The persistence of red deer (Cervus elaphus) in the human diet during the Lower Magdalenian in northern Spain: Insights from El Cierro cave (Asturias, Spain)
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AuthorPortero, Rodrigo; Cueto Rapado, María Ana; Jordá Pardo, Juan F.; Bécares Pérez, Julián; Álvarez Fernández, Esteban
he dominance of red deer in Magdalenian records in Cantabrian Spain is a well-studied issue. Given the great accumulations of this species in those deposits, researchers have offered diverse interpretations of the phenomenon, related to ecology, orography or ethology. However, fewer papers carry out comparative intra-site analysis, which is able to document the existence of changes or continuities in the subsistence strategies at an archaeological site.
The aim of this paper is to present the results of the archaeozoological analysis of Levels F and G in El Cierro cave (Asturias, Spain), both of them dated during Greenland Stadial 2, in the Lower Magdalenian (15,460 ± 75 and 15,580 ± 75 BP, respectively). Similar percentages of mammals have been documented in the two levels, as well as the same meat and fat consumption and processing strategies. Thus, this paper intends to determine how much energy red deer supplied to the diet of the humans that inhabited El Cierro, in comparison with other hunted and consumed fauna during the Lower Magdalenian.
This study highlights the continuity of exploitation patterns of faunal resources in El Cierro cave during the Lower Magdalenian. This continuity is specifically seen in red deer, since the geographic characteristics of the Sella Valley, the abundance of the biotype, and the economic profitability of this species made it the main resource of animal origin for the hunter-gatherers at that site.