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A reconstruction of Palaeolithic hunting techniques

Through the study of hunting strategies during the Palaeolithic era we can understand how new techniques and ideas were spread in relation to the physical movement of people or the assimilation of ideas. Researchers used new multidisciplinary and methodological approaches to expand our knowledge on the subject.
A reconstruction of Palaeolithic hunting techniques
The PALEOHUNT (The reconstruction of hunting techniques as an instrument to understand the diffusion of populations and ideas in European Palaeolithic) project undertook three challenges. First, it set out to reconstruct changes in hunting strategies during the European Upper Palaeolithic by analysing stone tools and bone points.

Second, the project compared data from different archaeological sites for an improved understanding of the significance of the different regional facies. Finally, the last goal was to understand the modalities and timing of the spread of new techniques and ideas, related to either physical movement of people or assimilation of ideas.

The project incorporated three methodological approaches: an ethnographic survey used to understand hunting techniques and mobility among prehistoric hunters; a techno-functional analysis of lithic and bone industries; and a residue analysis and chemical composition of worked material (vegetal or animal). It used the same multidisciplinary approach to compare data from different archaeological projects.

A comparative analysis of the hunters' equipment from the principal Moravian Gravettian sites in the Czech Republic and the Grotta Paglicci site in Italy was done during the project's main phase. This helped determine if tools share morphological and functional characteristics and their link to hunting in different natural environments.

The project analysed 104 bones and antler tools found in Italy, looking at their aspects related to hunting. The antler points were made with red deer antler. Researchers highlighted the necessity to investigate the possibility of commerce or exchange of antler tools, especially towards the other side of the Adriatic.

Furthermore, researchers collected, analysed and compared different materials found in the Czech Republic with materials from Italy, which allowed a number of important considerations about Palaeolithic hunting techniques. Collaboration with an expert on mammoth tusk was crucial for advancement of the study.

Throughout the project, special attention was given to methodology for the analysis of residues on lithic and bone projectile points. Particular attention was given to the study of poisons, resulting in the creation of a database of best-known toxic plants.

Project results were presented in different conferences in England and Spain, while various papers and articles were submitted and accepted for publication in the Quaternary International journal.

Related information


Palaeolithic, hunting techniques, movement of people, assimilation of ideas, PALEOHUNT, archaeological
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