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Ruan J.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | Ruan J.,University Paris - Sud | Kherbouche F.,Center National Of Recherches Prehistoriques | Genty D.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | And 8 more authors.
Climate of the Past | Year: 2016

Middle Holocene cultures have been widely studied around the Eastern-Mediterranean basin in the last 30 years and past cultural activities have been commonly linked with regional climate changes. However, in many cases such linkage is equivocal, in part due to existing climatic evidence that has been derived from areas outside the distribution of ancient settlements, leading to uncertainty from complex spatial heterogeneity in both climate and demography. A few high-resolution well-dated paleoclimate records were recently established using speleothems in the Central and Eastern-Mediterranean basin, however, the scarcity of such records in the western part of the Mediterranean prevents us from correlating past climate evolutions across the basin and deciphering climate-culture relation at fine timescales. Here we report the first decadal-resolved Mid-Holocene climate proxy records from theWestern-Mediterranean basin based on the stable carbon and oxygen isotopes analyses of two U/Th dated stalagmites from the Gueldaman GLD1 Cave in Northern Algeria. Comparison of our records with those from Italy and Israel reveals synchronous (multi) centennial dry phases centered at ca. 5600, ca. 5200 and ca. 4200 yr BP across the Mediterranean basin. New calibrated radiocarbon dating constrains reasonably well the age of rich anthropogenic deposits (e.g., faunal remains, pottery, charcoal) excavated inside the cave, which allows the comparison between in situ evidence of human occupation and of climate change. This approach shows that the timing of a prolonged drought at ca. 4400-3800 yr BP blankets the onset of cave abandonment shortly after ca. 4403 cal yr BP, supporting the hypothesis that a climate anomaly may have played a role in this cultural disruption. © 2016 Author(s).


Pares J.M.,Research Center for Human Evolution | Sahnouni M.,Research Center for Human Evolution | Sahnouni M.,Indiana University Bloomington | Sahnouni M.,Center National Of Recherches Prehistoriques | And 5 more authors.
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2014

The question of the earliest hominid settlements in northern Africa has been under debate for a number of years due to the lack of precise chronologies. Here we present new paleomagnetic data that supports an Olduvai Subchron age for the archaeological sites at Ain Hanech and El-Kherba, in northern Algeria. Our study is based on a 22m-thick magnetostratigraphy of the Ain Hanech Formation, which includes contextualized Oldowan and Acheulian lithic tools. Characteristic remanent magnetization directions were obtained from both thermal and alternating field demagnetization procedures of specimens from twenty five sampled horizons. Our results reveal the presence of the Olduvai Subchron in the upper part of the stratigraphic section, constraining the age of these important archaeological sites in northern Africa. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Sahnouni M.,National Center for Research on Human Evolution | Sahnouni M.,Center National Of Recherches Prehistoriques | Sahnouni M.,Indiana University Bloomington | Rosell J.,Rovira i Virgili University | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2013

The current archaeological data on early hominin subsistence activities in Africa are derived chiefly from Sub-Saharan Plio-Pleistocene sites. The recent studies at El-Kherba (Ain Hanech) in northeastern Algeria expand the geographic range of evidence of hominin subsistence patterns to include the earliest known archaeological sites documented in North Africa. Dated to 1.78 million years ago (Ma), excavations from El-Kherba yielded an Oldowan industry associated with a savanna-like fauna contained in floodplain deposits. The faunal assemblage is dominated by large and medium-sized animals (mainly adults), especially equids, which are represented by at least 11 individuals. The mammalian archaeofauna preserves numerous cut-marked and hammerstone-percussed bones. Made of primarily limestone and flint, the stone assemblage consists of core forms, débitage, and retouched pieces. Evidence of usewear traces is found on several of the flint artifacts, indicating meat processing by early hominins. Overall, our subsistence analysis indicates that early hominins were largely responsible for bone modification at the site, which is also corroborated by other relevant taphonomic evidence. Moreover, at 1.78 Ma, the cutmarked bones recovered from El-Kherba represent the earliest known evidence for ancestral hominin butchery activities and large animal foraging capabilities in northern Africa. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Aouadi N.,Center National Of Recherches Prehistoriques | Dridi Y.,LAMPEA UMR 6636 | Ben Dhia W.,Institute des Langues Appliquees
Quaternary International | Year: 2014

Faunal analysis was carried out on four Holocene Tunisian prehistoric sites from both Capsian and Neolithic cultures. Capsian hunting strategies from the examination of prey selection and carcass exploitation were investigated from two sites: Bir Hmairiya and SHM-1. Capsian populations showed great adaptability to their physical environment. At SHM-1 and Bir Hmairiya, prehistoric populations developed subsistence strategies focused on hunting of a wide range of local wild prey with more exploitation of medium and small mammals, especially hartebeest and gazelle with additional exploitation of food resources from other terrestrial mammals and land snails. Cultural and economic patterns indicate that these hunters-gatherers populations were using long-term occupation sites, a mode of sedentary lifestyle during the Capsian. The Neolithic economy is documented through archaeozoological studies of faunal remains from two sites: Kef el Agab and Doukanet el Khoutifa. Neolithic populations kept the same lifestyle as the Capsian tradition but with gradual investment in meat, milk, and wool production. Comparing Kef el Agab and Doukanet el Khoutifa, patterns of mammal exploitation do not display great differences. The occupants practiced hunting and gathered land snails. The main change lies in the increase in Ovicaprid remains at Doukanet el Khoutifa, which would suggest a greater control of breeding activity. Pastoralism was already established at Doukanet el Khoutifa by the first half of the 7th millennium calBP. This pastoralism involved more sheep and goat than bovines, but without dog or pig. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


