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Abstract

For several years the Prehistoric Commission of the Austrian Academy ofSciences has been carrying out􀂿eld research in the area of Krems in Lower Austria. In 2005 and 2006, two burials of infants, dated to 27.000 years BP, were discovered at the Gravettian open air site of Krems- Wachtberg. Nowhere have burials of such extremely young Upper Palaeolithic individuals ever been found. They substantially enrich the debate about rituals and document that infants were considered full members of huntergatherer communities. Furthermore, they enlarge our sample size of human fossil remains and help resolve issues of ontogeny of Early Modern Humans.
UNION
INTERNATIONALE
DES
SCIENCES
PREHISTORIQUES
ET
PROTOHISTORIQUES
INTERNATIONAL
UNION
FOR
PREHISTORIC
AND
PROTOHISTORIC
SCIENCES
PROCEEDINGS
OF
THE
XV
‘WORLD
CONGRESS
(LISBON,
4-9
SEPTEMBER
2006)
ACTES
DU
XV
CONGRES
MONDIAL
(LISBONNE,
4-9
SEPTEMBRE
2006)
Series
Editor:
Luiz
Oosterbeek
VOL.
24
2000
Hsboa
u
|
s
p p
Xvcongwesso
WS26
Babies
Reborn:
Infant/Child
Burials
in
Pre-
and
Protohistory
Edited
by
Krum
Bacvarov
.
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BAR
International
Series
1832
2008
This
title
published
by
Archaeopress
Publishers
of
British
Archaeological
Reports
Gordon
House
276
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BAR
S1832
Proceedings
of
the
XV
World
Congress
of
the
International
Union
for
Prehistoric
and
Protohistoric
Sciences
Actes
du
XV
Congrés
Mondial
de
l’Union
Internationale
des
Sciences
Préhistoriques
et
Protohistoriques
Outgoing
President:
Vitor
Oliveira
Jorge
Outgoing
Secretary
General:
Jean
Bourgeois
Congress
Secretary
General:
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Oosterbeek
(Series
Editor)
Incoming
President:
Pedro
Ignacio
Shmilz
Incoming
Secretary
General:
Luiz
Oosterbeek
Babies
Reborn:
infant/Chi/d
Burials
in
Pre-
and
Protohistory,
Vol.
24,
Section
W526
©
UISPP/
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and
authors
2008
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THE
GRAVETTIAN
INFANT
BURIALS
FROM
KREMS-WACHTBERG,
AUSTRIA
Thomas
EINWOGERER
Prehistoric
Commission
of
the
Austrian
Academy
of
Sciences,
Vienna,
thomas.einwoegerer@oeaw.ac.at
Marc
HANDEL
Prehistoric
Commission
of
the
Austrian
Academy
of
Sciences,
Vienna,
marc.haendel@oeaw.ac.at
Christine
NEUGEBAUER-MARESCH
Prehistoric
Commission
of
the
Austrian
Academy
of
Sciences,
Vienna,
Christine.Neugebauer-Maresch@oeaw.ac.at
Ulrich
SIMON
Prehistoric
Commission
of
the
Austrian
Academy
of
Sciences,
Vienna,
ulrich.simon@oeaw.ac.at
Maria
TESCHLER-NICOLA
Natural
History
Museum
Vienna,
Austria,
maria.teschler@nhm-wien.ac.at
Abstract:
For
several
years
the
Prehistoric
Commission
of
the
Austrian
Academy
of
Sciences
has
been
carrying
outeld
research
in
the
area
of
Krems
in
Lower
Austria.
In
2005
and
2006,
two
burials
of
infants,
dated
to
27.000
years
BP,
were
discovered
at
the
Gravettian
open
air
site
of
Krems-
Wachtberg.
Nowhere
have
burials
of
such
extremely
young
Upper
Palaeolithic
individuals
ever
been
found.
They
substantially
enrich
the
debate
about
rituals
and
document
that
infants
were
considered
full
members
of
hunter-
gatherer
communities.
Furthermore,
they
enlarge
our
sample
size
of
human
fossil
remains
and
help
resolve
issues
of
ontogeny
of
Early
Modern
Humans.
