restricted access Chapter 10. The Butchering Sequence at Lange/Ferguson
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143 The convergence of a number of taphonomic factors at Lange/Ferguson allowed in situ preservation of culturally modified mammoth bone elements. These taphonomic factors include (1) rapid burial by very low-velocity sediments that precluded bone alteration by either carnivore /scavenger activity or weathering; (2) minimal effects from sediment loading; (3) total lack of trampling; and (4) no fluvial displacement of elements prior to burial. The overall anatomical configuration present at Lange/ Ferguson would be most unlikely in an assemblage where “natural” processes of disarticulation were at work. With very few exceptions, the individual bones at Lange/ Ferguson, both modified and unmodified, demonstrate excellent preservation and have remained undisturbed since the time of butchering activity. These circumstances make it possible to reconstruct the butchering sequence with particular accuracy. The patterns of carcass dismemberment and bone reduction in the sequence at Lange/ Ferguson provide substantial data on the systematics of Clovis mammoth butchering strategies, as well as evidence for the utilization of a mammoth bone flake and cleaver technology. The butchering sequence is outlined below: 1. The head was severed from the neck between the fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae. 2. The neck was separated from the remainder of the vertebrae. 3. The scapulae were excised and separated from both humeri. 4. Dismemberment and removal of the pectoral girdle resulted in the modification of several thoracic vertebrae. 5. The pelvis was butchered off as a separate unit from the lumbar vertebrae and also as a separate unit from the hind limbs. 6. The spinal column with ribs and brisket was treated as a distinct unit from the rest of the anatomy. 7. The right femur was separated from the pelvis and the more distal limb bones (tibia and fibula) and transported 4 m east of the main butchering area. The Adult Mammoth It is estimated that the Lange/Ferguson adult mammoth (Mammuthus sp.), based on long bone measurement calculations, stood 3.5 m (11.5 ft) high at the shoulder (Martin 1987:326) and weighed 8,164 kg (18,000 lb) (Pat Shipman, personal communication 1987). An examination of the mandibular molars revealed an average enamel thickness of 2.3 mm and a frequency of eight plates per 10 cm along the anteroposterior axis of the molar. Occlusal wear was documented on all M2 plates but on less than 50 percent of the M3 plates (fig. 59). Per Saunders (1980:90), the age of the animal was estimated to be the The Butchering Sequence at Lange/Ferguson chapter ten L. Adrien Hannus Figure 59. Field preparation of adult mammoth mandible and dentition. M3 enamel thickness: 2.3 mm. M3 plate frequency: 8. 144 Chapter Ten equivalent of 30–35 African elephant years at the time of death (Martin 1987:326). The animal’s sex is believed to be female based on direct association with a juvenile and the patterns of social behavior observed among modern elephant herds (see, for example, Douglas-Hamilton and Douglas-Hamilton 1975). Taphonomic and geomorphological evidence at Lange/ Ferguson indicate that at the time of death, the adult mammoth was in a crouched position with the forelimbs bogged more deeply than the hind limbs. All limb elements were articulated below the knee and elbow joints, and the left forelimbs and hind limbs were articulated below the shoulder and hip joints. The butchering strategy employed by the Clovis hunters involved severing the head from the neck between the fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae (C4 and C5). The atlas and axis vertebrae (C1 and C2) were recovered as complete , separate elements with no evidence of butchering marks. The third and fourth cervical vertebrae (C3 and C4) were also recovered as separate elements; both exhibit shearing of the spinous processes through the neural arches against the centra. The fifth through seventh cervical vertebrae (C5–C7) were absent from the bone assemblage. The right and left scapulae were removed by cutting musculature at the anterior, superior, and posterior margins . Separation of the right humerus and the scapula was accomplished by chopping into the glenohumeral joint capsule and the proximal end of the right humerus. The separation of the left humerus was accomplished by destroying the integrity of the glenohumeral joint capsule, leaving no butchering evidence either on the left scapula glenoid or the left proximal humerus. The right scapula was complete, albeit fragmented from sediment loading. The blade of the left scapula was sheared. Segments of the left scapula were bifacially flaked on the edges, resulting in the creation of...


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