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Taphonomic perspectives on the subsistence patterns of late Paleolithic hunter-gatherers in Northeast Asia (China, Japan)

Posted on:2006-04-09Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New BrunswickCandidate:Norton, Christopher JFull Text:PDF
I carry out the first taphonomic analysis of two important upper Pleistocene faunal assemblages in Northeast Asia: Hanaizumi (Japan) and Zhoukoudian Upper Cave (China). A number of important results are derived from this taphonomic study. First, since the 1950s when the Hanaizumi faunal collection was originally discovered and collected it has been interpreted to have been a hominin kill site. Even though this taphonomic study supports the argument for primary access by hominins to the ubiquitous bison remains at the site, it is proposed here that the procurement likely occurred upstream and as a result of fluvial processes, the partial bison carcasses were later transported to the Hanaizumi site. The Zhoukoudian Upper Cave faunal assemblage suffers from preferential retention in that many postcranial specimens disappeared from the collection over the course of the past 70 years leaving a bone accumulation dominated by cervid cranial elements. Even with presence of this bias, it is argued here that taphonomically-sound interpretations could still be derived from the Zhoukoudian Upper Cave faunal collection in terms of determining hominin access to cervid remains (i.e., primary vs. secondary access to the carcass). Both of these taphonomic studies serve to form the foundation for addressing questions related to the evolution of modern human behavior in East Asia. Further analysis of the Tategahana, Nojiriko (Japan) and Xujiayao (China) faunal collections will further develop taphonomic research in East Asia where it has traditionally received minimal attention vis-a-vis the western Old World.
Keywords/Search Tags:Taphonomic, Asia, Japan, Zhoukoudian upper cave, Faunal, China
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