Merzoug S.,Center National Of Recherches Prehistoriques
Quaternary International | Year: 2014

The paper summarizes the archaeozoological analysis of faunal remains from Medjez II, excavated by H. Camps-Fabrer. Identification and quantification of the animal remains are combined with an investigation of the aspect of the finds and the traces observed on them. The archaeozoological and taphonomical data are then compared with those concerning the lithic and bone artefacts. The lowest part of the site, consisting of layers 13 and 14, pertains to an Epipalaeolithic occupation with Iberomaurusian similarities. This chrono-stratigraphical phase I (layers 11-14) has been attributed to such an occupation, prior to the Upper Capsian. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


Sari L.,Center National Of Recherches Prehistoriques
Quaternary International | Year: 2014

This paper highlights the results of a technological analysis carried out for the first time on nine lithic assemblages belonging to three Iberomaurusian sites in Algeria (Tamar Hat rockshelter, Rassel cave and Columnata open-air site). The purpose of this paper is to identify the technical system adopted for the production of lithic artifacts in each of the studied assemblages in order to search for similarities and discrepancies in the technical behaviours between coastal and inland Iberomaurusian populations. This requires recognition of the reduction core strategies and transformation of the produced blanks, as well as research into debitage methods and techniques employed. In all three sites, local raw materials were preferred and the lithic production was primarily geared towards obtaining relatively standardized lamellar blanks with different debitage schemes. In lower occupations at Tamar Hat, the bladelets were mainly produced by implementing a single and complex chaîne opératoire of lamellar production which integrated variable blanks according to numerous and different schemes. The dominant scheme was an elaborate debitage oriented to the production of short and narrow bladelet blanks from reduced prismatic and sub-pyramidal cores, while by-products were exploited as bladelet cores to produce micro-bladelets and burin spalls. A change in the core reduction strategies appeared in the upper occupations of Tamar Hat where elongated bladelets were produced according to a common simple debitage widespread in the latest occupations. The implementation of a single chaîne opératoire is preserved in the lower layer of Rassel, although with a less elaborate roughing out processing, as for the upper occupations of Tamar Hat. In contrast, at Columnata three independent chaînes opératoires were implemented to produce robust blanks, which represents a stark contrast with previous methods known in the other sites. The technological analysis has provided strong arguments for a different know-how in technical behaviours between Iberomaurusian populations living in coastal rockshelters and those in hinterlands open-air sites. Thus, the different geographical areas seem to cover variable economic entities which would suggest a new adaptation of the same populations to different ecological niches. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


Kherbouche F.,Center National Of Recherches Prehistoriques | Dunne J.,University of Bristol | Merzoug S.,Center National Of Recherches Prehistoriques | Hachi S.,Center National Of Recherches Prehistoriques | Evershed R.P.,University of Bristol
Quaternary International | Year: 2016

Pathways to food production in Holocene north Africa are complex and varied and, for the human groups living there, are likely heavily influenced by varying factors such as local ecosystems and available resources. Molecular and isotopic analysis of absorbed food residues from 140 pottery vessels from Neolithic Gueldaman Cave site confirms that the exploitation of domesticated animals (sheep and goat), for their carcass fats, and their secondary products, e.g. dairy, began in Mediterranean north Africa in the 5th millennium BC. Findings from organic residue analyses are confirmed by the slaughter profiles from the faunal assemblage which suggest a mixed meat/milk economy. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


Megaceroides algericus is an extinct cervid species living in the Maghreb from the beginning of Upper Pleistocene. It was frequent in both Middle and Upper Palaeolithic sites. However, Megaceroides algericus presence stage becomes scarce in terms of population number in Iberomaurusian sites (Final Upper Paleolithic). Our study of Tamar Hat and Taza 1 sites (Babors' Region) supports this observation and shows that in spite of insufficient number of animal remains (NISP) and individuals (MNl), this species had a particular interest (status) for Iberomaurisian populations of Babors' Region, as a food product as well as raw material to be processed in order to be utilized as final "manufactured" product.


Esclassan R.,University Paul Sabatier | Hadjouis D.,Center National Of Recherches Prehistoriques | Donat R.,Institute National Of Recherche En Archeologie Preventive Inrap | Passarrius O.,Pole dArcheologie | And 3 more authors.
Anthropologischer Anzeiger; Bericht über die biologisch-anthropologische Literatur | Year: 2015

Tooth wear is a natural phenomenon and a universal occurrence that has existed from the origin of humankind and depends on the way of life, especially diet. Tooth wear was very serious in ancient populations up to the medieval period. The aim of this paper is to present a global view of tooth wear in medieval times in Europe through different parameters: scoring systems, quantity and direction of wear, gender, differences between maxilla and mandible, relations with diet, caries, tooth malpositions and age.


PubMed | University Paul Sabatier, Pole dArcheologie, Institute National Of Recherche En Archeologie Preventive Inrap and Center National Of Recherches Prehistoriques
Type: Historical Article | Journal: Anthropologischer Anzeiger; Bericht uber die biologisch-anthropologische Literatur | Year: 2015

Tooth wear is a natural phenomenon and a universal occurrence that has existed from the origin of humankind and depends on the way of life, especially diet. Tooth wear was very serious in ancient populations up to the medieval period. The aim of this paper is to present a global view of tooth wear in medieval times in Europe through different parameters: scoring systems, quantity and direction of wear, gender, differences between maxilla and mandible, relations with diet, caries, tooth malpositions and age.

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