Keywords:
Gravettian,
infant
burials,
open
air
site,
Austria,
Krems-
Wachtberg
Résumé:
La
Commission
Préhistorique
de
l'Acade'mie
autrichienne
des
sciences
entrepris
depuis
quelques
années
une
série
d
‘explorations
dans
la
région
de
Krems
(Basse-A
utriche).
Les
fouilles
archéologiques
sur
le
site
gravettien
de
Krems-
Wachtberg
ont
livré
en
2005
et
en
2006
deux
sépultures
de
nourrissons,
datées
de
27.000
ans
BP.
Jusqu
'a'
présent
il
s
'agit
de
la
premiere
découverte
d
'individus
de
cet
age
du
paléolithique
supérieur.
Elle
relance
le
débat
au
sujet
des
rituels
funéraires
et
fournit
Ia
preuve
que
les
enfants
étaient
considérés
comme
membres
de
plein
droit
dans
les
communautés
de
chasseurs-cueilleurs.
Ces
restes
humains
viennent
enrichir
le
nombre
des
fossiles
humains
connus
etfournissent
une
contribution
a
l'étude
de
l’ontogénése
des
néanthropiens.
Mots
Clejs:
Gravettien,
sépultures
d
'enfants,
site
en
plein
air,
Autriche,
Krems-
Wachtberg
INTRODUCTION
Palaeolithic
loess
sites
in
Lower
Austria
have
been
well
known
since
the
end
of
the
19"‘
century
(Neugebauer-
Maresch
1999).
Within
the
last
decade
the
Prehistoric
Commission
of
the
Austrian
Academy
of
Sciences
focused
on
the
reinvestigation
of
Palaeolithic
sites
in
Eastem
Austria.
Among
these,
the
nd-spots
within
the
loess
sequences
of
Krems
became
of
particular
interest
(Neugebauer-Maresch
2000).
Surveys,
test
trenches
and
drilling-core
analysis
gave
a
picture
of
Gravettian
settle-
ment
pattems
in
this
topographic
area
between
the
Danube
and
the
river
Krems.
The
excavations
at
Krems-
Hundssteig
(Neuge-bauer-Maresch
2003,
2008;
Fladerer
&
Salcher
2004)
and
Krems-Wachtberg
(Einwogerer
2005
a
&
b;
Einwogerer
et
al.
2006)
support
this
evidence
and
provide
detailed
information
about
spatial
organiza-
tion
of
these
camp
sites
and
multiple
presence
of
modem
man
in
the
Middle
Upper
Palaeolithic
(Figs.
2.1
and
2.2).
THE
SITE
The
southem
slope
of
a
promontory,
where
the
river
of
Krems
ows
into
the
Danube,
is
called
Wachtberg
and
is
today
largely
covered
by
a
residential
area
belonging
to
the
city
of
Krems.
The
site
of
Krems-Hundssteig
is
situated
in
its
southernmost
part;
the
Krems-Wachtberg
site
lies
about
100
m
to
the
northwest.
The
research
at
rst
had
a
more
general
character.
We
aimed
to
re-
investigate
open
air
sites
in
the
centre
of
Lower
Austria
and
focused
on
an
extensive
excavation
of
the
well
known
site
of
Krems-Hundssteig
(2000-2002).
The
following
project
included
the
investigation
of
Krems-Wachtberg
(since
2005)
exclusively.
During
the
excavations
at
Krems-Hundssteig,
several
test
drillings
were
made
on
the
last
vacant
plots
in
the
Wachtberg
area,
and
a
clearly
denable
cultural
layer
with
a
high
density
of
nds
and
extremely
well
preserved
Bxsnzs
REBORN:
INFANT/CHILD
BURIALS
m
PRE-
AND
PROTOHISTORY
T"-.1’-.,>\
\
K
6*“
Q‘;-0
.10
man.
"be
ununua
Iii
'
8
ev-
_
ma»;
'11-"
.1‘
fa
if’
‘-
)
‘ls
1
‘\<
_A;q!’u,-;'r
he-is;
1'"-
:44‘
/";_
o_.
.741
'
“ii
o“"“‘
I‘
'\
’,,,,-nn‘~
/"i\'1
Inq-
Savbvtei
r‘?\
29.1.;
<1
<4"
Nile
Ii-irr-I/13
113%,
Fig.
2.1.
