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ISSN: 2690-5752

Journal of Anthropological and Archaeological Sciences

Research Article(ISSN: 2690-5752)

Butchery, Art or Rituals Volume 3 - Issue 3

Yolanda Fernández-Jalvo1* and Peter Andrews2

  • 1Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), Jose Gutiérrez Abascal, Madrid, Spain
  • 2The Natural History Museum. Cromwell Road, London, UK

Received: November 05, 2020   Published: January 18, 2021

Corresponding author: Yolanda Fernández-Jalvo, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), Jose Gutiérrez Abascal, Madrid, Spain

DOI: 10.32474/JAAS.2021.03.000163


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Evidence and traces recorded on fossil bones, directly or indirectly produced by hominins, can shed light on multiple issues of importance in human evolution. For example, fossil bones bearing cut marks may indicate the presence of hominins despite the absence of hominin fossils. Moreover, cut marks on fossil bones are associated with the use of stones or any hard material for tool-making and preparation and transformation of skeletal elements to have a secondary use by humans. Therefore, cut marks are indicative of technological innovations in human evolution, evolution of their brains and their behaviors, including the beginnings of artistic expression. Correct interpretation of these innovative actions and distinction from butchery needs special attention, particularly in a cannibalistic context given the debate, complexity and meaning that this practice has. This paper focuses on two aspects that have special relevance in human evolution: i) the use of stone tools (cut marking) and implications of cut marks for exploring human behavior as a potential indicator of artistic decoration, funerary treatments vs. butchery, ii) the significance of transforming specific anatomical elements, the skulls, to become ritual artefacts vs. useful accessories. These aspects have had special significance in the ongoing debate about evolutionary trends in the human brain and acquirement of modern human behaviors and mentality, including art. This paper takes a special case study of an Upper Paleolithic site, Gough’s Cave, (UK). This paper reinforces the importance of taphonomic identifications in their contexts, rather than concluding based on individual specimens or individual marks.

Keywords:Cannibalism; Cut-marks; Human Behaviors; Art; Skull Caps

Abstract| Introduction| Materials and Methods| Discussion: Dietary vs. ritual cannibalism in Gough’s cave| Final Remarks| Acknowledgements| References|