Evidence for skinning and craft activities from the Middle Paleolithic of Shanidar Cave, Iraq

Douglas V. Campana, Pam Crabtree

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Between 1951 and 1960 Ralph S. Solecki excavated the cave of Shanidar, in the Zagros Mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. Layer D, the lower 14 m of deposit, contained more than nine Neanderthal skeletons. Associated with them was a large assemblage of animal bones, predominantly of wild goats, that were the remains of their meals. As was the practice of the time, this faunal assemblage retained only the recognizable skeletal elements and was split among several repositories. This has made modern faunal studies difficult, but a study of the cut-marks is still feasible. We found that a large number of the bones were cut. The cut-marks on the phalanges and calcaneus closely resembled those left on bones by experimental skinning and tendon removal. As pointed out by Binford (1981), these marks point to fine skinning, suitable for making garments. Together with removal of the tendons, this evidence suggests varied craft activities.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)7-14
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
    Volume25
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 2019

    Keywords

    • Butchery-marks
    • Craft
    • Neanderthal
    • Shanidar
    • Skinning

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Archaeology
    • Archaeology

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