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Yolanda

Ferna´ndez-Jalvo
The Natural History Museum,
Cromwell Road, London
SW7 5BD, U.K., and Museo
Nacional de Ciencias
Naturales, José Gutiérrez
Abascal, 2, 28006-Madrid,
Spain
e-mail: yfj@mnch.csic.es
J. Carlos Dı ´ez
Dept. Ciencias Históricas,
Fac. Humanidades,
Universidad Burgos, Ctra.
Villadiego s/n, 09001 Burgos,
Spain
Isabel Ca´ceres
Area de Prehistoria (Unidad
de Investigación Asociada al
CSIC), Universitat Rovira i
Virgili, Pl. Imperial Tarraco,
1, 43005-Tarragona, Spain
Jordi Rosell
Area de Prehistoria (Unidad
de Investigación Asociada al
CSIC), Universitat Rovira i
Virgili, Pl. Imperial Tarraco,
1, 43005-Tarragona, Spain
Received 1 October 1998
Revision received
15 December 1998
and accepted 25 April 1999
Keywords: cannibalism, Early
Pleistocene, ‘‘Aurora
Stratum’’ Atapuerca, Gran
Dolina, human remains,
human behaviour, Homo
antecessor, taphonomy.
Human cannibalism in the Early
Pleistocene of Europe (Gran Dolina,
Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain)
Human remains belonging to at least six individuals were found in an
exploratory excavation made at the site of Gran Dolina (Sierra de
Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain). These remains were recovered from the
Aurora Stratum of Unit TD6. This stratum has a thickness of
approximately 30 cm. The area of the exploratory excavation is about
7 m
2
. According to palaeomagnetic analyses, Unit TD6 shows
reversed polarity, which is considered to belong to the Matuyama
chron. This unit is immediately below TD7, where the Matuyama–
Brunhes boundary has been detected, indicating an age of around
780,000 years BP.
There is no specific distribution, treatment, or arrangement of the
human remains, which were found randomly mixed with abundant
faunal remains and stone tools. Most of the faunal and human fossil
bones from the Aurora Stratum have human induced damage. Stone
tool cutmarks are frequent, and peeling (a type of fracture similar to
bending a fresh twig between the hands) provides a specific breakage
pattern together with percussion marks and chopmarks. Both non-
human and human remains show similar intensive exploitation. Slight
differences, however, have been observed between fauna and humans
(e.g., peeling frequent in humans, rare in fauna), that appear related
to different musculature, weight, and bone structure. The character-
istics of this fossil assemblage suggest that it is solely the result
of consumptive activities as there is no evidence of ritual or other
intention. The possibility of distinguishing between dietary vs.
survival cannibalism is discussed here.
1999 Academic Press
Journal of Human Evolution (1999) 37, 591–622
Article No. jhev.1999.0324
Available online at http://www.idealibrary.com on
Assessing cannibalism
Cannibalism has been documented in
several different human groups and civili-
zations through time, based on written
references, oral tradition or remains of
the victims. Many myths, tales and
legends narrate acts of cannibalism involv-
ing real or fictitious creatures. Although
the term cannibalism derives from the
Caribbean peoples, references to cannibal
practices have been mentioned all over
the world in both prehistoric and historic
periods.
0047–2484/99/090591+32$30.00/0 1999 Academic Press
Human cannibalism in anthropology and
palaeontology is a controversial topic that
provokes contradictory reactions. During
the middle of the ninteenth century the
influence of Darwin’s Origin of the Species
induced important reactions in science. The
first human like fossils discovered in the
Neander Valley (Germany, 1856 ca. 40–
50 ka) were considered from an anthropo-
centric point of view—everything was made
by and for hominids. Contrary beliefs were
that the ancient humans were ‘‘barbarian
savages’’ and ‘‘cannibals by definition’’. The
first report of cannibalism (Gorjanovicˇ-
Kramberger, 1909) was made soon after the
discovery of hominid remains at Krapina
(Croatia 1895–1905, ca. 130 ka). Claims of
cannibalism were gradually linked with
‘‘cults of skulls’’ in the 1930s with the dis-
covery of skulls in Steinheim (Germany,
1933, ca. 250 ka), Monte Circeo (Italy,
1939, ca. 50 ka), and Zhoukoudian (China
1928–1937, ca. 400–500 ka). These re-
mains, whose cranial bases were missing,
were considered to be remains of cannibal-
istic feasts at which the brains had been
consumed. However, later studies have
shown that the lack of the cranial base is
common since this part of the skull is fragile.
Raymond Dart thought that the lack of
the front teeth on a specimen of Australo-
pithecus (Makapansgat 1948, ca. 3 m.y.a.),
and broken long bones, demonstrated some
manner of violent death. Again, taphonomic
studies showed that this damage was not the
result of cannibalistic practices, but was
caused by hyaenas seeking fat-rich marrow.
Subsequent discussions of cannibalism
have been characterized by either permissive
tolerance (e.g., Blanc, 1961) or extreme
criticism (Arens, 1979) and disapproval of
cannibalism claims. Several authors have
demanded more scientific rigour (e.g.,
Jacob, 1972; Binford, 1981; Askenasy,
1994).
In his book The Man-eating Myth: Anthro-
pology and Anthropophagy, Arens (1979),
presents an exhaustive analysis of claims for
cannibalism in several societies at various
times. His main conclusion was that there
is no convincing evidence for human canni-
balism (except for survival in extreme
conditions of starvation). This work was
particularly important at the time since so
many uncritical publications had previously
accepted that cannibalism was practised by
many tribes and ancestors. However, Arens,
as well as his followers, neglected or ignored
some of the best evidence. Since 1979,
taphonomic studies of bone remains have
demonstrated the validity of a number of
claims for cannibalism. It is not our inten-
tion to review the literature related to
historic cannibalism. Discussions among
social anthropologists and extensive compi-
lations of cannibalism claims can be found
in Binford (1981), Villa et al. (1996a,b),
Villa (1992), White (1992) and Turner &
Turner (1995).
Cannibalism, in spite of the origin of the
word, occurs not only in humans but also in
many other species that use it as a means of
population control, a source of food, or as a
sign of authority and strength by the domi-
nant member. Cannibalism occurs among
various orders of mammals, insects and
birds, and there are some accounts of such
occurrences among omnivorous primates
(Bygot, 1972; Goodall, 1979), and bears
(Kurt,1976). A cannibal is therefore defined
as a person or animal that eats any type
of tissue of another individual of its own
kind.
Cannibalism cannot be established on
the sole basis of cutmarks. This is the case
for Bodo (Ethiopia, ca. 600 ka) and
Goughs’s cave (England, ca. 12 ka). White
(1985) and Cook (1986) studied these
sites, respectively, and could not reach
conclusive interpretations. Remains from
both sites bear undeniable cutmarks,
indicating that the skeletons were inten-
tionally defleshed, although not necessarily
eaten.
592 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
Some of the functional types of potential
human cannibalism are:
( 1) Nutritional
(a) incidental: survival (periods of food
scarcity or due to catastrophes, i.e.,
starvation-induced).
(b) long duration: gastronomic or dietary
(humans are part of the diet of other
humans).
( 2) Ritual, magic, funerary (in relation to
beliefs or religion).
( 3) Pathological [mental disease: parapathic
defined by Reverte (1981); for politi-
cal reasons, as referred to by Zheng Yi
(1997), in China].
These functional types of cannibalism
have also been sub-divided into social
divisions that include aggressive (consuming
enemies) vs. affectionate (consuming friends
or relatives), or endocannibalism (consump-
tion of individuals within the group) vs.
exocannibalism (consumption of outsiders).
The identification of nutritional, as
opposed to ritual, cannibalism, is based on a
combination of indicators, the main cri-
terion being the comparison of human and
animal remains from the same archaeologi-
cal context. According to Villa et al.
(1986a), these indicators are:
similar butchering techniques in human
and animal remains. Thus frequency,
location and type of verified cutmarks
and chopmarks on human and animal
bones must be similar, but allowance
should be made for anatomical differ-
ences between humans and animals;
similar patterns of long bone breakage
that might facilitate marrow extraction;
identical patterns of post-processing dis-
carding of human and animal remains;
when applicable, evidence of cooking; if
present, such evidence should indicate
comparable treatment of humans and
animal remains.
However, when human and nonhuman
animal remains are found in separate con-
texts, with different patterns of exploitation
and distribution, ritual or some other
interpretation should be considered as an
alternative cause of cannibalism (Villa et al.,
1986a; Villa, 1992; White, 1992; Turner &
Turner, 1995).
Figure 1. Map of the Iberian Peninsula. The black arrow points out the location of the sites, near the town
of Burgos.
593 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
18
–450
–650
Transversal section TD6
D
e
p
t
h

