotation evidence from Upper Palaeolithic (Gravettian) sites in the Moravian Corridor. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37 (11), 2799-2811. (doi:10.1016/j.jas.2010.06.014).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper compares archaeobotanical and other data from new excavations at two Upper Palaeolithic sites — Dolní V?stonice II and P?edmostí I — in the Moravian Corridor, Czech Republic. Both contain the traces of broadly contemporary ‘Gravettian’ occupations during the warmer episodes of the Pleistocene which preceded the last glacial maximum. Yet their archaeobotanical remains show striking differences — those from Dolní V?stonice II being dominated by large quantities of conifer wood charcoal, while those from P?edmostí I are much more scanty and dominated by vitrified plant remains, in association with large quantities of burnt bone. We argue that these differences between these two datasets arise from different uses of fuel at either site: bone at P?edmostí I and wood at Dolní V?stonice II. Subsequently, we explore the possible reasons for this difference and argue that once likely taphonomic distinctions are accounted for, these data on fuel use offer fresh insights into the functions and durations of these Upper Palaeolithic occupations of the Moravian corridor and some possible implications for how archaeobotanical data from such sites should be interpreted.

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Accepted/In Press date: 17 June 2010
e-pub ahead of print date: 25 June 2010
Published date: November 2010
Keywords: upper palaeolithic, dolní v?stonice, p?edmostí, archaeobotany, vitrification, burnt bone, taphonomy
Organisations: Archaeology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 385704
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/385704
ISSN: 0305-4403
PURE UUID: 8d89ffb0-de13-4b72-9e58-2b85068ff980

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Date deposited: 21 Jan 2016 11:52
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 19:55

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Contributors

Author: D. Beresford-Jones
Author: K. Johnson
Author: A. Pullen
Author: A.J.E. Pryor
Author: J. Svoboda
Author: M. Jones

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