The
city
of
Krems
is
situated
north
of
the
Danube,
where
the
river
exits
the
narrow
Wachau
valley
and
ows
into
the
alluvial
plain
northwest
of
Vienna
(modied
Austrian
Map
2.0,
BEV
Vienna
2001)
Krcms-Hundsstcig
Fig.
2.2.
The
Wachtberg
area
between
the
Danube
and
the
river
Krems,
with
the
site
of
Krems-Hundssteig
in
the
southem
pan
and
Krems-Wachtberg
about
100
m
further
northwest
(Photo:
Austrian
Academy
of
Sciences,
Prehistoric
Commission)
I6
Krems-Wachtberg
City
of
Krems
\
T.
EINWOGERER
ET/lL.Z
THE
GRAVETTIAN
INFANT
BURIALS
FROM
KREMS-WACHTBERG,
Ausrnm
faunal
remains
like
bone
and
mammoth
ivory
was
recorded
in
a
depth
of
approximately
5
m
and
in
an
area
of
about
250
m
not
far
from
the
place
where
Josef
Bayer
had
already
excavated
in
1930
(Einwogerer
2000;
Fladerer
2001,
2003).
THE
EXCAVATIONS
Already
during
the
rst
excavation
campaign
at
Krems-
Wachtberg
in
2005,
an
extraordinarily
well
developed
Gravettian
cultural
layer
(archaeological
horizon
AH
4,
Poz-1290:
26.580
i
160
BP)
to
a
great
extent
a
living
oor
with
distinct
features
(structures
évidentes)
was
recorded.
The
living
oor
is
characterized
by
a
compact
mixture
of
ash
coloured
sediment
and
nd
material.
Although
only
18
m2
have
been
investigated
so
far,
a
rich
assemblage
of
more
than
17.000
single
nds
was
recovered.
Among
these
are
about 7.000
bumed
and
unburned
faunal
remains
as
well
as
about 7.000
lithic
artefacts
of
over
l
cm
in
size.
Aside
from
many
large
(up
to
8
cm
in
size)
and
exceptionally
well
preserved
pieces
of
charcoal,
several
kinds
of
painting
material
such
as
red
and
yellow
ochre,
haematite,
graphite
and
weathered
shell
limestone
(for
white
colour)
were
retrieved.
Just
as
for
the
production
of
stone
tools,
the
complete
manufacturing
process
can
also
be
reconstructed
for
animal
remains.
Aside
from
a
few
almost
complete
long
bones
and
larger
tusk
fragments,
medium
to
small
bone
akes
of
mostly
up
to
6
cm
in
size,
are
predominant
among
the
mammoth
remains.
They
most
probably
result
from
the
manufacturing
of
bone
tools
and/or
from
crushing
bones
to
extract
the
marrow.
As
for
mammoth
ivory,
even
small
chips
resulting
from
carving
the
material
with
stone
tools
were
recorded.
Recovered
bone
and
antler
tools include
a
polisher
made
from
the
rib
of
a
mammoth,
two
awls
and
several
fragments
of
antler
projectile
points.
Among
ornaments
such
as
ivory
beads,
perforated
teeth
of
wolf
and
polar
fox,
the
ivory
pins
are
of
particular
interest.
Another
outstanding
nd
is
a
small
fragment
of
red
clay
with
imprints
of
human
papillary
lines
and
the
impression
of
a
ngemail
(Svoboda
et
al.
2004).
This
evidence
for
ring
clay
and
several
denticulated
backed
bladelets
in
the
lithic
inventory
provide
a
direct
connection
to
the
site
of
Josef
Bayer
(1930).
Furthermore,
these
ndings
indicate
a
close
relation
to
the
contemporaneous
southem
Moravian
sites,
like
Dolni
Véstonice,
Pavlov
and
Pfedmosti
(Svoboda
2004).
The
inventory
is
therefore
referred
to
the
Gra-
vettian.
The
centre
of
the
nds’
distribution,
dened
by
a
high
density
of
charcoal,
faunal
remains,
painting
material
and
lithic
artefacts,
can
be
assumed
to
be
located
west
of
the
excavated
area.
Three
clearly
denable
features
are
stratigraphically
connected
with
this
living
oor.
Pit
3
is
located
on
the
western
edge
of
the
investigated
area,
and
therefore
not
yet
excavated
completely.