(
c
m
s
)
16 17
–475
–500
–525
–550
–575
–600
–625
Aurora Stratum
(a)
I
H
G
16 17 18
N
Fauna Hominids Stone tools
W
a
l
l
Trench Section
(b)
594 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
Sierra de Atapuerca, Gran Dolina site,
TD6—‘‘Aurora Stratum’’
The site of Gran Dolina belongs to the
southern part of the karstic site complex of
the Sierra de Atapuerca. This is a small
mountain, 1079 m above sea level, 15 km
from the town of Burgos in northern central
Spain (Figure 1). The area is in the Duero
Basin, bounded by the Demanda mountain
range to the east and by the Arlanzón River
to the south. The Gran Dolina site is one of
seven sites systematically excavated in this
area since 1980. Six of these sites are pres-
ently exposed in an abandoned railway
trench, which was opened at the beginning
of the twentieth century.
Gran Dolina is an 18 m-thick cave infill-
ing. Eleven sedimentary levels have been
distinguished in the sequence, many of them
yielding abundant fossil fauna assemblage,
as well as many stone implements, both of
which have provided important information
on human behaviour (Carbonell et al.,
1995a). An exploratory excavation of the
whole section, from the uppermost zone of
the stratigraphical sequence to the base of
the infilling, has been made since 1992.
Human remains have been recovered from a
distinctive stratum of the unit TD6 named
‘‘Aurora’’ [Figure 2(a)], after the archaeolo-
gist who discovered the first human fossils at
TD6, Aurora Martı ´n Nájera. It is a 30 cm-
thick layer that slopes down towards the
southwest.
The human remains from Gran Dolina
The Gran Dolina TD6 site has recently
yielded human remains of six individuals
found mixed together with stone tools and
nonhuman fauna remains (Carbonell et al.,
1995b). These humans come from the sub-
unit Aurora Stratum in particular. Their age
is more than 780 ka (Parés and Pérez-
González, 1995). These human fossils have
been assigned by Bermúdez de Castro et al.
(1997) to the new species Homo antecessor.
The first human remains were discovered in
1994, and were soon afterwards recognized
as having been cannibalized (Fernández-
Jalvo et al., 1996). As the exploratory exca-
vation of the Aurora Stratum has finished, it
is now possible for a detailed taphonomic
analysis of the fossil of this subunit to be
undertaken, as well as reconstructing the
processes of the site formation (Díez et al.,
1999). We will discuss in this paper the
evidence that may allow us to specify the
type of cannibalism (nutritional vs. ritual),
and whether it is possible to distinguish
between dietary and survival cannibalism.
Results of the present study are then com-
pared with sites that have also been tapho-
nomically analysed and where modern
methods of excavation have been used, as in
Atapuerca TD6. These study areas and sites
are Fontbre´goua (France—Neolithic—Villa
et al., 1986a,b), Mancos (from Colorado—
AD 1100–1150—White, 1992) and
throughout the Southwest Amerindian area
(Arizona) by Turner & colleagues, 1970–
1999. It has to be kept in mind, however,
that the ages of these sites are not compar-
able to the Aurora Stratum, and, therefore,
social attributes and behaviours cannot
readily be inferred or considered analogous.
Furthermore, the number of human remains
from the Aurora Stratum (92 NISP) and
the excavated area (7 m
2
) are smaller than
Figure 2. (a) Transversal section (E–W) of the prospective excavation area at TD6 (Gran Dolina) showing
the findings of the unit. Notice the high fossil density on top of the unit TD6 identifying the Aurora
Stratum. (b) Aerial plan of Aurora Stratum showing the excavation coordinates; G-H-I (from South to
North of the excavation) and 16-17-18 (from West to East of the excavation). Note that humans, fauna
and implements are randomly dispersed throughout the excavation area.
595 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
Table 1 Identified human specimens from Aurora Stratum
Label Age Element Area Side Individual
ATD6-1 Juvenile Tooth Canine Lower left I
ATD6-2 Juvenile Tooth Incisor Left l2 I
ATD6-3 Juvenile Tooth Premolar Right LP3 I
ATD6-4 Juvenile Tooth Premolar Right LP4 I
ATD6-5 Juvenile Mandible Body Right side (M1-M3) I
ATD6-6 Juvenile Tooth Canine Right lower I
ATD6-7 Juvenile Tooth Premolar Right UP3 I
ATD6-8 Juvenile Tooth Premolar Right UP4 I
ATD6-9 Juvenile Tooth Premolar Left UP4 I
ATD6-10 Juvenile Tooth Molar Right UM1 I
ATD6-11 Juvenile Tooth Molar Left UM1 I
ATD6-12 Juvenile Tooth Molar Right UM2 I
ATD6-13 Juvenile Maxilla Alveolar Left I
ATD6-14 Inf. Maxilla Alveolar Left (dc-dm1) II
ATD6-15 Juvenile Skull Frontal Right
ATD6-16 Juvenile Skull Temporal Right
ATD6-17 Adult Skull Temporal Right
ATD6-18 Skull Petrous-temporal Left
ATD6-19 Adult Skull Zygomatic arch Right
ATD6-20 Skull Parietal Left
ATD6-21 Juvenile Radius Diaphysis Left
ATD6-22 Adult Patella Complete Left
ATD6-23 Adult Carpal Distal Hamate (left)
ATD6-24 Adult Carpal Complete Capitate
ATD6-25 Adult Metatarsal Proximal end Mtts. 2–3 left
ATD6-26 Adult Metacarpal Distal condyle 2 mtcp., left
ATD6-27 Adult Phalange Diaphysis Hand, 1 phal.-finger 2–3
ATD6-28 Adult Phalange Complete Hand, 2 phal.
ATD6-29 Adult Phalange Distal Hand, 1 phal.
ATD6-30 Adult Phalange Complete Foot, 1 phal. toe 1, right
ATD6-31 Adult Phalange Complete 1 phal. finger 1
ATD6-32 Adult Phalange Distal Foot, 1 phal.
ATD6-33 Adult Phalange Complete Foot, 2 phal. toe 2, left
ATD6-34 Adult Phalange Complete Foot, 2 phal. toe 2–3
ATD6-35 Adult Phalange Complete Foot, 2 phal. toe 4–5
ATD6-36 Adult Phalange Distal apical tuber. Foot, 3 phal.
ATD6-38 Juvenile Vertebra Body Lumbar
ATD6-39 Adult Rib Complete
ATD6-40 Juvenile Vertebra Spinous process Thoracic
ATD6-43 Juvenile Radius Diaphysis Left
ATD6-44 Juvenile Phalange Diaphysis Hand, 2 phal.
ATD6-45 Adult Vertebra Transverse process Lumbar
ATD6-46 Adult Phalange Prox.+diaphysis Hand, 2 phal
ATD6-48 Juv-ad Tooth Crown Left lower incisor 2 IV
ATD6-49 Juvenile Maxilla
ATD6-50 Juvenile Clavicle Complete Right
ATD6-51 Adult Vertebra Complete Cervical
ATD6-52 Juv-ad Tooth Incisor Left lower l1 V
ATD6-53 Juvenile Phalange Complete Hand, 2 phal.
ATD6-54 Inf. Vertebra Lamina Axis
ATD6-55 Inf. Clavicle Lateral Left
ATD6-56 Juvenile Patella Complete Right
ATD6-57 Juvenile Skull Temporal
ATD6-58 Adult Skull Zygomatic+maxilla Left
ATD6-59 Adult Metacarpal Dist.+diaphysis 2 mtcp. left
596 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
some of the sites with which they will be
compared.
Materials and methods
Accessory experimental work
Two of us (IC and JR) were involved in
butchering the carcass of a chimpanzee that
had recently died. It was provided by the
local Animal Protection Association of
Tarragona (Spain). We found that skinning,
dismembering and defleshing this animal
helped us to understand better some of the
cuts observed on the human remains from
the Aurora Stratum.
We experimented with flakes made from
limestone, quartzite, Cretaceous flint and
Neogene flint, the different raw materials
used at Atapuerca to make the stone tools
associated with the Aurora Stratum fossils.
Two lamb forelimbs were butchered by one
of us (YFJ), using implements made with
these four types of stone. Analyses of this
Table 1 Continued
Label Age Element Area Side Individual
ATD6-60 Adult Skull Pterion Left
ATD6-62 Juvenile Skull Crista galli Ethmoid
ATD6-63 Adult Mandible Mental protuberance
ATD6-64 Juvenile Clavicle Diaphysis Right
ATD6-66 Adult Rib Prox.+diaphysis
ATD6-67 Inf. Phalange Dist.+diaphysis Hand, 1 phal.
ATD6-68 Juvenile Phalange Complete Foot, 3 phal.
ATD6-69 Juvenile Maxilla Alveol-frontal process (L P3, M1-M3 & R I2-M1) III
ATD6-70 Adult Metatarsal Distal epiphysis 2 mtts left
ATD6-71 Skull Frontal?
ATD6-72 Juvenile Skull Frontal?
ATD6-73 Adult Skull Fragment Indet
ATD6-74 Inf. Vertebra Body Thoracic
ATD6-75 Adult Vertebra Lamina Cervical
ATD6-76 Juvenile Femur Prox.+diaphysis
ATD6-77 Adult Skull Occipital condyle
ATD6-78 Juvenile Skull Frontal?
ATD6-79 Adult Rib Head+diaphysis
ATD6-80 Adult Vertebra Lamina Cervical
ATD6-81 Juvenile Skull Sphenoid
ATD6-82 Adult Phalange Dist.+diaphysis Hand, 1 phal.
ATD6-84 Juvenile Skull Zygomatic arch
ATD6-85 Adult Rib Diaphysis
ATD6-87 Adult Skull Parietal
ATD6-88 Adult Rib Head+diaphysis ii–iii
ATD6-89 Adult Rib Diaphysis ix–x
ATD6-90 Juvenile Vertebra Complete Atlas
ATD6-91 Adult Skull Apophysis mast.+temp.
ATD6-107 Adult Metatarsal Ep. prox.+diaph.
ATD6-108 Adult Rib Diaphysis i
ATD6-206 Adult Rib Head+diaphysis
ATD6-251 Juvenile Rib Diaphysis
ATD6-307 Vertebra Body Thoracic
ATD6-308 Rib Head
ATD6-308 Rib Diaphysis
ATD6-309 Adult Vertebra Lamina Cervical
ATD6-312 Inf. Tooth Incisor Left Ul2 VI
597 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
experiment are in progress and the results
will be published soon.
Fossil assemblage
The human collection of TD6-Aurora
Stratum consists of 92 fossils that include
dental, cranial and postcranial elements
(Table 1). Nonhuman faunal remains from
TD6-Aurora Stratum have also been studied
following identical methods of analysis.
Results from this analysis have been in-
cluded in a separate paper (Díez et al., 1999)
to interpret site formation processes.
Spatial co-ordinates (X, Y, Z) are noted
during excavation for every fossil, stone tool,
coprolite, concretion, limestone rock (bigger
than 10 cm), small mammal accumulation,
or artefact, and plotted on to a map. Slope,
orientation, measurements and descriptions
are noted for a given square. Animal remains
have been labelled according to the square
where they were found and the related
number of the find, whereas human fossils
have been labelled with ATD6- followed by
the number of the specimen [Figure 2(b)].
All sediment were wet screened (from
5–0·5 mm mesh). Fossils recovered during
the 1994 season were systematically
immersed in a preservative solution
(Paraloid, a synthetic resin). The use of
preservative may cause problems for the
analysis of cutmarks or superficial damage
using scanning electron microscope (SEM).
This problem was anticipated, so fossils
were examined in the field laboratory
through a binocular light microscope before
treatment. This revealed that the highly
mineralized condition of the TD6 fossils
made it unnecessary to strengthen them, so
immersion in perservative was discontinued.
The fossil collection from the Aurora
Stratum (faunal and human) was examined
with the aid of a Leica Wild MZ8 from 6·3
to 50 binocular microscope. Some speci-
mens were analysed using scanning electron
microscopy (SEM). Two different SEMs
were used. A Philips XL20 housed at the
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales
(Madrid) and an ISI ABT55 SEM fitted
with an environmental chamber, operating
in the back-scattered electron emission
mode at 20 kV, which is housed at The
Natural History Museum (London). This
type of microscope enables specimens to
be directly analysed with no necessity for
coating (Taylor, 1986), and it has been
extensively used.
High-resolution replicas were made using
EXAFLEX CG Injection type. Positive
replicas were then made using an epoxy
resin (Nural-23). These replicas were coated
with gold-palladium and analysed using the
Philips XL20 secondary electron emission
mode at a standard accelerating voltage of
10 kV.
Identification of anatomical elements
Each human fossil has been identified as
follows:
body part;
segment and portion (diaphysis, proximal
end, and distal end; complete; lateral;
body; process; arch);
age (juvenile/adult/infantile) determined
from dental eruption and wear, as well as
epiphyseal fusion and bone texture.
The large mammal faunal composition,
identified in TD6 Aurora Stratum are as
follows, H. antecessor, Mammuthus sp., Ursus
sp., Canidae indet, Vulpes sp., Panthera sp.,
Felis sp., Muselidae indet, stenoid Equus,
Stephanorhinus etruscus, Cervus elaphus,
Megaloceros sp., Dama dama sp., Capreolus
sp., Sus scrofa, Bison sp (Garcı ´a and van der
Made, pers. com.). Anthropologists from
the Atapuerca research team identified the
human remains (listed in Table 1). The
minimum number of individuals has been
calculated to be six according to detailed
dental analysis (Bermúdez de Castro, pers.
com.).
598 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
With regard to the rest of the fauna, we
have been working according to the follow-
ing size classes: small (<115 kg), medium
(115–350 kg), large (>350 kg) (see Díez
et al., 1999 for site formation). For the
analysis performed on the faunal remains to
identify the site formation processes, the
human collection and ‘‘possible Homo’’
have been assigned to the small size class.
The relative abundances of skeletal ele-
ments have been calculated by comparison
with the expected numbers of each element
multiplied by the minimum number of
individuals.
Fracture
Length/width/thickness were measured on
all fossils with a micrometry calibre.
Peeling. This was described by White
(1992) and Turner & Turner (1999).
Peeling is a type of fracture that occurred
frequently in the Mancos assemblage and
has also been seen in the Aurora Stratum
fossil assemblage. It is defined as a rough-
ened surface with parallel grooves or
fibrous texture produced ‘‘when fresh
bone is fractured and peeled apart similar
to bending a small fresh twig from a tree
branch between two hands’’ (White,
1992:140). Peeling was recorded as
present/absent for each fossil.
Percussion pits. These are pits of variable
sizes and depths (Leroi-Gourhan &
Brezillon, 1972; Blumenschine &
Selvagio, 1988). They are considered to
be the impact point where a stone or any
solid matter struck the bone cortex and
scarred the surface. Percussion pits are
usually accompanied by abrasions and
scratches caused by friction of the bone
against the stone raw material that
hammered it, or the anvil surface where
the bone was resting when it was struck.
Scratches may occur inside the pits as
well as the surrounding area [Figure
3(a)], with all scratches having the same
direction. These pits and striae have been
named ‘‘percussion striae’’ (White,
1992), ‘‘contrecoup’’ or ‘‘hammerstone/
anvil scratches’’ (Turner, 1983). These
pits and scratches were recorded as
present/absent.
Adhering flakes. This term refers to bone
flakes that adhere to the fracture surface
of a specimen. Curving incipient fracture
lines, often hairline, which are subparallel
to the fracture edge, set off these flakes.
This condition was also recorded as
present/absent.
Conchoidal percussion scars have been
described and measured, following the
nomenclature traditionally used in lithics
(deep, marginal, cortical direct, inverse,
medular flake, cortical flake, concave,
convex, straight).
Tool-induced surface modification
Description of the cut emplacement on the
bone (metaphysis, epiphysis, diaphysis,
articular area) and arrangement (distribu-
tion: isolated marks/grouped/generalized
and orientation: oblique/transversal/
longitudinal) were recorded for every cut-
mark, chopmark or scrapemark, according
to the size of the mammalian species.
Lengths of striations have also been
measured (maximum and minimum lengths
when sets of cuts occurred).
Cutmarks. Incisions or slicing marks have
been analysed separately from saw cuts.
Incisions or slicing marks were differenti-
ated according to Schick & Toth (1993)
as: incisions made with a flake edge without
retouching, edge retouched on one face, and
edge retouched on both faces [see Figures
3(b) and 3(c).
Microscopic morphology of cutmarks is
not the only discriminating trait from other
types of nonhuman induced striations.
Cutmark arrangement (position and
number of marks), placement on the ele-
ment (e.g., muscle and ligament attach-
ments), as well as the species affected,
599 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
are additional factors (Fernández-Jalvo
et al., 1999; Olsen & Shipman, 1988), that
may also indicate the objective of the
processing activity (dismembering, deflesh-
ing, skinning).
Chopmarks. These marks are the result of
striking the bone surface with a sharp stone
tool, leaving a deep, wide V-shaped scar.
The action is related to cutting strong
muscle attachments or dismembering.
600 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
White (1992) states that the definition of
chopmarks is ambiguous and is rather simi-
lar to percussion pits because both are the
result of directed blows on the bone. White
suggests that when percussion by a V-edged
hammer stone fails to crack a bone, a
V-shaped pit may result, which is similar to
a chopmark. Percussion blows are applied
directly to the bone (the stroke is transmit-
ted through the bone) with the main inten-
tion being to break it, while chopmarks
occur when the bone is still covered by
soft tissue that absorbs the blow. Hence,
chopmarks are probably related to dis-
membering activities. Consequently, per-
cussion blows leave a much rougher and
less regular internal form than that seen in
chopmarks.
Scraping marks. These are the result of
periosteal and muscle removal by scraping
the bone surface. This activity leaves a con-
centrated series of parallel and superficial
striations on a broad area of the bone
[Figure 3(d)]. When scraping-marks occur
on long bones, they usually run parallel to
the longest axis of the bone. Scraping marks
have been experimentally obtained by a vari-
ation in the angle of the flake edge when a
tool is positioned oblique rather than per-
pendicular to the bone (Delpech & Villa,
1992) but the width of the area affected is
more reduced and a single incision can be
recognized [Figure 3(e)].
Figure 4 shows the % of survival (Brain,
1969) represented at Aurora Stratum
%Si=(MNEi/NixMNI)100,
where %Si=percentage of survival of ele-
ment i, MNEi is the Minimum Number of
Element i found in the sample, Ni is the
expected number of element i in the
skeleton, and MNI is the Minimum
Number of Individuals, which has been
estimated at six based on dental traits.
Results
The human sample
The minimum number of elements, and the
percentage of survival are represented in
Figure 4. Phalanges, isolated teeth, meta-
podials, ribs and vertebrae are the most
common elements as these are the most
abundant elements in the human skeleton
(56 phalanges, 32 teeth, 20 metapodials, 24
ribs and 24 vertebrae). The completeness of
anatomical elements is shown in Table 1.
Figure 3. (a) Scanning electron micrograph. ATD6-97. Detail of an impact notch or percussion mark
showing scratches made during percussion. Several indications suggest this is a percussion mark (to break
the bone already defleshed, for marrow extraction) instead of a chopmark (to dismember a bone still
covered by meat). Scratches surround the impact mark indicating that the bone was already clean of meat.
Cut-marks are interrupted by the impact mark, indicating that dismembering and filleting already
occurred. Finally the impact mark appears parallel to the broken edge of the bone fragment suggesting that
this was a failed try. (b) Scanning electron micrograph. ATD6-55 Infant clavicle and incisions made by an
non-retouched flake edge. Notice the lateral irregularities have been recorded only along one side of the
cut (right in this case), caused by resistance of the bone to the cut friction, and displaced bone on the side
of the striations. The lateral shoulders or ‘‘herzinian cones’’, in this case still attached to the bone
(indicated by a black arrow), are directionality criteria. (c) Scanning electron micrograph. G17, n. 212
fragment of long bone of unidentified species. The typical X shape is produced by a stone tool edge
retouched at both sides. The irregularity of the edge produces an X in a single motion as the angle of the
tool changes during the cutting stroke (see Schick & Toth (1993)). (d) Scanning electron micrograph.
H16, n. 166. Long bone fragment of a medium-sized animal showing abundant striations on the surface.
The fragment was longitudinally broken, but in this case, striations are not associated to impact marks.
These are scraping marks and they are associated with grease extraction or periosteum removal. (e)
Scanning electron micrograph. Scraping mark obtained when a tool incises obliquely rather than
perpendicularly on the bone surface. Note the scraped area is more reduced and a single incision can be
recognised.
601 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
No complete cranial element (skull vault,
mandible or maxilla) has been found in the
Aurora Stratum. Teeth are the only com-
plete elements of the cranial skeleton,
excepting incisor ATD6-48, which is badly
broken. There are very few complete ele-
ments from the axial skeleton. One cervical
vertebra and one rib of an individual,
together with the atlas and a clavicle of a
juvenile individual, are complete. Similarly,
only two patellae represent complete limb
elements. The skeletal parts with more com-
plete elements are hands and feet (mainly
foot phalanges).
The fragment dimensions of the Aurora
Stratum human fossil assemblage are
shown in Table 2. Despite the differences
in natural size of these anatomical ele-
ments, averages of the different fragments
appear to us to be sufficiently similar to
suggest that there was an intense breakage
activity that led to a high degree of element
destruction.
Human modification of human fossil bones
Breakage of the human bones could not be
analysed using Villa & Mahieu’s (1991)
methodology because it is based on long
bones. As there are very few of these ele-
ments (one fragment of femur and two
radii fragments), the resulting values
obtained when applying Villa and Mahieu’s
P
h
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60
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NMI = 6
%

