WP3 – Analysis of faunal and human remains

Faunal remains: They will be analysed for species and skeletal-element identification, which will help to determine paleoecological contexts surrounding the sites and faunal exploitation modalities. Analyses of bone surface modifications (e.g., cutmarks and toothmarks), breakage patterns and of the abundance of the various skeletal elements will be conducted to provide further details on the taphonomy of the site.

Human remains: Neandertal and (fossil and recent) modern human remains will be analysed to explore 1) variation in anterior teeth enamel thickness as well as 2) morphological and functional differences in foot bones (e.g., talus, calcaneus) using 3D digital models combined with cutting-edge digital methods. Results from the enamel thickness analysis of the anterior teeth may account for taxonomical discrimination and functional differences between the two groups, because it is still disputed whether Neandertal anterior dentition was more adapted to intense tooth use than AMH (e.g., Spencer and Demes, 1993; Wang et al., 2010; Clement et al., 2012). Results from the foot bone analysis may account for differences in mobility patterns, level of activity and mobility demands, ultimately providing information on Neandertal and modern human behaviour and subsistence practices.

Human and faunal remains: The migration and landscape use by humans and animals will be inferred trough the radiogenic isotopic ratio of strontium (87Sr/86Sr) on Neandertal and AMH teeth (e.g., Neandertal teeth from Riparo Tagliente and AMH teeth from Grotta Paglicci).