It
descends
vertically
from
the
living
floor
for
approximately
30
cm
and
has
a
at
base.
The
pit
with
yet
unclear
function
is
compactly
lled
with
mainly
charcoal
and
burned
animal
bones,
and
is
covered
by
several
debris
layers.
INFANT
BURIALS
In
September
2005
and
in
July
2006
two
infant
burials,
(Double-)
Burial
I
and
Burial
2,
were
discovered
in
a
peripheral
position
south
of
the
area
with
the
highest
concentration
of
nds.
The
grave
pits
also
descend
vertically
from
the
base
of
the
living
oor
and
are
together
with
Pit
3
the
oldest
features
within
the
archaeological
horizon
AH
4.
Despite
the
fact
that
there
are
yet
no
radiocarbon
dates
of
the
human
skeletal
remains,
we
can
therefore
assume
that
the
infants
were
buried
at
the
beginning
of
the
settlement
activity
connected
with
the
living
oor.
Burial
1
At
the
base
of
a
at
recess,
which
was
lled
in
two
phases
with
nd
material
from
the
main
archaeological
horizon
AH
4,
a
shoulder
blade
of
an
adult
mammoth
in
horizontal
position
was
uncovered.
The
bone
was
nearly
complete,
but
clearly
showed
articially
induced
traces:
the
joint
(cavitas
glenoidalis)
was
exposed
to
re
and
the
spina
scapulae,
pointing
to
the
bottom
of
the
pit,
had been
intentionally
removed
by
regular
aking.
After
recovering
the
bone,
which
was
supported
by
a
piece
of
mammoth
tusk,
a
3-S
cm
deep
hollow
space
was
encountered.
Below
a
very
thin
alluvial
layer
of
Loess,
the
skeletons
of
two
babies
were
uncovered,
embedded
in
red
ochre
(Fig.
2.
3).
Both
newboms
were
buried
in
a
strongly
crouched
position
with
their
heads
to
the
north
and
their
faces
towards
east.
The
excellent
preservation
of
this
grave
is
due
to
the
robust
and
therefore
protective
mammoth
shoulder
blade.
Both
individuals’
crania
were
preserved
three-dimensi-
onally
and
showed
considerable
empty
spaces
even
after
27.000
years.
The
same
observation
was
made
in
the
case
of
the
thorax
of
the
infant
to
the
west
(Individual
2),
where
hollow
spaces
between
spine
and
ribs
were
noticed.
A
string
of
at
least
30
drop
shaped
ivory
beads,
which
had
been
placed
around
the
pelvis
of
the
baby
to
the
west,
is
to
be
considered
as
personal
adomment
or
offering.
The
double
grave
was
recovered
as
a
block
and
brought
to
the
General
Hospital
of
Vienna,
where
a
computer
tomography
was
taken.
In
the
Natural
History
Museum
Vienna,
Department
of
Anthropology,
the
recovered
block
was
rst
stored
in
a
climate
chamber
until
laser
scanning
was
carried
out.
This
non-invasive
procedure
was
an
obligatory
step
in
order
to
three-dimensionally
record
the
supercial
features
and
bone
contours
and
to
produce
scaled
copies
for
exhibition
purposes.
In
the
BABIES
Rsaormz
INFANT/CHILD
BURIALS
m
PRE-
AND
PROTOI-IISTORY
:
_..t.-
4-
--
‘_/7',-.,'_Av
_
5
-~'-
-v-'
'-
-1
"
I
Fig.
2.3.
Krems-Wachtberg
(Austria):
Burial
1
was
recovered
as
a
block
and
moved
to
the
Natural
History
Museum
in
Vienna,
Department
of
Anthropology.
All
rrther
investigations
can
thus take
place
in
the
lab
(Photo:
Natural
History
Museum
Vienna,
Department
of
Anthropology)
laboratory,
the
'agile
bones
are
being
consolidated,
carefully
excavated,
documented
and
examined
anthropo-
logically
since
that
time.
The
developmental
stage
of
a
deciduous
incisor
of
Individual
2
(right)
allowed
to
estimate
the
age at
death
as
perinatal
(9"‘-l0“‘
lunar
month).
The
equal
lengths
of
both
right
femora
indicate
the
same
age
at
death
of
both
newborns.
Contemporaneous
burial
suggests
they
were
twins.