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Human anatomical elements
16
2
0 0
2
0 0
1
0 0
16
16
2
2
0 0 0
3
5
2
3 4
3
1
Figure 4. Percentage of survival circles (lines) and Minimum Number of Elements (black bars) of the
human remains recovered from Aurora Stratum.
Table 2 Fragment dimensions
Crania
Range
(mm)
Mean
(mm) S.D.
Length 10–76 35 17
Width 8–45 20 12
Thickness 4–25 10 6
Axial
Length 24–256 69 63
Width 10–68 24 15
Thickness 5–23 15 11
Arms/legs
Length 36–220 95 25
Width 16–42 26 8
Thickness 4–20 4 6
Hands/feet
Length 11–128 30 77
Width 5–33 16 12
Thickness 4–26 10 5
602 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
methodology were unreliable. Our qualita-
tive fracture analysis, however, considers
peeling, percussion marks, conchoidal scars
and adhered flakes (Table 3).
Crania. Heads are mainly represented by
various skull fragments, two small fragments
of mandible and four fragments of maxillae.
The most complete specimens are a frontal
fragment (ATD6-15) and a left zygomatic
arch attached to a complete maxilla (ATD6-
69). Nuchal skull bones are commonly
affected by fracture (e.g. percussions,
adhered flakes). The sides of the cranial
vault are heavily cutmarked (e.g. temporal
processes, occipital condyles and at pterion)
corresponding to the biggest muscle attach-
ments, such as sternocleidomastoid. The
other group of cranial elements affected by
cutting and percussion is the face (jaws and
zygomatic arches), which also has various
firm muscle attachments. Only two small
mandible fragments were in the assemblage.
Peeling and scraping marks occur on one of
them (ATD6-63), indicating dismembering
and removal of the periosteum and overlying
tissue from the fragment.
A small temporal bone fragment (ATD6-
16) shows a concentration of cutmarks run-
ning along the ridge where the sternocleido-
mastoid muscle attaches, joining the head
and the trunk [Figure 5(a)], though it does
not show traces of human breakage. On the
contrary, the face of a juvenile individual,
specimen ATD6-69 represents a good
example of fracture induced by humans
[Figure 5(b)]. This specimen (ATD6-69)
shows strong impact marks along the zygo-
matic bone and the orbital margin of the left
side, and fracture edges also bear adhered
flakes. Apart from that, the bone is heavily
cutmarked, with long and intersecting inci-
sions that affect several muscle attachments
(nasalis, buccinator, levator labii superioris,
levator anguli oris, and zygomaticus
minor). The type of cutmarks observed on
ATD6-69 suggest incisions and sawing
motions, with the former extended all over
the face, probably to cut the levator muscles,
and the second type (sawing), concentrated
on the orbits and base of the zygomatic arch,
associated with the position of origin of the
masseter muscle. Most zygomatic arches
from the Aurora Stratum are fractured, as
they are in human remains from Native
American sites and Fontbre´goua. White
(1992) suggests that this patterned breakage
is the result of either general percussion of
the vault or a specific action to gain access to
the temporalis muscle.
Another area from the skull, which is also
heavily cutmarked is the pterion (ATD6-
60). this skull area bears several long cut-
marks running obliquely all over its surface,
as well as several conchoidal scars.
Peeling is also present in several skull
fragments (Table 3) such as temporal, zygo-
matic, mandible and occipital condyle.
Impact marks have been observed on five
dental elements from the lingual side
between the root and the crown (Table 3).
All these teeth belong to the same individual
(I). The teeth were discovered lying close to
each other in anatomical position, although
no maxillary bone was preserved around
them.
Axial skeleton. The elements represented
are 11 ribs, 11 vertebrae (including one
atlas and one axis) and three clavicles. No
sacra, pelves or scapulae have yet been
found.
Articular heads with or without epiphyses
or just epiphyses are the most frequent
remains of the ribs (Table 3). One rib
(ATD6-39) is almost complete and displays
many marks of human processing. The
inner part of the rib has percussion marks
and obliquely grouped incisions going from
top right to bottom left, seemingly related to
the intercostal membrane and muscles. A
few scraping marks running longitudinally
along the costal groove are possibly related
to extraction of thoracic contents. The
603 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
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604 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
articular end of a rib (ATD6-79), also
almost complete, shows peeling. Two other
rib fragments (ATD6-85 and ATD6-251)
have cutmarks. ATD6-85 has cutmarks on
both outer and inner surfaces of the rib, with
incisions (4·5–5 mm) forming groups along
the diaphysis that could also be related to
viscera extraction with ATD6-39.
Among the vertebrae four are cervical
(one complete atlas, two laminae and one
transverse process); three are thoracic (one
spinous process and two bodies); and two
are lumbar (one transverse process and one
vertebral body). Three vertebrae are affected
by peeling, one at the lamina edge of a
cervical vertebra, and two at the transverse
Figure 5. (a) ATD6-16. Fragment of temporal, showing numerous cutmarks transversally along the both
ends arrow. These cutmarks affect the mastoid crest where the sternocleidomastoid muscle is attached.
Location and distribution of cut marks are suggestive of dismembering (detachment of the head) and
defleshing activities. (b) ATD6-69. Holotype of Homo antecessor. The face of this young individual
shows intensive cut marking on its surface to detach meat from bone and cut all muscles associated to
gesture movements. Slicing and sawing marks are frequent (black arrow), together with several failed
impacts (empty arrow) to separate the face from the zygomatic processes. (c) Scanning electron
micrograph. ATD6-55 Infant clavicle. This specimen shows several parallel cutmarks and transversal
fracture made when the bone was still fresh. These deep and precise cutmarks affect attachments of
deltoid and pectoralis major muscles from the chest. The trapezius attachment (the neck muscle) from this
clavicle is also heavily affected. (d) Scanning electron micrograph. ATD6-55. Cutmark directionality (see
Bromage & Boyde, 1984). Frequently cuts are unidirectional, but here it is an example of precise sawing
motion. The lateral ‘‘Hertzinian cones’’ at the right side of the striation and marked by black half triangles
and black arrows indicate opposite directionality and suggest the cut was made in at least two motions
going up and down.
605 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
606 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
processes of a lumbar and a cervical ver-
tebra. Adhering flakes appear at the spine of
the axis and the lamina of another cervical
vertebra. Two vertebrae show slicing marks
that are grouped and could be related to
the butchering of the semispinalis capitatis
muscle.
Each of the three clavicles has marks that
were made by stone tools. The complete
clavicle of a juvenile (ATD6-50) has a single
incision affecting the trapezius muscle
attachment. The infant half clavicle (ATD6-
55) is intensively cut along the edge where
the subclavius muscle attaches [Figure
5(c)], and there are a few cutmarks on the
attachment of pectoralis major. All of these
cutmarks appear to be related to removal
of muscle to permit disarticulation of the
clavicle. These cuts show sawing motions
[Figure 5(d)] according to directionality
criteria (Bromage & Boyde, 1984). The
infant clavicle is broken at about mid-
shaft, lacking the medial half, where
the strong sternocleidomastoid muscle
attaches. The broken edge and the type of
fracture is congruent with breakage during
dismembering, though no adhered flakes or
peeling can be distinguished. There is an
oblique fissure that could be the result of
trauma from the breakage process during
dismembering.
Legs and arms. Apart from the two patellae
(ATD6-22 and ATD6-56), a small femur
fragment (ATD6-76) and two radii frag-
ments (ATD6-43 and ATD6-21) are the
only representatives of the appendicular
skeleton. Neither of the patellae displays
evidence of human modification. However,
humans seriously damaged the radius
shaft ATD6-43. This element was found
complete but diagenetically broken in situ.
Peeling affects the distal end of this radius
[Figure 6(a)]. Incisions run obliquely from
the top right to the bottom left, covering the
anterior border of the diaphysis, with a
higher density of cutmarks towards the
distal metaphysis affecting the pronator
quadratus, as well as the attachment of
flexor digitorum. Cutmarks are interrupted
by the characteristic fibrosity of peeling.
Finally, the only long bone of thick
diameter recovered from the small area of
excavation is a fragment of femur shaft
(ATD6-76). This fragment has been hit
heavily producing spiral fractures at both
ends and multiple and successive percussion
marks on both posterior and anterior sides
[Figure 6(b)]. The strong hammering action
on this piece has also produced striations
(anvil abrasions according to Turner and
White) associated with percussion scar
marks. These scar marks seem to be
associated with longitudinal breakage of the
shaft, probably to extract bone marrow.
Damage due to percussion has been so
heavy that possible cutmarks have been
obscured.
Hands and feet. No tool damage or inten-
tional breakage has been found on the two
carpals found in the Aurora Stratum, a com-
plete capitate (ATD6-24) and a distal
hamate fragment (ATD6-23). There are 16
phalanges and five metapodials. The human
damage observed on these elements is not
Figure 6. (a) ATD6-43 human radius. This specimen has abundant cutmarks (empty arrow) from right
top to left down all along the length of the bone affecting the pronator quadratus, as well as the attachment
of flexor digitorum. The distal end of the radius has been broken showing peeling (black arrow). The bone
was not longitudinally opened to extract any marrow content. (b) ATD6-76 Femur fragment. This bone
was heavily hit to break it in order to open the shaft and extract the marrow. Black arrows point out some
of the impacts. (c) ATD6-59 human metacarpal showing cutmarks all along the anatomical lateral (and
two ends arrow) edge where dorsal interosseous muscle attaches. (d) H16, n.3 Impact pits on tibia of
bovid. Impact scars (some of them pointed out by black arrows) are similar to those seen in Figure 6(b)
of a human femur. Marrow extraction seems to be the purpose of this heavy damage.
607 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
homogeneous, with some of the elements
heavily affected and others unaffected. One
metacarpal has been damaged at the proxi-
mal end by peeling (ATD6-59) and one
metatarsal shows conchoidal scar marks at
the distal diaphysis (ATD6-107). Only one
phalanx (second hand phalanx) has been
broken (ATD6-46), with both peeling and
percussion marks at the proximal diaphysis
probably done during dismembering. Cut-
marks have been observed on ATD6-59,
ATD6-107, and ATD6-46 and on two more
phalanges, ATD6-53 second hand phalanx
and ATD6-30 first toe phalanx. Incisions
are present all along the anatomical edge of
the second metacarpal ATD6-59 [Figure
6(c)] at the insertion of the first dorsal
interosseous muscle. Incision marks on
phalanges ATD6-30 (first toe phalanx) and
ATD6-53 (second hand phalanx) are
oblique and mainly concentrated at the
metaphyses. Those cuts at the diaphysis are
transverse in orientation.
Discussion
The ages and number of hominid in-
dividuals from TD6 Aurora Stratum based
on dental traits (see Bermúdez de Castro
et al., 1999) are as follows: two infants of
3–4 years old (individuals II and VI); two
adolescents, one of about 14 years and
another of about 11 years (individual III,
the holotype of H. antecessor, Bermúdez de
Castro et al., 1997); and two young adults
about 16–18 years old (individuals IV and
V). The spectrum of age amongst large
mammals in the Aurora Stratum is pre-
dominantly juvenile and infant individuals,
and the total MNI has been estimated at
22 (see Table 4 and Díez et al., 1999 for
discussion).
Skeletal parts
Human anatomical elements are represen-
tative of all major skeleton areas (heads,
axial, hands/feet, arms/legs), although they
are not fully representative of the whole
skeleton, element-by-element. Some ana-
tomical elements are scarce or absent. Only
one fragment of a femur, 2 radii and 2
patellae are representative of limbs. No
humerii, tibiae, ulnae nor fibulae have been
recovered. The presence of other limb ele-
ments such as phalanges, metapodials
(from both hands and feet) and radii and
femur would suggest that this lack could be
sampling error due to the small area of
excavation (2·82·5 m) rather than to any
selection of skeletal elements made during
butchering. Furthermore, there is great dif-
ficulty in identifying those elements that are
highly fragmented and appear mixed with
other taxa of similar size and fragmentation
rate. As a result, there are many fragments
that could be human, but their identification
remains uncertain at present.
As with the human material, other
mammal skeletal parts are relatively well
represented at Aurora Stratum. Large sized
mammals, however, show an apparent low
representation of axial elements in all taxa.
This has been considered by Díez et al.
(1999) to be the result of anatomical part
selection by hominids to facilitate the trans-
port of the carcass into the site (see Díez
et al., 1999, for further implications).
Damage and cutmarks on limb bones
Human anatomical elements that have a
small diameter with little marrow content
appear almost unbroken. Radius ATD6-43
is almost complete and the other shaft
(ATD6-21) lacks most of the ends but it has
not been longitudinally opened for marrow
extraction. This has also happened with six
ribs, three clavicles, two vertebrae (out of
11), the two patellae and 13 of the 16
phalanges among the human remains. The
most damaged elements are skulls, mand-
ibles, all maxillae, the femur fragment, and
vertebrae (plus four ribs, one metacarpal
and two metatarsal that are transversely
broken).
608 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
Similarly, this patterning is also observed
on the fossil nonhuman animal remains
from the Aurora Stratum. A humerus
of a small mammal (H16, n. 164) is
almost complete, as are most phalanges.
Large- and medium-sized mammals have
few unbroken remains with only carpal–
tarsal bones remaining complete. How-
ever, a bovid phalanx, of potentially low
marrow content, is broken (see Díez et al.,
1999).
The patterning of the destruction of non-
human animal and human bones in the
Aurora Stratum is consistent with those
bones that held the most nutritional value.
With regard to humans, the only femur
fragment (ATD6-76) has been struck and
badly broken, providing the strongest evi-
dence for marrow extraction observed in the
fossil human assemblage. Similarly, inten-
sive percussion pits and impact scars have
also been observed on a fragment of bovid
tibia (H16, n.3), also for the marrow extrac-
tion [Figure 6(d)]. Conchoidal scars are
frequent on both nonhuman animal and
human remains in similar proportions
(Figure 7).
Peeling has been observed to be most
common on small sized animals and humans
from the Aurora Stratum (Figure 7),
whereas percussion marks and adhered
flakes are more abundant on large and
medium-sized animals. The origin of peel-
ing, related to breakage and dismembering
when bending the bones between the two
hands, suggests that this difference in
Number of remains (NR) and minimum number of individuals (MNI)
TD6-Aurora NR MNI
Age
(Inf/Jv/Ad/Sen)
Total weight
(kg)
Proboscidea 2 1 1Inf 1415
Stephanorhinus 7 2 1Inf/1Jv 759
Bison 56 2 1Inf/1Ad 682
Equus 18 3 1Inf/1Jv1Sen 706
Megaloceros 8 2 1Jv/1Sen 587
Indet. large size 52 —
Total large size 143 10
Cervus 15 2 1Inf/1Ad 206
Cervidae 95 1
Indet. middle size 202 —
Total middle size 312 3
Dama 20 2 1Jv/1Ad 138
Sus 1 1 1Ad 55
Capreolus 5 2 1Inf/1Jv 10
Homo 92 6 2Inf/2Jv/2Ad 239
Possible Homo* 103 —
Indet. small size 82 —
Total small size 303 11
Total small size without Homo 211 5
Carnivorous 11 —
Indet. 287 —
Total 1056 24 8Inf/8Jv/6Ad/2Sen 4797
Age estimation and weight of the individuals represented in the site. The weight of
each animal has been calculated according to Millar (1977, 1981) formula
(NM=0·045 m
0·89
), with NM as the weight of a neonate and m as the adult weight and
GR=0·04 m
0·69
, with GR being the weight increment calculated in gr/day. The adult
weight has been obtained from Rodriguez (1997). The age of the animals, as well as the
MNI, has been estimated considering tooth eruption and born out.
Table 4
609 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
patterning can be related to the weight of the
animal and bone size.
Peeling is observed at the distal end of the
radius ATD6-43. Peeling interrupts cut-
marks related to tendon and muscle cutting.
This indicates that incisions were made
before dismembering when the wrist and
probably also the hand were still connected.
Similarly, superimposition of peeling
over cutmarks has also been observed at
Fontbre´goua, Mancos, and sites in Arizona,
indicating that this is a common butchering
sequence.
Phalanges from the TD6 Aurora Stratum
bear cutmarks, a characteristic observed here
but absent from any of the assemblages com-
pared with the Aurora Stratum (Villa et al.,
1986a,b; Turner & Turner, 1990; White,
1992). Two phalanges (ATD6-53, hand,
and TD6-30, toe) have cutmarks as the
metaphyses, which are associated with the
dismembering process. Another phalanx
(ATD6-46) displays peeling at the proximal
end and percussion at the diaphysis, associ-
ated with crushing and dismembering [Fig-
ure 8(a)]. Metapodials also show cutmarks,
16.0%
0%
Peeling
Adhered
+ flakes
14.0%
12.0%
10.0%
8.0%
6.0%
4.0%
2.0%
Conchoidal
scars Percussion
marks
Hominids
Small
Medium
Large
Figure 7. Small-medium-large-sized of mammals and hominids are compared taking into account human
induced damage mainly caused by fracture. Note that adhered flakes and percussion marks are inversely
abundant from large to small mammals (where humans are excluded and represented apart). These
differences seem to be related to different musculature and especially to different weights. Humans like
small-sized mammal animals, have higher abundance of peeling which can be done by bending the bone
between both hands, while percussion marks and especially adhered flakes indicate the use of a stone
hammer to smash the bone.
610 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
especially on the lateral diaphysis of
ATD6-59 that bears several oblique slicing
marks associated with dismembering when
cutting the dorsal interosseous muscle, and
peeling at the proximal end [Figure 6(c)].
The metatarsus ATD6-107 shows slicing
marks also associated with the dismembering
process. All this evidence indicates an inten-
sive dismembering process of, at least, some
of the hands and feet represented at the
site. Amongst the animal bones, only a bear
phalanx (I16, n. 43) shows a cutmark on its
surface [Figure 8(a)]. This is interesting
because both bears and humans walk on the
metatarsals and phalanges, and they have
similar tendon and muscular attachments
and, therefore, they are cut up similarly.
It is difficult to interpret a set of striations
observed on the dorsal side of a human
phalanx ATD6-46 [Figure 8(b)]. Crushing
of phalanges and metapodials has been
described by White (1992) at Mancos and
interpreted as a dismembering process. Our
butchery of a complete chimpanzee showed
the great difficulty of dismembering fingers
and toes by a single butcher. Assistance was
required for this and the difficult process
yielded almost no meat or marrow. Cut-
marks from ATD6-46 were clear when
observed under the light microscope,
although our SEM examination showed that
these marks were atypical, different from
most cutmarks observed on other speci-
mens. They were similar to trampling
marks, or to hammerstone–anvil abrasion
described by Turner and White in the
human assemblages from American
Southwest Arizona. Phalanx ATD6-46 has a
percussion mark on the palmar side of the
diaphysis and peeling breakage at the proxi-
mal end. These atypical marks, therefore,
could have resulted from dismembering
damage (hammerstone–anvil abrasion).
Experimental cutmarks
Due to the presence of limestone stone tools
associated with the Aurora Stratum fossils,
we carried out an experiment using tools
made from different raw materials, includ-
ing limestone on bones of a lamb. The
experimental cutmarks using limestone
stone tool showed a strong similarity to
striations on ATD6-46 [Figure 8(c)]. In
light of this experiment and the butchering
of the chimpanzee carcass, these marks are
suggested to be the result of holding the
complete or almost complete finger between
the teeth and cutting small amounts of meat
while feeding. From the TD6 assemblage
(ATD6-52) known so far, there is one
human tooth that has oblique cutmarks like
those described by Bermúdez de Castro
et al. (1988) that could be interpreted as
accidental cutting during feeding. The dis-
covery of cutmarks made by limestone tools
similar to trampling marks (Andrews and
Cook, 1985) or hammerstone–anvil abra-
sions (Turner, 1983) is important and
further analysis is necessary, especially at
sites where limestone is used as lithic raw
material.
Marks similar to those experimentally
made with limestone stone tools occur on
long bones of small-sized animals from the
Aurora Stratum [H16, n. 62, Figure 8(d)].
These are located along the edges of the
fractures. The experiment of cutting lamb
limb bones with limestone tools showed that
their edges were good enough to cut a few
grams of meat, but they soon became
blunted, making further cutting difficult.
These cutmarks are not isolated, but are
found in clusters [Figure 8(e)] suggesting
difficulties in cutting, and they are wider
than cuts made with quartzite or flint.
Damage and cutmarks on crania
Human and nonhuman skulls are broken.
Cutmarks are frequent at the strongest
muscle attachments (face muscles, tem-
poralis and sternocleidomastoid). While the
human vault has almost no cutmarks, facial
bones have an abundance of stone tool
marks. We interpret this abundance of
611 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
612 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
cutmarks on the face, and that found on the
temporal and the nuchal areas, as evidence
of meat extraction and of the dismembering
processes, respectively. There is, however, a
single cutmark on the ATD6-15 frontal that
might suggest skinning processes. Four skull
fragments of small-sized animals also have
cutmarks, probably related to skinning.
Peeling is frequent on human skull frag-
ments and it is also present on one of the
two mandible fragments. Among nonhuman
animals, peeling has been observed on skulls
of small- and medium-sized herbivores, but
there is none in the skulls of large-sized
animals.
At other sites with evidence cannibalism,
there are more complete skulls than at TD6.
The abundance of cutmarks on temporal
bones and facial bones at TD6 has also been
observed at Fontbre´goua (Villa et al.,
1986b), while White (1992) described a
higher incidence of cutmarks on the vault
than on the facial area. Turner & Turner
(1992) also found extensive facial damage at
several sites from Arizona (Pollaca Wash,
Leroux Wash, House of Tragedy, Canyon
Butte, and others). Villa et al. (1986a,b)
found more marks on human facial bones
than on animal faces. These differences were
interpreted by these authors as possible
ritual, also indicative of exocannibalism.
Turner & Turner (1992) make a similar
suggestion regarding exocanibalism, and
based on the intensive facial damage, pro-
posed violence and destructive intent of
mutiliation of a possible enemy. White
(1992) suggests that the destruction of faces
is also the result of gaining access to the
brain.
White (1992:207) proposes the following
processing technique at Mancos, ‘‘. . . the
head was heated while intact. Percussion
followed heating and was presumably
directed toward removal of the brain tissues.
The route of the easiest entry, through the
frontal and/or parietal, was followed.
Percussion-related abrasion, and damage of
the dentition, were coincident with fracture
of the vault.’’ Turner has shown that crania
involved in violence, but not cannibalism,
have facial damage of various sorts and
degrees. This noncannibalistic massive facial
damage is abundantly illustrated in Turner
& Turner (1999). However, White observes
that most cutmarks seen on the vault sug-
gests that the scalp was removed at least
from some heads before burning, either to
avoid the smell of burnt hair or as a trophy
acquisition. Less facial damage and abun-
dant intact mandibles at Mancos could
therefore be explained by heating which
would make face and head muscle attach-
ments easier to remove.
Villa et al. (1986a,b) found that the
Neolithic people from Fontbre´goua did not
use fire during body processing, so that
Figure 8. (a) I16, n.43 cut mark on bear phalange, the only nonhuman phalange with cutmarks. (b)
Scanning electron micrograph of scratches at ATD6-46 showing transversal striations affecting the whole
surface. These scratches cut the flexor digitorium tendon attachment, apparently related to dismembering
tasks, probably while eating. The striations have a flat cross section and organized as random clusters (see
text for discussion). (c) Scanning electron micrograph of experimental cutmarks made with limestone
implements on lamb limb bones. Marks were made when filleting. These cutmarks are not isolated, but
organized forming clusters as a result of difficulties experienced in cutting. During the experiment, the
edge was not retouched to analyse the microwear traits, but in natural conditions the edge probably had
to be retouched several times to be effective. (d) Scanning electron micrograph. H16 n62 long bone
fragment of a small-sized animal. This specimen has several sets of striations all along the broken edge. As
obtained experimentally, several cuts may form wide grooves with a wide diameter, formed by several
incisions. Sometimes individual cut marks (shown by white arrows) can be distinguished. Note that these
individual incisions show irregularities at both sides of the cut, indicating that the implement was
retouched on one side (see Methods, Types of incisions). (e) Scanning electron micrograph of
experimental cut marks made with a limestone artefact. The striation is much wider than striations made
with flint or quartzite, forming clusters of several incisions (as the groove marked by a black arrow).
613 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
damage to the faces and skulls is similar to
that observed in the Aurora Stratum.
Breakage and cutmarks found on the
Aurora Stratum human faces suggest
detachment of the cheeks, strongly affixed to
the bone by muscles (levators, buccinator,
and nasalis). Breakage of the zygomatic
arches is necessary in order to remove the
temporalis muscle so as to open the vault for
access to the brain tissues. Cutmarks on
temporal bones indicate separation of the
head from the trunk. Our chimpanzee
butchering produced cutmarks on the face
and skull similar to those observed on the
Aurora Stratum hominids. Unfortunately,
this animal had been autopsied (trepana-
tion) so breakage of the vault or face to gain
access to the brain could not be performed
to compare with the Aurora Stratum
hominids.
Cutmarks and damage on skulls and faces
from TD6 Aurora Stratum are similar to
those from Fontbre´goua. We believe that
differences between human and nonhuman
animal treatments are due to differences in
muscle arrangement and attachment, and
the result of accessing the brain, cutting
meat and skin off the heads, with no ritual,
trophy or violence involved. A different pro-
cess is observed on the Bodo skull (Ethiopia)
with marks around the eye sockets (White,
1985), instead of sawing and intensive cut-
ting as described for the specimens from
Aurora Stratum.
Apart from differences due to the use of
fire during processing, White (1992) also
mentions that the nuchal region has a low
frequency of cutmarks (abundant at TD6)
suggesting to him that the upper cervical
vertebrae were removed from the body along
with the head.
White (1992) also describes tooth damage
as a result of burning, but some as a result
of hammerstone–anvil abrasion. Several
human teeth from the Aurora Stratum
(Table 3) have been found to have impact
scars at the crown–root interface on the
lingual sides, and on the occlusal surface.
This damage pattern could be explained as
the result of blows on top of the vault
(frontal and/or parietal) while the teeth
rested against a hard stone surface. This
scenario could explain the fact that several
teeth from individual I (were affected by
percussion at the lingual interface of crown–
root (ATD6-8, 9, 10, 11). They were found
close to each other, almost in anatomical
connection, with no remains of the maxillary
bone. Differential preservation of bone/teeth
is unlikely given that fragile infant remains
have been preserved, as well as their peri-
mortem modifications [Figure 5(c)].
Damage and cutmarks on the axial skeleton
Other ribs, vertebrae and clavicles represent
the human axial skeleton at Aurora Stratum,
since no pelves and scapulae have been
identified. Again, the small area of excava-
tion may explain the absence of missing
skeletal elements (e.g. presence of femur but
absence of pelvis and tibia, or presence of
most elements of the shoulder girdle but
absence of scapulae). The clavicle is one of
the best represented anatomical elements
from the Aurora Stratum. All have signs of
human activity. Ribs and vertebrae are also
well represented, with much evidence of
peeling and/or percussion breakage, as well
as cutmarks indicating muscle cutting and
torso dismemberment, and accessing of
the viscera. Similar processes have been
identified on animal remains (Table 5),
with abundant peeling and percussion
on vertebrae and ribs of all these size
classes.
Turner observed that there was an
absence of vertebrae or that most of them
were crushed at the prehistoric Arizona sites
studied by him (Turner & Turner, 1995).
Turner has considered this absence of
vertebrae as a characteristic trait of cannibal-
ism. He explains the low representation of
vertebrae as a result of their having first been
crushed on an anvil stone and the fragments
614 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
then boiled to facilitate oil extraction. He
suggests this hypothesis based on ethno-
graphic descriptions of the boiling of animal
bones for marrow extraction. White (1992)
has also commented on the reduction of
vertebrae from Mancos. It is interesting to
see that this absence does not occur at
Atapuerca. In fact vertebrae are in similar
proportion to or even higher than meta-
podials or phalanges. As there is no evidence
of fire at Atapuerca in the Aurora Stratum,
we would not expect vertebrae reduction.
Absence of vertebrae is evident in the
Neolithic assemblage from Fontbre´goua,
which Villa et al. (1985) consider as due
to humans having moved the discarded
bones into ‘‘amas’’ (discard features). Small
elements, like vertebrae, could have been
lost during discard of butchered bones.
Vertebral damage in the Aurora Stratum
material is frequent, with specimens affected
by cutmarks, peeling, or vertical arches
broken due to percussion. This is con-
sidered mainly due to dismembering,
defleshing and crushing the spongy bone
portions.
Comparison with other sites
Finally, we have compared all tool-induced
modifications observed on the human
remains of the Aurora Stratum with other
sites as far as the data provided by different
authors (Turner’s studies, Villa et al.,
1986a,b; White, 1992) allow. Differences
regarding cutmarks on human remains have
been discussed by White (1992:327), who
compared several sites studied by Turner
(between 1% and 4·6% of cutmarked
fossils) and Fontbre´goua (46·4%), with sites
analysed by himself (Mancos 5MTUMR-
2346 11·7% and Yellow Jacket 5MT-3
2·6%). In the Aurora Stratum, 25% of the
human remains display cutmarks. White
feels the very high percentage seen in
Fontbre´goua is because these data were
obtained after refitting, while the other sites
were recorded before refitting. Our data
from Aurora were obtained before refitting.
Cutmarks are more abundant in the Aurora
Stratum, probably because most anatomical
elements recovered are bones with little meat
and strong attachments (such as faces, clav-
icles, ribs and phalanges). This is congruent
Table 5 Aim of the action deduced from the type of mark, cutmark organization and bone area
affected
Butchering Large Medium Small Homo
Heads 1 mandible (F) 4 skull frags. (1F, 4S) 2 maxillae (2F)
1 mandible (F)
4 skull frags.
(2F, 2D, 1S)
Axial 2 ribs (1F, 1E) 9 ribs (8F, 1D) 13 ribs (11F, 2E) 4 ribs (4F, 2E)
1 vertebra (D) 3 vertebrae (2F, 1D) 3 clavicles (2F, 1D)
2 vertebrae (1F, 1D)
Limbs 3 femurs (3F) 2 femurs (1F, 1P) 1 femur (F) 1 femur (F, M)
2 humerii (1F, 1P) 1 ulna (F) 2 tibiae (2F, 1P) 1 radius (F, D)
3 tibiae (2F, 1M) 2 humerii (2F) 1 ulna (F)
1 radius (F) 2 tibiae (1F, 1D) 1 long bone (F)
3 long bones (2F, 1P) 11 long bones (9F, 2P) 1 scapula (F)
6 metapodials
(4F, 1P, 1M)
1 scapula (F) 3 flat bones (3F)
1 coxal (F)
2 metapodials (2F)
Extremities 2 phalanges (2D) 1 sesamoid (D) 2 metapodials (2D, 1P)
1 phalanx (F) 3 phalanges (3D)
S=skinning; F=filleting; D=dismembering; M=marrow extraction; E=evisceration; P=periosteum removal.
615 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
with observations made by White’s (1992)
analysis of element-by-element occurrence
of cutmarks (see White, 1992:328; Figure
12.28) as well as the influence of fire, as
discussed above and below.
Descriptions of the processing of different
anatomical elements is described by each of
these authors, although data for conchoidal
scars, percussion marks, peeling, and ad-
hering flakes are scarce or incomplete. In
Figure 9 we compare types of breakage in
the Aurora Stratum human remains with
comparable data provided by White (1992)
from Mancos 5MTUMR-2346, and another
cannibalized human assemblage named
Yellow Jacket 5MT-3 from Colorado
(1025-50 AD, also of the Anasazi culture).
Differences between the Aurora Stratum
and the Anasazi assemblages are conspicu-
ous and understandable. Conchoidal scars,
adhered flakes and peeling appear more
abundant in human remains from the
Aurora Stratum, in contrast to percussion
marks, which are more abundant on human
bones from Mancos and Yellow Jacket.
This, in our opinion, indicates different
treatment and damage due to the lack of
fire among the early Pleistocene hominids of
the Aurora Stratum. The influence of fire on
the late prehistoric American Southwest
18.0%
0.0%
Peeling
Adhered
flakes
14.0%
12.0%
10.0%
8.0%
6.0%
4.0%
2.0%
Conchoidal
scars Percussion
marks
Yellow jacket
Mancos
Aurora
16.0%
Figure 9. Diagram of human induced damage due to fracture in Mancos (Colorado), Yellow Jacket
(another cannibalistic site from Colorado) and in TD6 Aurora Stratum. Note that the tendency observed
in Figure 7 is followed for adhered flakes, which is less frequent at the Arizona sites compared with TD6
site. Peeling, however, is not as common as in small-sized animals and humans in TD6, but it is still higher
than in large and medium-sized animals at TD6 (see Figure 7). Percussion marks have been marked much
more on the bone surface of the Arizona sites than at TD6, inversely to conchoidal scars which are more
frequent at TD6. These differences seem to be related to the influence of fire at Mancos and Yellow
Jacket, facilitating dismembering processes and reducing breakage tasks. Further, bones subject to heating
and boiling become softer and ductile (Mayne, 1990) and percussion marks are more easily recorded on
their surface as observed at Mancos and Yellow Jacket assemblages.
616 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
assemblages helped to make muscle attach-
ments easier to remove, facilitating dismem-
bering processes and, therefore, reducing
cutting and breakage tasks associated with
dismemberment. Indication of this effect
has been already discussed above with
regard to skull treatment, which showed a
lower incidence of cutmarks compared to
Aurora. Further, osseous tissues subjected
to heating and boiling become softer and
more ductile (Mayne, 1990) and percussion
marks are more easily recorded on their
surface as observed at Mancos and Yellow
Jacket assemblages.
18
J
G
16
Trench section
I
H
Heads Axial Limbs
Hands Feet
17
N
Aurora Stratum
Figure 10. Plan of human fossil bones. Heads/axial/limbs/feet and hands are represented separately. No
organization or differential distribution of any of those skeletal elements can be differentiated. The
distribution is random and mixed.
617 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
18
(a)
G
16
Y
I
H
17
Aurora Stratum-TD6-
PLAN REFITTING
X
J
18
–450
–550
16
D
e
p
t
h

