Investigating the spatio-temporal dimension of past human-elephant interactions: a spatial taphonomic approach

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/114217
http://dx.doi.org/10.15496/publikation-55592
http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:21-dspace-1142176
Dokumentart: Buch (einzelnes Kapitel)
Date: 2021-04-14
Source: Tuebingen Paleoanthropology Book Series – Contributions in Paleoanthropology Band 1: Human-elephant interactions: from past to present
Language: English
Faculty: Tuebingen Paleoanthropology Book Series – Contributions in Paleoanthropology Band 1: Human-elephant interactions: from past to present
Other Keywords: proboscideans
palimpsest
taphonomy
spatial analysis
spatial taphonomy
statistical inference
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Inhaltszusammenfassung:

Human-proboscidean interactions are key nodes of complex ecological, cultural and socio-econom- ic systems. In the last decades, evidence has been provided in support of an early human exploitation of proboscidean carcasses, offering further insights into past human behaviors, diet and subsistence strategies. Nevertheless, the mode of acquisition of the carcasses, the degree of exploitation, its timing relative to carnivore scavenging and to the decom- position of the carcass, its ecological and socio-eco- nomical role are hitherto not fully understood and a matter of debate. By summarizing the empirical evidence for human-elephant interactions in Early and Middle Pleistocene open-air sites of western Eurasia, this contribution elaborates on the need for a more rigorous, spatially explicit inferential procedure in modeling past human behaviors. A renewed analytical approach, namely spatial ta- phonomy, is introduced. In its general term, spatial taphonomy refers to the multiscale investigation of the spatial properties of taphonomic processes. Building upon a long lasting tradition of tapho- nomic studies, it seeks for a more effective theoret- ical and methodological framework that accounts for the spatio-temporal dimension inherent to any complex system. By bridging into a spatio-tempo- ral framework the traditional archaeological, geo- archaeological and taphonomic approaches, spatial taphonomy enhances our understanding of the processes forming archaeological and palaeonto- logical assemblages, allowing a finer comprehen- sion of past human behaviors.

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