It
was
also
possible
to
recover
the
ossicles
of
Individual
I
(left).
The
excellently
preserved
burial
with
its
skeletal
remains
gives
us
the
chance
to
observe
details
of
the
burial
practice,
for
example,
the
shape
and
boundaries
of
the
red
ochre
indicate
that
both
babies
have
not
only
been
embedded
in,
but
supposedly
smeared
over
with
this
material,
probably
mixed
with
animal
fat.
Burial
2
In
summer
2006,
a
second
burial
was
found
about
l
m
north
of
the
double
burial
and
in
the
same
stratigraphic
position
(Fig.
2.4).
l
i
Fig.
2.4.
Krems-Wachtberg
(Austria):
Burial
2
was
recovered
as
a
block
and
moved
to
the
Natural
History
Museum
in
Vienna,
Department
of
Anthropology
(Photo:
Natural
History
Museum
Vienna,
Department
of
Anthropology)
In
contrast,
this
burial
pit
had
not
been
covered
by
a
protective
shoulder
blade
and
it
contained
only
a
single
individual
lying
in
a
different
orientation,
with
the
head
to
the
south.
Just
like
the
newborns
of
the
double
burial,
Individual
3
has
also
been
buried
in
a
exed
position,
facing
the
east
and
embedded
in
a
conspicuous
amount
of
red
ochre.
The
sharp
boundaries
of
the
dispersion
of
red
pigment
indicate
that
at
least
this
individual
had
been
embraced
by
an
organic
material
(fur
or
leather?),
which
has
decayed
completely
in
the
course
of
the
millennia.
In
the
case
of
Burial
2
it
might
have
been
xed
with
the
ivory
pin,
which
was
found
2
cm
above
the
skull.
Missing
the
protection
of
an
object
like
the
mammoth
shoulder
blade,
this
skeleton
is
less
well
preserved
than
those
of
the
double
burial.
In
contrast
to
the
rst
burial,
3D-laserscanning
was
performed
directly
on
site.
Burial
2
was
also
recovered
as
a
block
and
brought
to
the
General
Hospital
of
Vienna
for
computer
tomography.
Afterwards
it
was
transported
to
the
laboratory
of
the
Department
of
Anthropology
at
the
Natural
History
Museum
in
Vienna
for
further
excavation
and
special
analysis.
Based
on the
mineralization
degree
of
the
upper
incisors
and
the
length
of
the
le
femur
T.
EINWOGERER
ETAL.I
THE
GRAVETTIAN
INFANT
BURIALS
FROM
KREMS-WACHTBERG,
AUSTRIA
(approximately
85
mm),
the
age
at
death
can
be
estimated
as
0-3
months.
SUMMARY
The
nds
at
Krems-Wachtberg
in
general
the
technology
of
lithic,
bone
and
ivory
industry,
the
use
of
red
clay
and
settlement
structures
-
conrm
the
close
relation
to
the
contemporaneous
south
Moravian
sites,
like
Dolni
Véstonice,
Pavlov
and
Ptedmosti.
Moreover,
one
could
nd
parallels
in
the
burial
rituals
and
related
symbolic
activities
as
well.
This
is
evidenced
by
the
use
of
red
ochre,
grave
goods
as
ivory
beads
and
the
practice
of
covering
the
grave
with
a
mammoth
shoulder
blade
(Trinkaus
&
Svoboda
2006).
While
Upper
Palaeolithic
graves
of
adults
are
better
documented,
burial
evidence
of
younger
pre-adolescents
are
rare.
This
phenomenon
initiated
a
discussion
about
the
possible
different
treatment
of
infants
at
death
(Zilhao
&
Trinkaus
2002).
The
burials
of
Krems-Wachtberg
demonstrate
that
newborns
were
already
considered
full
members
of
hunter-gatherer
communities
27,000
years
ago
(Einwbgerer
et
al.
2006).
These
ndings
not
only
enrich
the
debate
on
the
Gravettian
ritual
behaviour
but
also
enlarge
our
sparse
sample
of
Upper
Palaeolithic
human
fossil
remains
in
Austria
(Teschler-Nicola
&
Trinkaus
2001;
Teschler-Nicola
et
al.
2004)
and
add
to
our
understanding
of
the
ontogeny
of
Early
Modem
Humans.
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T.
2000.