(
c
m
s
.
)
–475
–500
–525
17
Aurora Stratum-TD6-
TRANSVERSAL SECTION
REFITTINGS
(b)
Bone distribution of human and nonhuman
animal remains (pattern of post-processing
discard)
The distribution of human remains from
the Aurora Stratum seems to be random in
the area of excavation. They are mixed with
the rest of the fauna and artefacts (Figure 2).
There is no clear pattern in the distribution
of the different parts of the human skeleton
(Figure 10), even though axial elements
have not been recovered from the northern
part of the excavation area. It is also true
that fragments of vertebrae and ribs are the
most difficult anatomical elements to distin-
guish from other taxa of similar body size
especially at a site such as the Aurora
Stratum, where breakage has such a high
incidence. It can therefore be said that a
random arrangement characterizes the dis-
tribution of human and faunal remains. The
under-representation of axial elements in
some parts of the excavation does not have
any particular taphonomic or behavioural
implication.
Bone fragments of both nonhuman
animal and human remains have been
refitted both horizontally and transversely
[Figure 11(a) and (b)], with some vertical
refitting of more than 10 cm against the
slope. These refittings suggest that the site
was not abandoned for long periods, and
supports a relatively short period of time for
sedimentation.
During excavation, human remains
seemed to be in a slightly higher abundance
at the intermediate part of the Aurora
Stratum thickness, and this was especially
evident at the west-central side of the
excavation (less than 0·5 m
2
). Apart from
this zone, human fossil bones have been
recovered from the whole thickness
of the Aurora Stratum. Further extension
of the excavation area would test this
observation. No differences with regard to
the distribution of other taxa have been
detected, with a rather homogeneous
distribution of all sizes classes amongst
humans, throughout the whole thickness of
the Aurora Stratum.
Type of cannibalism
The Aurora Stratum, therefore, is character-
ized by: (1) analogous butchering techniques
in humans and nonhuman animals such as
skinning, filleting, dismembering, marrow
extraction, evisceration and periosteum
removal (Table 5). However, we should
allow for anatomical differences between
humans and animals. A higher frequency of
peeling appears on small-sized animals and
hominids (Figure 7), probably because
bones from these gracile groups can be
broken and bent using both hands. Large-
and medium-sized animals are much more
robust and hand strength is not enough to
dismember and bend bones. Human faces
have been seen to have strong muscle
attachments that make them likely to have
more cutmarks and modifications than other
animals. (2) Similar breakage patterns to
extract the marrow. Percussion and con-
choidal fracture has been observed on large,
medium- and small-sized animals and
humans, as a result of breaking the bone to
extract the marrow (Figure 7). Particularly,
a tibia of bovid and the human femur
fragment have both been heavily struck
[Figure 6(b) and (d)] in order to break them
and extract the marrow. (3) Identical pattern
of post-processing discard of humans and
animals. Remains of human and nonhuman
animals are randomly dispersed with no
special arrangement of any one of the taxa
[Figure 2(b)]. (4) Comparison between the
Aurora Stratum human samples and butch-
ered human assemblages from other sites
Figure 11. (a) Plan section of Aurora Stratum (horizontal refitting). (b) Longitudinal section (vertical refitting).
619 nc:aN caNNinaLis: iN 1nc canLv iLcis1occNc or ccnoic
more recent in age, where cannibalism has
been considered to be proven (American
Southwest; Neolithic of Fontbre´goua,
France), show similar butchering tech-
niques. There are, however, some differ-
ences that have been related to the influence
of fire. The use of fire, and the fact that
boiling and roasting of bones facilitates
muscle detachment from the bone, reduces
the amount of cutting needed to deflesh a
carcass. The softer texture of both boiled
meat and bone means that impact marks are
left more easily than on bones that were
not cooked or heated. Fire also helps in
dismembering and breaking the bone.
In summary, butchering techniques
observed in the Aurora Stratum were aimed
at meat and marrow extraction. The human
remains recovered from the Aurora Stratum
cave deposit suggest that they were the
victims of other humans who brought bodies
to the site, ate their flesh, broke their bones
and extracted the marrow, in the same way
as they were feeding on the herbivores also
preserved in this stratum.
No ritual treatment can be suggested in
this assemblage. Nutritional purposes are
presumably the cause of this case of
cannibalism. This type of cannibalism is
divided by definition into (a) survival, where
cannibalism is incidental or a short-term
measure, and (b) dietary or gastronomic
cannibalism, which is associated with long
periods in which humans are feeding on
other humans, as part of their regular
diet.
With our present state of knowledge,
there are unanswered questions that make it
difficult to distinguish between survival and
gastronomic cannibalism. For instance, the
exact time span (number of years) repre-
sented by Aurora Stratum, or the actual
number of individuals exploiting the human
and animal remains recorded at the site
cannot as yet be rendered precisely.
Some other indications may help to pro-
vide better answers. Mediterranean pollen
(Pistacea and Olea) has been found at TD6,
suggesting that the climate was not severe
but temperate. The mammal community
structure suggests an holartic forest as the
environment for TD6 (Rodríguez, 1997),
cooler than suggested by the sedimentology
(Aguirre & Hoyos, 1992) and pollen (García
Antón, 1995), but still temperate. The
species diversity (see Table 4) recorded in
the Aurora Stratum is the richest found at
any level from Atapuerca. Large, medium
and small-sized herbivores were butchered.
At least 22 individuals, with infants,
juveniles and young adults as the main age
spectrum, and only two senile individuals of
large-sized animals, have been recognized.
The weight of this food supply has been
estimated at almost 5 metric tons, including
bones and meat (Table 4, see Díez et al.,
1999).
If it is assumed that the Aurora Stratum
represents a single incidental and short
event, then the environmental conditions,
the high diversity of fauna available to
humans, and the potential food supply
found in the site apparently do not justify a
starvation period that could have forced
them to consume other humans as a survival
strategy. This should then be considered
gastronomic cannibalism. Equally, if the
Aurora Stratum event represents a biologi-
cally long period of time (tens or hundred of
years), then the distribution of butchered
hominids through the whole thickness of the
Aurora Stratum indicates that humans were
repeatedly feeding on other humans for this
period of time. This also can be modelled as
gastronomic cannibalism by its definition,
indicating that humans were part of the diet
of other humans.
Acknowledgements
We are deeply grateful to Professor P.
Andrews, Professor E. Aguirre, Dr P. Villa
and Dr J. M. Bermúdez de Castro for valu-
able discussions on this topic during the
620 v. rcnNa´Nbcz-iaLvo ET AL.
preparation process. We thank Professor P.
Andrews, Professor C. Stringer, Dr T. King
and anonymous referees for comments on
the manuscript that have greatly improved
the final vesion. We are further grateful to
Dr N. Toth and Dr K. Schick, for discus-
sions on tool-induced damage and handed-
ness. The Sociedad Protectora de Animales
of Tarraco (Spain) provided us with an adult
chimp carcass on which to practise dissec-
tions and butchering. YFJ is thankful to
Professor C. G. Turner II and Dr P. Villa
who kindly provided all their publications
relevant to this topic, to Belén Márquez for
help and participation in the experimental
work with different stone tool raw materials,
and to Dr Begon˜ a Sánchez for assistance
with the cutting experiment. The excellent
and professional work of restoration has
been of great value for our study. Thanks are
given to the SEM Units and Photo Units of
the NHM and MNCN. We thank the direc-
tors of the Dolina project, J. M. Bermúdez
de Castro and E. Carbonell for inviting us
to participate in this monograph. Thanks
are also due to Professor Leslie Aiello for
planning this special issue. This project is
funded by CICYT (PB93-066-C03-03) and
Junta de Castilla y León. YFJ was also
granted aid by the European Communities
(ENV4-CT96-5043).
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592

