Late Pleistocene Environments and Hominin Ecology at Schafstall Rock Shelter in Southwestern Germany. An Archaeological Study based on E. Peters’ Excavations (1934-1948) and New Fieldwork

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Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2021-02-22
Language: English
Faculty: 7 Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Geographie, Geoökologie, Geowissenschaft
Advisor: Conard, Nicholas (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2020-07-24
DDC Classifikation: 930 - History of ancient world to ca. 499
Keywords: Archäozoologie , Schwäbische Alb , Laucherttal , Jungpaläolithikum , Mittelpaläolithikum , Ausgrabung
Other Keywords:
Swabian Jura
Middle and Upper Palaeolithic
Lauchert Valley
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The University of Tübingen has a century old tradition of archaeological research on the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic sites of the Swabian Jura, in Southwestern Germany. Over the past decades extensive research has revolved around the rich archaeological record of the Ach and Lone valleys. However, the role played by other sites located along the river valleys that crossed the Danube, especially those in the southwestern part of the Swabian Jura, remains poorly understood and much of the archaeological work relative to this area is limited to pioneering excavations that were carried out during the first half of the 20th century. In this framework, we decided to resume research at the rock shelter site of Schafstall in the Lauchert Valley along the Upper Danube. The site consists of two contiguous areas, named Schafstall I and Schafstall II, which were excavated in the 1940s by Eduard Peters yielding Middle Palaeolithic and Aurignacian artefacts. Unfortunately, all the excavation documentation as well as part of the finds went missing during the Second World War, but a recent study on the surviving lithic remains from Schafstall II highlighted the presence of Aurignacian tools possibly associated with human remains. Our goal was to review the magnitude of the archaeological record and to assess the extent and intensity of occupation and the types of activities carried out by hominids during the Middle and Upper Paleolithic in this part of Swabia. The results of the zooarchaeological study on the large faunal remains from the old excavations reveal clear differences in faunal composition and in bone damage patterns between Schafstall I and II that reflect distinct activities in the two areas of the site. Stone tool technology and radiocarbon determinations indicate a strong Middle Palaeolithic signature for the archaeological assemblage of Schafstall I which contrasts with the dominant Aurignacian component of the assemblage from Schafstall II. This study also highlights apparent inconsistencies in the archaeological data between the old and new excavations of Schafstall II that may be explained by the preferential use made by hominids of the area of the site closer to the rock face and by the varying level of exposure of the different site areas to the action of geological and post-depositional processes.

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