Along the ice margin-The cultural taphonomy of Late Pleistocene mammoth in southeastern Wisconsin (USA)

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Four localities (Fenske, Mud Lake, Schaefer, and Hebior) in southeastern Wisconsin have been put forth as probable sites associated with early peoples based on purported cultural marks on bones and lithic artifacts. Only two of the localities (Schaefer and Hebior) have associated lithics. Radiocarbon dates provide a time period of ca. 13,530-11,200 yr BP. Results of the taphonomic analysis regarding natural modifications are reported elsewhere and the potential cultural modification category was examined further using established criteria as well as additional features. Two mark types are identified as caused by human agency. Foot elements are most affected by marks, followed by long bones. The marks indicate two major activities occurring, that of cutting actions in defleshing and prying or leverage actions in disarticulation. The Mud Lake and Fenske mammoth are found carcasses already stiffened when scavenged by people. Schaefer most likely represents a hunted animal while Hebior being a hunted or found fresh carcasses could not be determined. The resource procurement strategy, whether the carcass is fresh or stiffened, appears to be the same. Easily accessible legs and feet form the focal point and provide a sizeable amount of protein from muscle bundles and fat from foot pads. Based on the Wisconsin localities, both hunting and scavenging of mammoth by early peoples have a time depth in the late Pleistocene beyond the Clovis-age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-83
Number of pages20
JournalQuaternary International
Issue numberSPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Jul 2007


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