On the evolution of diet and landscape during the Upper Paleolithic through Mesolithic at Franchthi Cave (Peloponnese, Greece)

Mary C Stiner, Natalie D. Munro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Franchthi Cave in southern Greece preserves one of the most remarkable records of socioeconomic change of the Late Pleistocene through early Holocene. Located on the southern end of the Argolid Peninsula, the area around the site was greatly affected by climate variation and marine transgression. This study examines the complex interplay of site formation processes (material deposition rates), climate-driven landscape change, and human hunting systems during the Upper Paleolithic through Mesolithic at Franchthi Cave based on the H1B faunal series. Building on earlier work, we establish the full spectrum of the meat diet using taphonomic evidence, and we analyze these data for trends in socioeconomic reorganization. Foraging patterns during the Aurignacian and " Gravettoid" occupations at Franchthi were terrestrial and already rather diversified in comparison to Middle Paleolithic diets in southern Greece. Hunting shifted abruptly to a mixed marine-terrestrial pattern during the Final Paleolithic, and fishing activities intensified though the Mesolithic. The zooarchaeological data indicate two consecutive trends of increasing dietary breadth, the first within an exclusively terrestrial context, and the second as marine habitats came into use through the end of the Mesolithic. The intensity of the human occupations at this site increased in tandem with intensified use of animal and plants. Comparison to the inland site of Klissoura Cave 1 indicates that the trend toward broader diets was regional as well as local.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-636
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume60
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

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Mesolithic
Paleolithic
caves
Greece
cave
diet
hunting
occupation
socioeconomics
trend
climate
transgressive segregation
socioeconomic development
climate variation
landscape change
reorganization
meat
transgression
habitat
preserves

Keywords

  • Diet breadth
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Marine foraging
  • Prey choice model
  • Site formation processes
  • Vertebrate taphonomy
  • Zooarchaeology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

On the evolution of diet and landscape during the Upper Paleolithic through Mesolithic at Franchthi Cave (Peloponnese, Greece). / Stiner, Mary C; Munro, Natalie D.

In: Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 60, No. 5, 05.2011, p. 618-636.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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