. - ET AL. ´ presents an exhaustive analysis of claims for cannibalism in several societies at various times. His main conclusion was that there is no convincing evidence for human cannibalism (except for survival in extreme conditions of starvation). This work was particularly important at the time since so many uncritical publications had previously accepted that cannibalism was practised by many tribes and ancestors. However, Arens, as well as his followers, neglected or ignored some of the best evidence. Since 1979, taphonomic studies of bone remains have demonstrated the validity of a number of claims for cannibalism. It is not our intention to review the literature related to historic cannibalism. Discussions among social anthropologists and extensive compilations of cannibalism claims can be found in Binford (1981), Villa et al. (1996a,b), Villa (1992), White (1992) and Turner & Turner (1995). Cannibalism, in spite of the origin of the word, occurs not only in humans but also in many other species that use it as a means of population control, a source of food, or as a sign of authority and strength by the dominant member. Cannibalism occurs among various orders of mammals, insects and birds, and there are some accounts of such occurrences among omnivorous primates (Bygot, 1972; Goodall, 1979), and bears (Kurt,1976). A cannibal is therefore defined as a person or animal that eats any type of tissue of another individual of its own kind. Cannibalism cannot be established on the sole basis of cutmarks. This is the case for Bodo (Ethiopia, ca. 600 ka) and Goughs’s cave (England, ca. 12 ka). White (1985) and Cook (1986) studied these sites, respectively, and could not reach conclusive interpretations. Remains from both sites bear undeniable cutmarks, indicating that the skeletons were intentionally defleshed, although not necessarily eaten.

Human cannibalism in anthropology and palaeontology is a controversial topic that provokes contradictory reactions. During the middle of the ninteenth century the influence of Darwin’s Origin of the Species induced important reactions in science. The first human like fossils discovered in the Neander Valley (Germany, 1856 ca. 40– 50 ka) were considered from an anthropocentric point of view—everything was made by and for hominids. Contrary beliefs were that the ancient humans were ‘‘barbarian savages’’ and ‘‘cannibals by definition’’. The first report of cannibalism (Gorjanovicˇ Kramberger, 1909) was made soon after the discovery of hominid remains at Krapina (Croatia 1895–1905, ca. 130 ka). Claims of cannibalism were gradually linked with ‘‘cults of skulls’’ in the 1930s with the discovery of skulls in Steinheim (Germany, 1933, ca. 250 ka), Monte Circeo (Italy, 1939, ca. 50 ka), and Zhoukoudian (China 1928–1937, ca. 400–500 ka). These remains, whose cranial bases were missing, were considered to be remains of cannibalistic feasts at which the brains had been consumed. However, later studies have shown that the lack of the cranial base is common since this part of the skull is fragile. Raymond Dart thought that the lack of the front teeth on a specimen of Australopithecus (Makapansgat 1948, ca. 3 m.y.a.), and broken long bones, demonstrated some manner of violent death. Again, taphonomic studies showed that this damage was not the result of cannibalistic practices, but was caused by hyaenas seeking fat-rich marrow. Subsequent discussions of cannibalism have been characterized by either permissive tolerance (e.g., Blanc, 1961) or extreme criticism (Arens, 1979) and disapproval of cannibalism claims. Several authors have demanded more scientific rigour (e.g., Jacob, 1972; Binford, 1981; Askenasy, 1994). In his book The Man-eating Myth: Anthropology and Anthropophagy, Arens (1979),

       

593

Figure 1. Map of the Iberian Peninsula. The black arrow points out the location of the sites, near the town of Burgos.

Some of the functional types of potential human cannibalism are: ( 1) Nutritional (a) incidental: survival (periods of food scarcity or due to catastrophes, i.e., starvation-induced). (b) long duration: gastronomic or dietary (humans are part of the diet of other humans). ( 2) Ritual, magic, funerary (in relation to beliefs or religion). ( 3) Pathological [mental disease: parapathic defined by Reverte (1981); for political reasons, as referred to by Zheng Yi (1997), in China]. These functional types of cannibalism have also been sub-divided into social divisions that include aggressive (consuming enemies) vs. affectionate (consuming friends or relatives), or endocannibalism (consumption of individuals within the group) vs. exocannibalism (consumption of outsiders). The identification of nutritional, as opposed to ritual, cannibalism, is based on a combination of indicators, the main criterion being the comparison of human and

animal remains from the same archaeological context. According to Villa et al. (1986a), these indicators are:

location and type of verified cutmarks and chopmarks on human and animal bones must be similar. but allowance should be made for anatomical differences between humans and animals. . similar butchering techniques in human and animal remains. Thus frequency.

similar patterns of long bone breakage that might facilitate marrow extraction. .

identical patterns of post-processing discarding of human and animal remains. .

White. when human and nonhuman animal remains are found in separate contexts. However. Turner & Turner. 1992. 1995). 1986a. evidence of cooking. when applicable. ritual or some other interpretation should be considered as an alternative cause of cannibalism (Villa et al. if present. with different patterns of exploitation and distribution.. . such evidence should indicate comparable treatment of humans and animal remains. Villa. 1992.

´ Transversal section TD6 Aurora Stratum 17 18 (b) N I H G Wall Trench Section 16 17 18 Fauna Hominids Stone tools . - ET AL.594 (a) –450 –475 –500 Depth (cms) –525 –550 –575 –600 –625 –650 16 .

TD6—‘‘Aurora Stratum’’ The site of Gran Dolina belongs to the southern part of the karstic site complex of the Sierra de Atapuerca. It is a 30 cm´ thick layer that slopes down towards the southwest. An exploratory excavation of the whole section. This is a small mountain. which was opened at the beginning of the twentieth century. G-H-I (from South to North of the excavation) and 16-17-18 (from West to East of the excavation). (a) Transversal section (E–W) of the prospective excavation area at TD6 (Gran Dolina) showing the findings of the unit. The first human remains were discovered in 1994. Gran Dolina is an 18 m-thick cave infilling. as well as reconstructing the processes of the site formation (Díez et al.        Sierra de Atapuerca. and whether it is possible to distinguish between dietary and survival cannibalism. . We will discuss in this paper the evidence that may allow us to specify the type of cannibalism (nutritional vs. (1997) to the new species Homo antecessor... has been made since 1992. that the ages of these sites are not comparable to the Aurora Stratum. Eleven sedimentary levels have been distinguished in the sequence. 1986a. Their age is more than 780 ka (Parés and PérezGonzález. Mancos (from Colorado— AD 1100–1150—White. As the exploratory excavation of the Aurora Stratum has finished. social attributes and behaviours cannot readily be inferred or considered analogous. the number of human remains from the Aurora Stratum (92 NISP) and the excavated area (7 m2) are smaller than Figure 2. 1992) and throughout the Southwest Amerindian area (Arizona) by Turner & colleagues. 595 The human remains from Gran Dolina The Gran Dolina TD6 site has recently yielded human remains of six individuals found mixed together with stone tools and nonhuman fauna remains (Carbonell et al. Human remains have been recovered from a distinctive stratum of the unit TD6 named ‘‘Aurora’’ [Figure 2(a)]. The area is in the Duero Basin. bounded by the Demanda mountain range to the east and by the Arlanzón River to the south. Note that humans. 1970– 1999. as well as many stone implements. many of them yielding abundant fossil fauna assemblage. Notice the high fossil density on top of the unit TD6 identifying the Aurora Stratum. fauna and implements are randomly dispersed throughout the excavation area.. Furthermore.. 1996). 1995a). These human fossils have been assigned by Bermúdez de Castro et al. therefore. These humans come from the subunit Aurora Stratum in particular. These study areas and sites are Fontbregoua (France—Neolithic—Villa ´ et al. Aurora Martın Nájera. (b) Aerial plan of Aurora Stratum showing the excavation coordinates.. and. Gran Dolina site. both of which have provided important information on human behaviour (Carbonell et al. and were soon afterwards recognized as having been cannibalized (FernándezJalvo et al. it is now possible for a detailed taphonomic analysis of the fossil of this subunit to be undertaken. 1995). from the uppermost zone of the stratigraphical sequence to the base of the infilling. Six of these sites are presently exposed in an abandoned railway trench. The Gran Dolina site is one of seven sites systematically excavated in this area since 1980. 1999). 1995b).b). Results of the present study are then compared with sites that have also been taphonomically analysed and where modern methods of excavation have been used. as in Atapuerca TD6. however. 15 km from the town of Burgos in northern central Spain (Figure 1). It has to be kept in mind. 1079 m above sea level. after the archaeologist who discovered the first human fossils at TD6. ritual).

Body Complete Spinous process Diaphysis Diaphysis Transverse process Prox. left Hand. Lumbar Hand. 2 phal. right 1 phal. left Individual I I I I I I I I I I I I I II IV V . Foot. - ET AL. toe 2–3 Foot.. 1 phal. 2 phal Left lower incisor 2 Right Cervical Left lower l1 Hand. Inf. 1 phal. Foot. 1 phal.596 .+diaphysis Side Lower left Left l2 Right LP3 Right LP4 Right side (M1-M3) Right lower Right UP3 Right UP4 Left UP4 Right UM1 Left UM1 Right UM2 Left Left (dc-dm1) Right Right Right Left Right Left Left Left Hamate (left) Capitate Mtts. 2–3 left 2 mtcp. 2 phal. Lumbar Thoracic Left Hand. 2 phal. 1 phal. toe 4–5 Foot. Axis Left Right Left 2 mtcp. Juvenile Juvenile Adult Adult Juvenile Adult Adult Adult Adult Adult Adult Adult Adult Adult Adult Adult Adult Adult Adult Adult Juvenile Adult Juvenile Juvenile Juvenile Adult Adult Juv-ad Juvenile Juvenile Adult Juv-ad Juvenile Inf. 3 phal. 2 phal. finger 1 Foot.-finger 2–3 Hand. 2 phal. Hand. 2 phal. Juvenile Juvenile Adult Adult Element Tooth Tooth Tooth Tooth Mandible Tooth Tooth Tooth Tooth Tooth Tooth Tooth Maxilla Maxilla Skull Skull Skull Skull Skull Skull Radius Patella Carpal Carpal Metatarsal Metacarpal Phalange Phalange Phalange Phalange Phalange Phalange Phalange Phalange Phalange Phalange Vertebra Rib Vertebra Radius Phalange Vertebra Phalange Tooth Maxilla Clavicle Vertebra Tooth Phalange Vertebra Clavicle Patella Skull Skull Metacarpal Area Canine Incisor Premolar Premolar Body Canine Premolar Premolar Premolar Molar Molar Molar Alveolar Alveolar Frontal Temporal Temporal Petrous-temporal Zygomatic arch Parietal Diaphysis Complete Distal Complete Proximal end Distal condyle Diaphysis Complete Distal Complete Complete Distal Complete Complete Complete Distal apical tuber. toe 2. ´ Table 1 Identified human specimens from Aurora Stratum Label ATD6-1 ATD6-2 ATD6-3 ATD6-4 ATD6-5 ATD6-6 ATD6-7 ATD6-8 ATD6-9 ATD6-10 ATD6-11 ATD6-12 ATD6-13 ATD6-14 ATD6-15 ATD6-16 ATD6-17 ATD6-18 ATD6-19 ATD6-20 ATD6-21 ATD6-22 ATD6-23 ATD6-24 ATD6-25 ATD6-26 ATD6-27 ATD6-28 ATD6-29 ATD6-30 ATD6-31 ATD6-32 ATD6-33 ATD6-34 ATD6-35 ATD6-36 ATD6-38 ATD6-39 ATD6-40 ATD6-43 ATD6-44 ATD6-45 ATD6-46 ATD6-48 ATD6-49 ATD6-50 ATD6-51 ATD6-52 ATD6-53 ATD6-54 ATD6-55 ATD6-56 ATD6-57 ATD6-58 ATD6-59 Age Juvenile Juvenile Juvenile Juvenile Juvenile Juvenile Juvenile Juvenile Juvenile Juvenile Juvenile Juvenile Juvenile Inf. left Foot.+diaphysis Crown Complete Complete Incisor Complete Lamina Lateral Complete Temporal Zygomatic+maxilla Dist. toe 1.