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A
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M.
&
E.
TRINKAUS
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2006.
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ZILHAO,
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2002.
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... Historically, the first attempts to approach presence of children in Palaeolithic populations has been considered through the anthropological studies of osseous remains in the mortuary contexts of such sites as: Lagar Velho in Portugal (Zilhão and Trinkaus, 2002), Sungir in Russia (Trinkaus and Buzhilova, 2012;Trinkaus et al., 2014), Dolní Věstonice in Moravia (Oliva, 2001), Kostenki in Russia (Oliva, 2001), Krems in Austria (Einwögerer et al., 2006(Einwögerer et al., , 2008, Abri Pataud (Billy, 1975) and La Madeleine (Vanhaeren and DÉrrico, 2001) in the French Dordogne, and Grotte des Enfants in Italy (Henry-Gambier, 2001), as well as finds of remains of human infants (Wilczyński et al., 2016: Garralda et al., 2019. Along with it, ethnological studies have also had an important role to attune to the interconnections and overlap between the worlds of adults and children among hunter-gatherers and other "traditional" societies and the possible role of this children inside their communities (Ucko and Rosenfeld, 1967;David, 2002;Zeller, 1987;Hawkes et al., 1995;Owens and Hayden, 1997;Derevensky, 2000), not forgetting that caution must be used when drawing this kind of parallels. ...
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Im Rahmen eines Forschungsprojektes der Prähistorischen Kommission der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften! werden seit 2005 amWachtberg in Krems (Niederösterreich) gravettienzeitliche Siedlungsschichten ausgegraben. Dabei konnte eine bis 10 Zentimeter mächtige Kulturschicht dokumentiert werden, die ein umfangreiches Fauna- und Steingeräteinventar erbrachte. Diese als archäologischer Horizont 4 (AH 4) bezeichnete Fundschicht datiert aufrund 26500 Radiokarbonjahre vor heute und ist techno- und typologisch dem Gravettien zuzurechnen.
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The salvage excavation Hundssteig 2000/03 within the Upper Palaeolithic Krems-Hundssteig/Wachtberg site cluster yielded a 2,000-bone assemblage, with mammoth as the dominant species. Mammoth is represented by a minimum of 8 individuals, including two suckling calves. The next most common herbivore species is reindeer (MNI 6), followed by red deer, ibex, horse, and rhino, which are each represented by a single individual. Carnivore bones are fewer in number, and include 2 wolves, 2 Arctic foxes, and one stoat. The patterns of all three groups are compared to the small Wachtberg assemblage excavated in 1930, a site that is hypothesized to be chronologically and typologically very similar. This upslope-situated area within the site cluster displayed a thick ashy layer, a high bone and stone artefact density in space, bone artefacts, carnivore carcass burials, and it appears to be part of an interior camp zone. Whereas the downslope Hundssteig 2000/02 site represents a peripheral area with scattered large bones interpreted as waste disposal, cortical bone flakes and articulated limb units indicate green bone processing activities that are left as a primary refuse of later stage butchery activities within the site complex. Indications of carnivore scavenging are more frequent here. A synthesis of local and regional mammoth record patterns, including (1) an abundance of transported cancellous calf bones, axial parts as well as foot parts, and (2) less numerous ungulates agree with mammoth being the main species of human subsistence.
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Early excavations at the Willendorf site complex in Austria yielded a femoral diaphysis collected between 1883 and 1887 and a mandibular symphysis discovered in 1908--1909. The femoral section, Willendorf 1, derives from the Willendorf I site and direct AMS (14)C dating (24,250+/-180 years B.P.) assigns it to layer 9. The Willendorf 2 mandibular piece was excavated from layer 9 of the Willendorf II site, which is AMS (14)C dated to 24,000--23,900 years B.P. The Willendorf 1 femoral piece is relatively small and exhibits a pronounced pilaster and linear aspera, moderately elevated relative cortical area, and a level of diaphyseal robusticity in the middle of the European earlier Upper Paleolithic human range of variation, assuming similar body proportions. The Willendorf 2 mandibular symphysis has an inferior lingual torus, a planum alveolare, and a mental trigone with indistinct lateral tubercles, a clear fossa mentalis and a midline basilar rounding. In these features it is close to the majority of European earlier Upper Paleolithic mandibles.
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