Abstract and Keywords
Over the last twenty years attempts have been made to determine the nature of Upper Palaeolithic hunting specialization. This chapter traces assemblage structural ‘specialization’, where faunal assemblages are dominated by a single species, vs ‘diversity’, in which all recorded species are well represented, between 45,000 and 10,000 bp (Châtelperronian to Azilian), and demonstrates regularity in the archaeozoological record. It moves away from the assumption that assemblages with at least 90% of bones attributable to a single species result from specialized hunting strategies, and seeks explanations for patterns of diversification. The study also deals with the Late Glacial Maximum with its narrowing resource base and the Magdalenian of southwest France, when specialized reindeer hunting is traditionally considered of paramount importance. The chapter uses measures of diversity and evenness to quantify variation observed through time, highlighting a peak in single-species exploitation during the Middle Upper Palaeolithic. Finally, interpretations are offered for future consideration.
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