1 phal.+diaph. Adult Juvenile Adult Juvenile Adult Adult Juvenile Adult Juvenile Adult Adult Adult Adult Juvenile Adult Adult Adult Adult Juvenile Element Skull Skull Mandible Clavicle Rib Phalange Phalange Maxilla Metatarsal Skull Skull Skull Vertebra Vertebra Femur Skull Skull Rib Vertebra Skull Phalange Skull Rib Skull Rib Rib Vertebra Skull Metatarsal Rib Rib Rib Vertebra Rib Rib Vertebra Tooth Area Pterion Crista galli Mental protuberance Diaphysis Prox. It was provided by the local Animal Protection Association of Tarragona (Spain). We experimented with flakes made from limestone. prox. quartzite. Two lamb forelimbs were butchered by one of us (YFJ). Foot.+diaphysis Occipital condyle Frontal? Head+diaphysis Lamina Sphenoid Dist. Cervical Left Ul2 VI some of the sites with which they will be compared. Cretaceous flint and Neogene flint. Diaphysis Head+diaphysis Diaphysis Body Head Diaphysis Lamina Incisor Left Ethmoid Right Hand. Ep. Juvenile Juvenile Adult Juvenile Adult Inf.+diaphysis Complete Alveol-frontal process Distal epiphysis Frontal? Frontal? Fragment Body Lamina Prox. We found that skinning.+diaphysis Dist.+diaphysis Zygomatic arch Diaphysis Parietal Head+diaphysis Diaphysis Complete Apophysis mast. using implements made with these four types of stone. M1-M3 & R I2-M1) 2 mtts left Side 597 Individual III Indet Thoracic Cervical Cervical Hand. dismembering and defleshing this animal helped us to understand better some of the cuts observed on the human remains from the Aurora Stratum.        Table 1 Label ATD6-60 ATD6-62 ATD6-63 ATD6-64 ATD6-66 ATD6-67 ATD6-68 ATD6-69 ATD6-70 ATD6-71 ATD6-72 ATD6-73 ATD6-74 ATD6-75 ATD6-76 ATD6-77 ATD6-78 ATD6-79 ATD6-80 ATD6-81 ATD6-82 ATD6-84 ATD6-85 ATD6-87 ATD6-88 ATD6-89 ATD6-90 ATD6-91 ATD6-107 ATD6-108 ATD6-206 ATD6-251 ATD6-307 ATD6-308 ATD6-308 ATD6-309 ATD6-312 Continued Age Adult Juvenile Adult Juvenile Adult Inf. ii–iii ix–x Atlas i Thoracic Adult Inf.+temp. Analyses of this . (L P3. the different raw materials used at Atapuerca to make the stone tools associated with the Aurora Stratum fossils. 3 phal. 1 phal. Materials and methods Accessory experimental work Two of us (IC and JR) were involved in butchering the carcass of a chimpanzee that had recently died.

operating in the back-scattered electron emission mode at 20 kV. These replicas were coated with gold-palladium and analysed using the Philips XL20 secondary electron emission mode at a standard accelerating voltage of 10 kV. High-resolution replicas were made using EXAFLEX CG Injection type. Identification of anatomical elements Each human fossil has been identified as follows: . which is housed at The Natural History Museum (London). This type of microscope enables specimens to be directly analysed with no necessity for coating (Taylor. ´ were used. and it has been extensively used. Positive replicas were then made using an epoxy resin (Nural-23). - ET AL. A Philips XL20 housed at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (Madrid) and an ISI ABT55 SEM fitted with an environmental chamber. 1986).598 .

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so immersion in perservative was discontinued.followed by the number of the specimen [Figure 2(b)]. This revealed that the highly mineralized condition of the TD6 fossils made it unnecessary to strengthen them. Nonhuman faunal remains from TD6-Aurora Stratum have also been studied following identical methods of analysis. orientation. measurements and descriptions are noted for a given square. Results from this analysis have been included in a separate paper (Díez et al. cranial and postcranial elements (Table 1). experiment are in progress and the results will be published soon. or artefact. Fossil assemblage The human collection of TD6-Aurora Stratum consists of 92 fossils that include dental. limestone rock (bigger than 10 cm). Slope. Two different SEMs . Spatial co-ordinates (X. whereas human fossils have been labelled with ATD6. stone tool. Animal remains have been labelled according to the square where they were found and the related number of the find. and plotted on to a map.. Fossils recovered during the 1994 season were systematically immersed in a preservative solution (Paraloid. Z) are noted during excavation for every fossil. Y. The fossil collection from the Aurora Stratum (faunal and human) was examined with the aid of a Leica Wild MZ8 from 6·3 to 50 binocular microscope. a synthetic resin). coprolite. This problem was anticipated. so fossils were examined in the field laboratory through a binocular light microscope before treatment. Some specimens were analysed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). small mammal accumulation. concretion. The use of preservative may cause problems for the analysis of cutmarks or superficial damage using scanning electron microscope (SEM). All sediment were wet screened (from 5–0·5 mm mesh). 1999) to interpret site formation processes.

segment and portion (diaphysis.. Megaloceros sp. com. age (juvenile/adult/infantile) determined from dental eruption and wear. Felis sp. process. Panthera sp. lateral.. Canidae indet. Dama dama sp. Bison sp (Garcıa and van der ´ Made.). arch). Muselidae indet. proximal end. Ursus sp. Anthropologists from the Atapuerca research team identified the human remains (listed in Table 1). body part. identified in TD6 Aurora Stratum are as follows. pers. pers. body.. Stephanorhinus etruscus. as well as epiphyseal fusion and bone texture. Capreolus sp... The large mammal faunal composition. The minimum number of individuals has been calculated to be six according to detailed dental analysis (Bermúdez de Castro.).. Cervus elaphus. antecessor. complete. stenoid Equus. . H. and distal end. com.. Mammuthus sp. Vulpes sp. Sus scrofa..

The relative abundances of skeletal elements have been calculated by comparison with the expected numbers of each element multiplied by the minimum number of individuals. Fracture . For the analysis performed on the faunal remains to identify the site formation processes. medium (115–350 kg). we have been working according to the following size classes: small (<115 kg). large (>350 kg) (see Díez et al. 1999 for site formation). the human collection and ‘‘possible Homo’’ have been assigned to the small size class.        With regard to the rest of the fauna..

Length/width/thickness were measured on all fossils with a micrometry calibre. .

Peeling is a type of fracture that occurred frequently in the Mancos assemblage and has also been seen in the Aurora Stratum fossil assemblage. Peeling was recorded as present/absent for each fossil. Peeling. 1992:140). It is defined as a roughened surface with parallel grooves or fibrous texture produced ‘‘when fresh bone is fractured and peeled apart similar to bending a small fresh twig from a tree branch between two hands’’ (White. This was described by White (1992) and Turner & Turner (1999). .

These pits and striae have been 599 . Scratches may occur inside the pits as well as the surrounding area [Figure 3(a)]. Percussion pits are usually accompanied by abrasions and scratches caused by friction of the bone against the stone raw material that hammered it. These are pits of variable sizes and depths (Leroi-Gourhan & Brezillon. Blumenschine & Selvagio. Percussion pits. or the anvil surface where the bone was resting when it was struck. 1988). They are considered to be the impact point where a stone or any solid matter struck the bone cortex and scarred the surface. 1972. with all scratches having the same direction.

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placement on the element (e. Incisions or slicing marks were differentiated according to Schick & Toth (1993) as: incisions made with a flake edge without retouching. Curving incipient fracture lines. muscle and ligament attachments). concave. medular flake. 1992).. Cutmarks. cortical flake. cortical direct. marginal. This term refers to bone flakes that adhere to the fracture surface of a specimen. diaphysis. This condition was also recorded as present/absent. Incisions or slicing marks have been analysed separately from saw cuts. straight). Conchoidal percussion scars have been described and measured. as well as the species affected. . according to the size of the mammalian species. inverse. Cutmark arrangement (position and number of marks).g. Adhering flakes. following the nomenclature traditionally used in lithics (deep. epiphysis. Microscopic morphology of cutmarks is not the only discriminating trait from other types of nonhuman induced striations. and edge retouched on both faces [see Figures 3(b) and 3(c). articular area) and arrangement (distribution: isolated marks/grouped/generalized and orientation: oblique/transversal/ longitudinal) were recorded for every cutmark. convex. Lengths of striations have also been measured (maximum and minimum lengths when sets of cuts occurred). 1983). which are subparallel to the fracture edge. Tool-induced surface modification Description of the cut emplacement on the bone (metaphysis. set off these flakes. often hairline. chopmark or scrapemark. named ‘‘percussion striae’’ (White. These pits and scratches were recorded as present/absent. edge retouched on one face. ‘‘contrecoup’’ or ‘‘hammerstone/ anvil scratches’’ (Turner.

Olsen & Shipman. - ET AL. wide V-shaped scar. . defleshing. are additional factors (Fernández-Jalvo et al. that may also indicate the objective of the processing activity (dismembering.600 . ´ Chopmarks. skinning). These marks are the result of striking the bone surface with a sharp stone tool. leaving a deep.. 1999. The action is related to cutting strong muscle attachments or dismembering. 1988).

1992) but the width of the area affected is more reduced and a single incision can be recognized [Figure 3(e)]. ATD6-97. The typical X shape is produced by a stone tool edge retouched at both sides. Figure 3. Long bone fragment of a medium-sized animal showing abundant striations on the surface. indicating that dismembering and filleting already occurred. Percussion blows are applied directly to the bone (the stroke is transmitted through the bone) with the main intention being to break it. Several indications suggest this is a percussion mark (to break the bone already defleshed. and MNI is the Minimum Number of Individuals. G17. n. Results The human sample The minimum number of elements. 20 metapodials. (d) Scanning electron micrograph. and the percentage of survival are represented in Figure 4. which is similar to a chopmark. (c) Scanning electron micrograph. which has been estimated at six based on dental traits. (b) Scanning electron micrograph. Figure 4 shows the % of survival (Brain. Phalanges. chopmarks are probably related to dismembering activities. White suggests that when percussion by a V-edged hammer stone fails to crack a bone. isolated teeth. This activity leaves a concentrated series of parallel and superficial striations on a broad area of the bone [Figure 3(d)]. The irregularity of the edge produces an X in a single motion as the angle of the tool changes during the cutting stroke (see Schick & Toth (1993)). a V-shaped pit may result. Scraping mark obtained when a tool incises obliquely rather than perpendicularly on the bone surface. striations are not associated to impact marks. Hence. Finally the impact mark appears parallel to the broken edge of the bone fragment suggesting that this was a failed try. 32 teeth. 1969) represented at Aurora Stratum %Si=(MNEi/NixMNI) 100. . (a) Scanning electron micrograph. metapodials.        White (1992) states that the definition of chopmarks is ambiguous and is rather similar to percussion pits because both are the result of directed blows on the bone. Scraping marks. they usually run parallel to the longest axis of the bone. ATD6-55 Infant clavicle and incisions made by an non-retouched flake edge. but in this case. The lateral shoulders or ‘‘herzinian cones’’. are directionality criteria. The completeness of anatomical elements is shown in Table 1. Scratches surround the impact mark indicating that the bone was already clean of meat. Cut-marks are interrupted by the impact mark. while chopmarks occur when the bone is still covered by soft tissue that absorbs the blow. ribs and vertebrae are the most common elements as these are the most abundant elements in the human skeleton (56 phalanges. MNEi is the Minimum Number of Element i found in the sample. and displaced bone on the side of the striations. caused by resistance of the bone to the cut friction. 24 ribs and 24 vertebrae). H16. Consequently. Notice the lateral irregularities have been recorded only along one side of the cut (right in this case). These are scraping marks and they are associated with grease extraction or periosteum removal. These are the result of periosteal and muscle removal by scraping the bone surface. in this case still attached to the bone (indicated by a black arrow). 212 fragment of long bone of unidentified species. Detail of an impact notch or percussion mark showing scratches made during percussion. (e) Scanning electron micrograph. When scraping-marks occur on long bones. for marrow extraction) instead of a chopmark (to dismember a bone still covered by meat). The fragment was longitudinally broken. Ni is the expected number of element i in the skeleton. Note the scraped area is more reduced and a single incision can be recognised. n. 166. percussion blows leave a much rougher and less regular internal form than that seen in chopmarks. Scraping marks have been experimentally obtained by a variation in the angle of the flake edge when a tool is positioned oblique rather than per- 601 pendicular to the bone (Delpech & Villa. where %Si=percentage of survival of element i.

only two patellae represent complete limb elements. Similarly. One cervical Phalanges Mandible Canines Premolars Maxillae Clavicle Scapula Incisors Vertebrae Sacrum Molars Radius Ulna Femur Fibula Pelvis Patella Ribs Tibia 0 . Human modification of human fossil bones Breakage of the human bones could not be analysed using Villa & Mahieu’s (1991) methodology because it is based on long bones. There are very few complete elements from the axial skeleton. mandible or maxilla) has been found in the Aurora Stratum. Teeth are the only complete elements of the cranial skeleton. the resulting values obtained when applying Villa and Mahieu’s No complete cranial element (skull vault. As there are very few of these elements (one fragment of femur and two radii fragments). together with the atlas and a clavicle of a juvenile individual. 17 12 6 63 15 11 25 8 6 77 12 5 vertebra and one rib of an individual. Despite the differences in natural size of these anatomical elements.D. Percentage of survival circles (lines) and Minimum Number of Elements (black bars) of the human remains recovered from Aurora Stratum. - ET AL. are complete. The skeletal parts with more complete elements are hands and feet (mainly foot phalanges).602 60 50 40 30 20 10 1 3 4 3 2 . The fragment dimensions of the Aurora Stratum human fossil assemblage are shown in Table 2. ´ Human anatomical elements % Survival 16 16 5 3 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 16 2 Metacarpal Calcaneum Astragalus Humerus Metatarsal NMI = 6 Figure 4. averages of the different fragments appear to us to be sufficiently similar to suggest that there was an intense breakage activity that led to a high degree of element destruction. Table 2 Fragment dimensions Range (mm) 10–76 8–45 4–25 24–256 10–68 5–23 36–220 16–42 4–20 11–128 5–33 4–26 Mean (mm) 35 20 10 69 24 15 95 26 4 30 16 10 Crania Length Width Thickness Axial Length Width Thickness Arms/legs Length Width Thickness Hands/feet Length Width Thickness S. excepting incisor ATD6-48. which is badly broken.

percussion marks. considers peeling. the face of a juvenile individual. seemingly related to the intercostal membrane and muscles. indicating dismembering and removal of the periosteum and overlying tissue from the fragment. The most complete specimens are a frontal fragment (ATD6-15) and a left zygomatic arch attached to a complete maxilla (ATD669). buccinator. One rib (ATD6-39) is almost complete and displays many marks of human processing. The other group of cranial elements affected by cutting and percussion is the face (jaws and zygomatic arches). Articular heads with or without epiphyses or just epiphyses are the most frequent remains of the ribs (Table 3). with long and intersecting incisions that affect several muscle attachments (nasalis. concentrated on the orbits and base of the zygomatic arch.        methodology were unreliable. percussions. as well as several conchoidal scars. The inner part of the rib has percussion marks and obliquely grouped incisions going from top right to bottom left. Our qualitative fracture analysis. A few scraping marks running longitudinally along the costal groove are possibly related to extraction of thoracic contents. which is also heavily cutmarked is the pterion (ATD660). mandible and occipital condyle. adhered flakes). A small temporal bone fragment (ATD616) shows a concentration of cutmarks running along the ridge where the sternocleidomastoid muscle attaches. Nuchal skull bones are commonly affected by fracture (e. Heads are mainly represented by various skull fragments. the bone is heavily cutmarked.g. although no maxillary bone was preserved around them. specimen ATD6-69 represents a good example of fracture induced by humans [Figure 5(b)]. joining the head and the trunk [Figure 5(a)]. Only two small mandible fragments were in the assemblage. The elements represented are 11 ribs. All these teeth belong to the same individual (I). levator anguli oris. zygomatic. The teeth were discovered lying close to each other in anatomical position. Another area from the skull. Most zygomatic arches from the Aurora Stratum are fractured. and fracture edges also bear adhered flakes. as they are in human remains from Native American sites and Fontbregoua. This specimen (ATD6-69) shows strong impact marks along the zygomatic bone and the orbital margin of the left side. No sacra. Peeling and scraping marks occur on one of them (ATD6-63). White ´ (1992) suggests that this patterned breakage is the result of either general percussion of the vault or a specific action to gain access to the temporalis muscle. The type of cutmarks observed on ATD6-69 suggest incisions and sawing 603 motions. occipital condyles and at pterion) corresponding to the biggest muscle attachments. such as sternocleidomastoid. probably to cut the levator muscles. with the former extended all over the face. which also has various firm muscle attachments. On the contrary. and zygomaticus minor). temporal processes. and the second type (sawing). however. 11 vertebrae (including one atlas and one axis) and three clavicles. Peeling is also present in several skull fragments (Table 3) such as temporal. conchoidal scars and adhered flakes (Table 3). levator labii superioris. associated with the position of origin of the masseter muscle. Axial skeleton. though it does not show traces of human breakage. pelves or scapulae have yet been found. The sides of the cranial vault are heavily cutmarked (e. two small fragments of mandible and four fragments of maxillae. Impact marks have been observed on five dental elements from the lingual side between the root and the crown (Table 3). this skull area bears several long cutmarks running obliquely all over its surface. Crania. Apart from that. The .g.

Right UM1 (lingual) ATD6-11. Maxillar. ATD6-80. Axis ATD6-80. - ET AL. ATD6-79. Temp Zygomatic Mandible Occipital condile ATD6-17. arch Maxillar Malar Pterion Axial (25) 5 fractured 9 tool-marked ATD6-46. ATD6-19. hand ATD6-69 Alveo-frontal ATD6-44. Radius . Left LC (lateral) ATD6-8. ATD6-43. ATD6-59. Rib Temp Zygom. ATD6-77. ATD6-69.604 Table 3 Bone surface modifications on human remains related to anthropic breakage Percussion Peeling Adhering flakes Conchoidal scars Cranial (25) 9 fractured 7 tool-marked ATD6-14. Femur. ATD6-60. nasal ATD6-17. ATD6-75. II Phal. Left UP4 (lingual) ATD6-10. Cervical vertebra II Phal. ATD6-63. 1) . ATD6-46. Right UP4 (lingual) ATD6-9. ATD6-58. ATD6-1. ATD6-49. ATD6-76 Femur Dentition (14) 5 fractured (indiv. Left UM1 (lingual) ATD6-52. II Mtts ATD6-45. ATD6-84. Alveo-frontal ATD6-39. ´ Hands/feet (23) 3 fractured 5 tool-marked Long-bones (5) 2 fractured 2 tool-marked ATD6-76. Cervical vertebra ATD6-107. hand II Mtcp. Left LI1 (occulusal) Lumbar vertebra Cervical vertebra Rib.

showing numerous cutmarks transversally along the both ends arrow.        605 Figure 5. Among the vertebrae four are cervical (one complete atlas. Frequently cuts are unidirectional. also almost complete. The lateral ‘‘Hertzinian cones’’ at the right side of the striation and marked by black half triangles and black arrows indicate opposite directionality and suggest the cut was made in at least two motions going up and down. These cutmarks affect the mastoid crest where the sternocleidomastoid muscle is attached. (c) Scanning electron micrograph. ATD6-85 has cutmarks on both outer and inner surfaces of the rib. The trapezius attachment (the neck muscle) from this clavicle is also heavily affected. Three vertebrae are affected by peeling. articular end of a rib (ATD6-79). Location and distribution of cut marks are suggestive of dismembering (detachment of the head) and defleshing activities. Two other rib fragments (ATD6-85 and ATD6-251) have cutmarks. with incisions (4·5–5 mm) forming groups along the diaphysis that could also be related to viscera extraction with ATD6-39. (a) ATD6-16. three are thoracic (one spinous process and two bodies). two laminae and one transverse process). together with several failed impacts (empty arrow) to separate the face from the zygomatic processes. shows peeling. but here it is an example of precise sawing motion. Cutmark directionality (see Bromage & Boyde. (d) Scanning electron micrograph. Fragment of temporal. This specimen shows several parallel cutmarks and transversal fracture made when the bone was still fresh. and two at the transverse . one at the lamina edge of a cervical vertebra. ATD6-55. ATD6-55 Infant clavicle. Slicing and sawing marks are frequent (black arrow). 1984). The face of this young individual shows intensive cut marking on its surface to detach meat from bone and cut all muscles associated to gesture movements. and two are lumbar (one transverse process and one vertebral body). (b) ATD6-69. These deep and precise cutmarks affect attachments of deltoid and pectoralis major muscles from the chest. Holotype of Homo antecessor.

- ET AL. ´ .606 .

n. Black arrows point out some of the impacts. There is an oblique fissure that could be the result of trauma from the breakage process during dismembering. The human damage observed on these elements is not Figure 6. 1984). The broken edge and the type of fracture is congruent with breakage during dismembering. (c) ATD6-59 human metacarpal showing cutmarks all along the anatomical lateral (and two ends arrow) edge where dorsal interosseous muscle attaches. This specimen has abundant cutmarks (empty arrow) from right top to left down all along the length of the bone affecting the pronator quadratus. probably to extract bone marrow. and there are a few cutmarks on the attachment of pectoralis major. However. This fragment has been hit heavily producing spiral fractures at both ends and multiple and successive percussion marks on both posterior and anterior sides [Figure 6(b)]. Damage due to percussion has been so heavy that possible cutmarks have been obscured. as well as the attachment of flexor digitorum. Apart from the two patellae (ATD6-22 and ATD6-56). with a higher density of cutmarks towards the distal metaphysis affecting the pronator quadratus. Neither of the patellae displays 607 evidence of human modification.        processes of a lumbar and a cervical vertebra. Each of the three clavicles has marks that were made by stone tools. The distal end of the radius has been broken showing peeling (black arrow). (d) H16. (a) ATD6-43 human radius. This bone was heavily hit to break it in order to open the shaft and extract the marrow. a small femur fragment (ATD6-76) and two radii fragments (ATD6-43 and ATD6-21) are the only representatives of the appendicular skeleton. No tool damage or intentional breakage has been found on the two carpals found in the Aurora Stratum. where the strong sternocleidomastoid muscle attaches.3 Impact pits on tibia of bovid. Marrow extraction seems to be the purpose of this heavy damage. The strong hammering action on this piece has also produced striations (anvil abrasions according to Turner and White) associated with percussion scar marks. The infant clavicle is broken at about midshaft. Hands and feet. . humans seriously damaged the radius shaft ATD6-43. The bone was not longitudinally opened to extract any marrow content. Two vertebrae show slicing marks that are grouped and could be related to the butchering of the semispinalis capitatis muscle. though no adhered flakes or peeling can be distinguished. as well as the attachment of flexor digitorum. covering the anterior border of the diaphysis. The infant half clavicle (ATD655) is intensively cut along the edge where the subclavius muscle attaches [Figure 5(c)]. These cuts show sawing motions [Figure 5(d)] according to directionality criteria (Bromage & Boyde. Cutmarks are interrupted by the characteristic fibrosity of peeling. Finally. Legs and arms. lacking the medial half. the only long bone of thick diameter recovered from the small area of excavation is a fragment of femur shaft (ATD6-76). Adhering flakes appear at the spine of the axis and the lamina of another cervical vertebra. Impact scars (some of them pointed out by black arrows) are similar to those seen in Figure 6(b) of a human femur. (b) ATD6-76 Femur fragment. All of these cutmarks appear to be related to removal of muscle to permit disarticulation of the clavicle. The complete clavicle of a juvenile (ATD6-50) has a single incision affecting the trapezius muscle attachment. These scar marks seem to be associated with longitudinal breakage of the shaft. There are 16 phalanges and five metapodials. Peeling affects the distal end of this radius [Figure 6(a)]. Incisions run obliquely from the top right to the bottom left. a complete capitate (ATD6-24) and a distal hamate fragment (ATD6-23). This element was found complete but diagenetically broken in situ.

Damage and cutmarks on limb bones Human anatomical elements that have a small diameter with little marrow content appear almost unbroken. hands/feet. 1997). and the total MNI has been estimated at 22 (see Table 4 and Díez et al. axial. all maxillae. Only one fragment of a femur. Radius ATD6-43 is almost complete and the other shaft (ATD6-21) lacks most of the ends but it has not been longitudinally opened for marrow extraction. element-by-element. other mammal skeletal parts are relatively well represented at Aurora Stratum. 1999) are as follows: two infants of 3–4 years old (individuals II and VI). Discussion The ages and number of hominid individuals from TD6 Aurora Stratum based on dental traits (see Bermúdez de Castro et al.. although they . ATD6-107. 1999. one metacarpal and two metatarsal that are transversely broken). with some of the elements heavily affected and others unaffected. Bermúdez de Castro et al. and vertebrae (plus four ribs. show an apparent low representation of axial elements in all taxa. tibiae. As with the human material. Furthermore. (1999) to be the result of anatomical part selection by hominids to facilitate the transport of the carcass into the site (see Díez et al.608 . Skeletal parts Human anatomical elements are representative of all major skeleton areas (heads. 1999 for discussion). the two patellae and 13 of the 16 phalanges among the human remains. This has been considered by Díez et al. Only one phalanx (second hand phalanx) has been broken (ATD6-46). three clavicles. - ET AL. two vertebrae (out of 11). The most damaged elements are skulls. Incision marks on phalanges ATD6-30 (first toe phalanx) and ATD6-53 (second hand phalanx) are oblique and mainly concentrated at the metaphyses. ´ are not fully representative of the whole skeleton. two adolescents. The presence of other limb elements such as phalanges. Cutmarks have been observed on ATD6-59. one of about 14 years and another of about 11 years (individual III. the femur fragment. No humerii. metapodials (from both hands and feet) and radii and femur would suggest that this lack could be sampling error due to the small area of excavation (2·8 2·5 m) rather than to any selection of skeletal elements made during butchering. and ATD6-46 and on two more phalanges. homogeneous. Those cuts at the diaphysis are transverse in orientation. mandibles. Large sized mammals. there is great difficulty in identifying those elements that are highly fragmented and appear mixed with other taxa of similar size and fragmentation rate. however. ATD6-53 second hand phalanx and ATD6-30 first toe phalanx. arms/legs). but their identification remains uncertain at present. Incisions are present all along the anatomical edge of the second metacarpal ATD6-59 [Figure 6(c)] at the insertion of the first dorsal interosseous muscle. and two young adults about 16–18 years old (individuals IV and V).. for further implications). This has also happened with six ribs. the holotype of H. there are many fragments that could be human.. antecessor. One metacarpal has been damaged at the proximal end by peeling (ATD6-59) and one metatarsal shows conchoidal scar marks at the distal diaphysis (ATD6-107). As a result. ulnae nor fibulae have been recovered. with both peeling and percussion marks at the proximal diaphysis probably done during dismembering. 2 radii and 2 patellae are representative of limbs. The spectrum of age amongst large mammals in the Aurora Stratum is predominantly juvenile and infant individuals. Some anatomical elements are scarce or absent..

with GR being the weight increment calculated in gr/day. Similarly. is broken (see Díez et al. Total NR 2 7 56 18 8 52 143 15 95 202 312 20 1 5 92 103 82 303 211 11 287 1056 MNI 1 2 2 3 2 — 10 2 1 — 3 2 1 2 6 — — 11 5 — — 24 1Inf/1Ad 206 1Jv/1Ad 1Ad 1Inf/1Jv 2Inf/2Jv/2Ad 138 55 10 239 8Inf/8Jv/6Ad/2Sen 4797 Age estimation and weight of the individuals represented in the site. a bovid phalanx. related to breakage and dismembering when bending the bones between the two hands. The adult weight has been obtained from Rodriguez (1997). The weight of each animal has been calculated according to Millar (1977. intensive percussion pits and impact scars have also been observed on a fragment of bovid tibia (H16. However. middle size Total middle size Dama Sus Capreolus Homo Possible Homo* Indet. small size Total small size Total small size without Homo Carnivorous Indet. The age of the animals. 1981) formula (NM=0·045 m0·89). Peeling has been observed to be most common on small sized animals and humans from the Aurora Stratum (Figure 7). 164) is almost complete. A humerus of a small mammal (H16. providing the strongest evi- dence for marrow extraction observed in the fossil human assemblage. with NM as the weight of a neonate and m as the adult weight and GR=0·04 m0·69. 1999). as are most phalanges. Conchoidal scars are frequent on both nonhuman animal and human remains in similar proportions (Figure 7). The patterning of the destruction of nonhuman animal and human bones in the Aurora Stratum is consistent with those bones that held the most nutritional value. suggests that this difference in . Large. Similarly. also for the marrow extraction [Figure 6(d)].and medium-sized mammals have few unbroken remains with only carpal– tarsal bones remaining complete. has been estimated considering tooth eruption and born out.3). n. n. the only femur fragment (ATD6-76) has been struck and badly broken. whereas percussion marks and adhered flakes are more abundant on large and medium-sized animals. of potentially low marrow content. large size Total large size Cervus Cervidae Indet. as well as the MNI. this patterning is also observed on the fossil nonhuman animal remains from the Aurora Stratum. With regard to humans. The origin of peeling.        Table 4 Number of remains (NR) and minimum number of individuals (MNI) Age (Inf/Jv/Ad/Sen) 1Inf 1Inf/1Jv 1Inf/1Ad 1Inf/1Jv1Sen 1Jv/1Sen Total weight (kg) 1415 759 682 706 587 609 TD6-Aurora Proboscidea Stephanorhinus Bison Equus Megaloceros Indet..

This indicates that incisions were made before dismembering when the wrist and probably also the hand were still connected. Similarly. ´ 16. Mancos. Metapodials also show cutmarks. 1992). Peeling is observed at the distal end of the radius ATD6-43. and sites in Arizona..610 .0% 4. 1986a. and TD6-30. - ET AL.0% 14. associated with crushing and dismembering [Figure 8(a)]. White. Turner & Turner. .0% 8. toe) have cutmarks as the metaphyses.0% 10. Two phalanges (ATD6-53. Phalanges from the TD6 Aurora Stratum bear cutmarks. have higher abundance of peeling which can be done by bending the bone between both hands. hand.0% Medium 0% Conchoidal scars Percussion marks Small Hominids Peeling Adhered + flakes Figure 7. Humans like small-sized mammal animals. which are associated with the dismembering process. superimposition of peeling over cutmarks has also been observed at Fontbregoua.b. Note that adhered flakes and percussion marks are inversely abundant from large to small mammals (where humans are excluded and represented apart). Another phalanx (ATD6-46) displays peeling at the proximal end and percussion at the diaphysis. ´ indicating that this is a common butchering sequence. Peeling interrupts cutmarks related to tendon and muscle cutting.0% 6. These differences seem to be related to different musculature and especially to different weights. 1990. while percussion marks and especially adhered flakes indicate the use of a stone hammer to smash the bone. a characteristic observed here but absent from any of the assemblages compared with the Aurora Stratum (Villa et al.0% 12. Small-medium-large-sized of mammals and hominids are compared taking into account human induced damage mainly caused by fracture.0% Large 2. patterning can be related to the weight of the animal and bone size.

Figure 8(d)]. therefore. Our butchery of a complete chimpanzee showed the great difficulty of dismembering fingers and toes by a single butcher. (1988) that could be interpreted as accidental cutting during feeding. but they soon became blunted. n. These atypical marks. Phalanx ATD6-46 has a percussion mark on the palmar side of the diaphysis and peeling breakage at the proximal end. Damage and cutmarks on crania Human and nonhuman skulls are broken. and they have similar tendon and muscular attachments and. temporalis and sternocleidomastoid). therefore. These are located along the edges of the fractures. some of the hands and feet represented at the site. Assistance was required for this and the difficult process yielded almost no meat or marrow. 1985) or hammerstone–anvil abrasions (Turner. The experiment of cutting lamb limb bones with limestone tools showed that their edges were good enough to cut a few grams of meat. although our SEM examination showed that these marks were atypical. The discovery of cutmarks made by limestone tools similar to trampling marks (Andrews and Cook. 43) shows a cutmark on its surface [Figure 8(a)]. or to hammerstone–anvil abrasion described by Turner and White in the human assemblages from American Southwest Arizona. different from most cutmarks observed on other specimens. Cutmarks are frequent at the strongest muscle attachments (face muscles. and they are wider than cuts made with quartzite or flint. The metatarsus ATD6-107 shows slicing marks also associated with the dismembering process. This is interesting because both bears and humans walk on the metatarsals and phalanges. facial bones have an abundance of stone tool marks. these marks are suggested to be the result of holding the complete or almost complete finger between the teeth and cutting small amounts of meat while feeding. at least. Cutmarks from ATD6-46 were clear when observed under the light microscope.        especially on the lateral diaphysis of ATD6-59 that bears several oblique slicing marks associated with dismembering when cutting the dorsal interosseous muscle. 62. could have resulted from dismembering damage (hammerstone–anvil abrasion). In light of this experiment and the butchering of the chimpanzee carcass. 611 we carried out an experiment using tools made from different raw materials. making further cutting difficult. It is difficult to interpret a set of striations observed on the dorsal side of a human phalanx ATD6-46 [Figure 8(b)]. including limestone on bones of a lamb. Marks similar to those experimentally made with limestone stone tools occur on long bones of small-sized animals from the Aurora Stratum [H16. n. Crushing of phalanges and metapodials has been described by White (1992) at Mancos and interpreted as a dismembering process. and peeling at the proximal end [Figure 6(c)]. 1983) is important and further analysis is necessary. they are cut up similarly. While the human vault has almost no cutmarks. there is one human tooth that has oblique cutmarks like those described by Bermúdez de Castro et al. They were similar to trampling marks. We interpret this abundance of . These cutmarks are not isolated. All this evidence indicates an intensive dismembering process of. From the TD6 assemblage (ATD6-52) known so far. only a bear phalanx (I16. but are found in clusters [Figure 8(e)] suggesting difficulties in cutting. Experimental cutmarks Due to the presence of limestone stone tools associated with the Aurora Stratum fossils. The experimental cutmarks using limestone stone tool showed a strong similarity to striations on ATD6-46 [Figure 8(c)]. especially at sites where limestone is used as lithic raw material. Amongst the animal bones.

612 . - ET AL. ´ .

but in natural conditions the edge probably had to be retouched several times to be effective. (c) Scanning electron micrograph of experimental cutmarks made with limestone implements on lamb limb bones. peeling has been observed on skulls of small. forming clusters of several incisions (as the groove marked by a black arrow). respectively. Marks were made when filleting. and damage of the dentition. as evidence of meat extraction and of the dismembering processes. Note that these individual incisions show irregularities at both sides of the cut. This specimen has several sets of striations all along the broken edge. These scratches cut the flexor digitorium tendon attachment. ‘‘. either to avoid the smell of burnt hair or as a trophy acquisition. indicating that the implement was retouched on one side (see Methods. however.b) found more marks on human facial bones than on animal faces. Villa et al. Canyon Butte. (1986a. also indicative of exocannibalism. House of Tragedy. the edge was not retouched to analyse the microwear traits. White (1992) suggests that the destruction of faces is also the result of gaining access to the brain. there are more complete skulls than at TD6. was followed. . Among nonhuman animals. while White (1992) described a higher incidence of cutmarks on the vault than on the facial area.43 cut mark on bear phalange. and 613 based on the intensive facial damage. . several cuts may form wide grooves with a wide diameter. but there is none in the skulls of large-sized animals. apparently related to dismembering tasks. Sometimes individual cut marks (shown by white arrows) can be distinguished. These cutmarks are not isolated. a single cutmark on the ATD6-15 frontal that might suggest skinning processes. Turner & Turner (1992) make a similar suggestion regarding exocanibalism. (1986a. proposed violence and destructive intent of mutiliation of a possible enemy. (a) I16. The abundance of cutmarks on temporal bones and facial bones at TD6 has also been observed at Fontbregoua (Villa et al.. so that Figure 8. through the frontal and/or parietal. ´ 1986b). H16 n62 long bone fragment of a small-sized animal. the head was heated while intact. This noncannibalistic massive facial damage is abundantly illustrated in Turner & Turner (1999). (b) Scanning electron micrograph of scratches at ATD6-46 showing transversal striations affecting the whole surface. The striations have a flat cross section and organized as random clusters (see text for discussion). (e) Scanning electron micrograph of experimental cut marks made with a limestone artefact. These differences were interpreted by these authors as possible ritual. Leroux Wash.and medium-sized herbivores. Villa et al. probably while eating. Less facial damage and abundant intact mandibles at Mancos could therefore be explained by heating which would make face and head muscle attachments easier to remove. The route of the easiest entry. have facial damage of various sorts and degrees. but organized forming clusters as a result of difficulties experienced in cutting. probably related to skinning. Percussion followed heating and was presumably directed toward removal of the brain tissues. but not cannibalism. Types of incisions). (d) Scanning electron micrograph. formed by several incisions. As obtained experimentally. the only nonhuman phalange with cutmarks. During the experiment. Peeling is frequent on human skull fragments and it is also present on one of the two mandible fragments. Percussion-related abrasion. were coincident with fracture of the vault. Turner & Turner (1992) also found extensive facial damage at several sites from Arizona (Pollaca Wash. n. Four skull fragments of small-sized animals also have cutmarks.b) found that the Neolithic people from Fontbregoua did not ´ use fire during body processing. White (1992:207) proposes the following processing technique at Mancos. At other sites with evidence cannibalism.        cutmarks on the face. White observes that most cutmarks seen on the vault suggests that the scalp was removed at least from some heads before burning. The striation is much wider than striations made with flint or quartzite. However. There is. and that found on the temporal and the nuchal areas. and others). .’’ Turner has shown that crania involved in violence.

but some as a result of hammerstone–anvil abrasion. with abundant peeling and percussion on vertebrae and ribs of all these size classes. They were found close to each other. as well as cutmarks indicating muscle cutting and torso dismemberment. Similar processes have been identified on animal remains (Table 5). this animal had been autopsied (trepanation) so breakage of the vault or face to gain access to the brain could not be performed to compare with the Aurora Stratum hominids. This damage pattern could be explained as the result of blows on top of the vault (frontal and/or parietal) while the teeth rested against a hard stone surface. 11). 9. Unfortunately. He explains the low representation of vertebrae as a result of their having first been crushed on an anvil stone and the fragments damage to the faces and skulls is similar to that observed in the Aurora Stratum. 10. buccinator. with no remains of the maxillary bone. Turner observed that there was an absence of vertebrae or that most of them were crushed at the prehistoric Arizona sites studied by him (Turner & Turner. and on the occlusal surface. Cutmarks on temporal bones indicate separation of the head from the trunk. strongly affixed to the bone by muscles (levators. Breakage of the zygomatic arches is necessary in order to remove the temporalis muscle so as to open the vault for access to the brain tissues. ´ lingual sides. with much evidence of peeling and/or percussion breakage. vertebrae and clavicles represent the human axial skeleton at Aurora Stratum. Differential preservation of bone/teeth is unlikely given that fragile infant remains have been preserved. Apart from differences due to the use of fire during processing. We believe that ´ differences between human and nonhuman animal treatments are due to differences in muscle arrangement and attachment. Turner has considered this absence of vertebrae as a characteristic trait of cannibalism. Again. trophy or violence involved. with no ritual. instead of sawing and intensive cutting as described for the specimens from Aurora Stratum. Breakage and cutmarks found on the Aurora Stratum human faces suggest detachment of the cheeks. Our chimpanzee butchering produced cutmarks on the face and skull similar to those observed on the Aurora Stratum hominids. and the result of accessing the brain. Damage and cutmarks on the axial skeleton Other ribs. 1995). since no pelves and scapulae have been identified. - ET AL. The clavicle is one of the best represented anatomical elements from the Aurora Stratum. the small area of excavation may explain the absence of missing skeletal elements (e.614 . and accessing of the viscera. This scenario could explain the fact that several teeth from individual I (were affected by percussion at the lingual interface of crown– root (ATD6-8. White (1992) also mentions that the nuchal region has a low frequency of cutmarks (abundant at TD6) suggesting to him that the upper cervical vertebrae were removed from the body along with the head.g. Cutmarks and damage on skulls and faces from TD6 Aurora Stratum are similar to those from Fontbregoua. Several human teeth from the Aurora Stratum (Table 3) have been found to have impact scars at the crown–root interface on the . All have signs of human activity. or presence of most elements of the shoulder girdle but absence of scapulae). presence of femur but absence of pelvis and tibia. 1985). cutting meat and skin off the heads. Ribs and vertebrae are also well represented. almost in anatomical connection. White (1992) also describes tooth damage as a result of burning. and nasalis). as well as their perimortem modifications [Figure 5(c)]. A different process is observed on the Bodo skull (Ethiopia) with marks around the eye sockets (White.

while the other sites were recorded before refitting. Differences regarding cutmarks on human remains have been discussed by White (1992:327). or vertical arches broken due to percussion. M=marrow extraction. 2E) 3 vertebrae (2F. with sites ´ analysed by himself (Mancos 5MTUMR2346 11·7% and Yellow Jacket 5MT-3 2·6%). 1992) allow. He suggests this hypothesis based on ethnographic descriptions of the boiling of animal bones for marrow extraction. M) 1 radius (F. 1S) 4 ribs (4F. D=dismembering.        615 Table 5 Aim of the action deduced from the type of mark. Vertebral damage in the Aurora Stratum material is frequent. (2F. 1P) 3 phalanges (3D) S=skinning. cutmark organization and bone area affected Butchering Heads Large Medium 1 mandible (F) Small 4 skull frags. 4S) Homo 2 maxillae (2F) 1 mandible (F) 4 skull frags. Comparison with other sites Finally. As there is no evidence of fire at Atapuerca in the Aurora Stratum. Cutmarks are more abundant in the Aurora Stratum. clavicles. This is considered mainly due to dismembering. 2E) 3 clavicles (2F. 1P. D) Axial 2 ribs (1F. peeling. White feels the very high percentage seen in Fontbregoua is because these data were ´ obtained after refitting. P=periosteum removal. 1M) radius (F) long bones (2F. 1D) 11 long bones (9F. 1D) 1 femur (F. could have been lost during discard of butchered bones. White. Small elements. like vertebrae. who compared several sites studied by Turner (between 1% and 4·6% of cutmarked fossils) and Fontbregoua (46·4%). defleshing and crushing the spongy bone portions. 2D.. probably because most anatomical elements recovered are bones with little meat and strong attachments (such as faces. then boiled to facilitate oil extraction. 1P) tibiae (2F. 1D) 2 vertebrae (1F. we would not expect vertebrae reduction. which Villa et al. Absence of vertebrae is evident in the ´ Neolithic assemblage from Fontbregoua. White (1992) has also commented on the reduction of vertebrae from Mancos. 1P) 1 ulna (F) 2 humerii (2F) 2 tibiae (1F. we have compared all tool-induced modifications observed on the human remains of the Aurora Stratum with other sites as far as the data provided by different authors (Turner’s studies. In fact vertebrae are in similar proportion to or even higher than metapodials or phalanges. 25% of the human remains display cutmarks. Villa et al. E=evisceration. with specimens affected by cutmarks. 1986a. 1D) 1 vertebra (D) 2 femurs (1F. 1D) 1 2 1 1 1 3 femur (F) tibiae (2F. F=filleting. 2P) 1 scapula (F) 1 coxal (F) 2 metapodials (2F) 1 sesamoid (D) 1 phalanx (F) 13 ribs (11F. (1985) consider as due to humans having moved the discarded bones into ‘‘amas’’ (discard features). Our data from Aurora were obtained before refitting. (1F.b. ribs and phalanges). 1E) 9 ribs (8F. 1M) Extremities 2 phalanges (2D) 2 metapodials (2D. 1P) metapodials (4F. 1P) ulna (F) long bone (F) scapula (F) flat bones (3F) Limbs 3 2 3 1 3 6 femurs (3F) humerii (1F. In the Aurora Stratum. It is interesting to see that this absence does not occur at Atapuerca. This is congruent .

Descriptions of the processing of different anatomical elements is described by each of these authors. with observations made by White’s (1992) analysis of element-by-element occurrence of cutmarks (see White. Figure 12. indicates different treatment and damage due to the lack of fire among the early Pleistocene hominids of the Aurora Stratum. The influence of fire on the late prehistoric American Southwest . - ET AL. but it is still higher than in large and medium-sized animals at TD6 (see Figure 7). in our opinion. Note that the tendency observed in Figure 7 is followed for adhered flakes.0% 2. ´ 18. Percussion marks have been marked much more on the bone surface of the Arizona sites than at TD6.0% 10. inversely to conchoidal scars which are more frequent at TD6. facilitating dismembering processes and reducing breakage tasks. bones subject to heating and boiling become softer and ductile (Mayne.28) as well as the influence of fire. peeling. and adhering flakes are scarce or incomplete. as discussed above and below. which is less frequent at the Arizona sites compared with TD6 site.0% 4.0% 12. Conchoidal scars. however. percussion marks.0% 6.0% 14. and another cannibalized human assemblage named Yellow Jacket 5MT-3 from Colorado (1025-50 AD. Differences between the Aurora Stratum and the Anasazi assemblages are conspicuous and understandable.0% 16. 1990) and percussion marks are more easily recorded on their surface as observed at Mancos and Yellow Jacket assemblages. adhered flakes and peeling appear more abundant in human remains from the Aurora Stratum. Further. Peeling.0% Conchoidal scars Percussion marks Aurora Mancos Yellow jacket Peeling Adhered flakes Figure 9. is not as common as in small-sized animals and humans in TD6. Diagram of human induced damage due to fracture in Mancos (Colorado). This. 1992:328. although data for conchoidal scars. In Figure 9 we compare types of breakage in the Aurora Stratum human remains with comparable data provided by White (1992) from Mancos 5MTUMR-2346.0% 0. also of the Anasazi culture). Yellow Jacket (another cannibalistic site from Colorado) and in TD6 Aurora Stratum.0% 8. which are more abundant on human bones from Mancos and Yellow Jacket. in contrast to percussion marks.616 . These differences seem to be related to the influence of fire at Mancos and Yellow Jacket.

facilitating dismembering processes and. which showed a lower incidence of cutmarks compared to Aurora. therefore. Plan of human fossil bones. osseous tissues subjected to heating and boiling become softer and more ductile (Mayne. reducing cutting and breakage tasks associated with dismemberment. Heads/axial/limbs/feet and hands are represented separately. assemblages helped to make muscle attachments easier to remove. . No organization or differential distribution of any of those skeletal elements can be differentiated. Indication of this effect has been already discussed above with regard to skull treatment.        Aurora Stratum 617 J I H G N 16 17 Trench section 18 Heads Hands Axial Feet Limbs Figure 10. 1990) and percussion marks are more easily recorded on their surface as observed at Mancos and Yellow Jacket assemblages. Further. The distribution is random and mixed.

(a) Aurora Stratum-TD6PLAN REFITTING J I Y H G 16 17 X 18 (b) Aurora Stratum-TD6TRANSVERSAL SECTION REFITTINGS –450 –475 Depth (cms.) –500 –525 –550 16 17 18 .

There is no clear pattern in the distribution of the different parts of the human skeleton (Figure 10). It can therefore be said that a random arrangement characterizes the distribution of human and faunal remains. (4) Comparison between the Aurora Stratum human samples and butchered human assemblages from other sites Figure 11. with some vertical refitting of more than 10 cm against the slope. . Particularly. therefore. we should allow for anatomical differences between humans and animals. probably because bones from these gracile groups can be broken and bent using both hands. No differences with regard to the distribution of other taxa have been detected. and supports a relatively short period of time for sedimentation. They are mixed with the rest of the fauna and artefacts (Figure 2). human fossil bones have been recovered from the whole thickness of the Aurora Stratum. Further extension of the excavation area would test this 619 observation. (2) Similar breakage patterns to extract the marrow. as a result of breaking the bone to extract the marrow (Figure 7). Human faces have been seen to have strong muscle attachments that make them likely to have more cutmarks and modifications than other animals. Apart from this zone. (3) Identical pattern of post-processing discard of humans and animals.and small-sized animals and humans. evisceration and periosteum removal (Table 5).        Bone distribution of human and nonhuman animal remains (pattern of post-processing discard) The distribution of human remains from the Aurora Stratum seems to be random in the area of excavation. These refittings suggest that the site was not abandoned for long periods. dismembering. A higher frequency of peeling appears on small-sized animals and hominids (Figure 7). During excavation. However. Largeand medium-sized animals are much more robust and hand strength is not enough to dismember and bend bones. The under-representation of axial elements in some parts of the excavation does not have any particular taphonomic or behavioural implication. (b) Longitudinal section (vertical refitting). with a rather homogeneous distribution of all sizes classes amongst humans. (a) Plan section of Aurora Stratum (horizontal refitting). where breakage has such a high incidence. and this was especially evident at the west-central side of the excavation (less than 0·5 m2). is characterized by: (1) analogous butchering techniques in humans and nonhuman animals such as skinning. even though axial elements have not been recovered from the northern part of the excavation area. filleting. Remains of human and nonhuman animals are randomly dispersed with no special arrangement of any one of the taxa [Figure 2(b)]. medium. Percussion and conchoidal fracture has been observed on large. It is also true that fragments of vertebrae and ribs are the most difficult anatomical elements to distinguish from other taxa of similar body size especially at a site such as the Aurora Stratum. Type of cannibalism The Aurora Stratum. marrow extraction. Bone fragments of both nonhuman animal and human remains have been refitted both horizontally and transversely [Figure 11(a) and (b)]. human remains seemed to be in a slightly higher abundance at the intermediate part of the Aurora Stratum thickness. throughout the whole thickness of the Aurora Stratum. a tibia of bovid and the human femur fragment have both been heavily struck [Figure 6(b) and (d)] in order to break them and extract the marrow.

Neolithic of Fontbregoua. suggesting that the climate was not severe but temperate. Professor E. the exact time span (number of years) represented by Aurora Stratum. If it is assumed that the Aurora Stratum represents a single incidental and short event. Bermúdez de Castro for valuable discussions on this topic during the more recent in age. - ET AL. then the environmental conditions. Villa and Dr J. the high diversity of fauna available to humans. Dr P. in the same way as they were feeding on the herbivores also preserved in this stratum. medium and small-sized herbivores were butchered. At least 22 individuals. M. Mediterranean pollen . broke their bones and extracted the marrow. 1992) and pollen (García Antón. Nutritional purposes are presumably the cause of this case of cannibalism. but still temperate. where cannibalism is incidental or a short-term measure. ´ (Pistacea and Olea) has been found at TD6. or the actual number of individuals exploiting the human and animal remains recorded at the site cannot as yet be rendered precisely. reduces the amount of cutting needed to deflesh a carcass. some differences that have been related to the influence of fire. and only two senile individuals of large-sized animals. show similar butchering techniques. Some other indications may help to provide better answers. Large. if the Aurora Stratum event represents a biologically long period of time (tens or hundred of years). however. The mammal community structure suggests an holartic forest as the environment for TD6 (Rodríguez. For instance. ate their flesh. The human remains recovered from the Aurora Stratum cave deposit suggest that they were the victims of other humans who brought bodies to the site. The weight of this food supply has been estimated at almost 5 metric tons. This should then be considered gastronomic cannibalism.620 . 1995). and the potential food supply found in the site apparently do not justify a starvation period that could have forced them to consume other humans as a survival strategy. Acknowledgements We are deeply grateful to Professor P. 1999). juveniles and young adults as the main age spectrum. cooler than suggested by the sedimentology (Aguirre & Hoyos.. Equally. ´ France). with infants. and (b) dietary or gastronomic cannibalism. Andrews. 1997). With our present state of knowledge. The softer texture of both boiled meat and bone means that impact marks are left more easily than on bones that were not cooked or heated. and the fact that boiling and roasting of bones facilitates muscle detachment from the bone. The species diversity (see Table 4) recorded in the Aurora Stratum is the richest found at any level from Atapuerca. butchering techniques observed in the Aurora Stratum were aimed at meat and marrow extraction. where cannibalism has been considered to be proven (American Southwest. as part of their regular diet. The use of fire. there are unanswered questions that make it difficult to distinguish between survival and gastronomic cannibalism. Aguirre. indicating that humans were part of the diet of other humans. In summary. There are. then the distribution of butchered hominids through the whole thickness of the Aurora Stratum indicates that humans were repeatedly feeding on other humans for this period of time. This type of cannibalism is divided by definition into (a) survival. This also can be modelled as gastronomic cannibalism by its definition. Fire also helps in dismembering and breaking the bone. No ritual treatment can be suggested in this assemblage. see Díez et al. have been recognized. which is associated with long periods in which humans are feeding on other humans. including bones and meat (Table 4.

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