A calf-dominated mammoth age profile from the 27 kyBP stadial Krems-Wachtberg site in the middle Danube valley
Deinsea , Volume 9 - Issue 1 p. 135- 158
A short rescue-excavation in 1930 at a c.15 m2 encampment area recovered remains from at least eight individual mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius), six wolves (Canis lupus), four red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), one arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), three wolverines (Gulo gulo), and single remains from reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), ibex (Capra ibex), and musk ox (Ovibos moschatus). The body part representation and the bone modification patterns of the species are studied, and the death age profile of the mammoth bone sample is figured. The archeological documentation of the site, the preservation state of the bones, and the evidence of delicate bone fragments support a geologically short-time generated origin of the sample with only light disturbance by carnivores. The remains of at least four calves of suckling age, as well as two subadults, and two adults, at least one bull, may be caused by the exploitation of a mammoth family group. Within the body parts of the juveniles, heads including isolated milk teeth are overrepresented. The osteological patterns of the proboscidean finds indicate the utilization of head, back, and foot parts, as well as long bone and rib internals. Cortical bone fragments were used for works and tools. By ethological analogy the death age profile pleads for a proliferating mammoth population. The second main property of the sample is the extraordinary high carnivore representation, which is over 50 % of the minimal number of individuals, and the evidence of their butchering. Under three models about the procurement strategy, the task independent model, the natural cooccurrence model, and the co-occurrence exploiting model, this last one is favoured: The Pavlovian people confronted family herd-units, using any ambush place within the multiformity of the regional landscape, and selectively brought carcass parts back to the residential camp. The prey spectrum and the multiform landscape reflect a variety of potential forage grounds. This and the postulated healthy mammoth herd structure, suggest high yield environmental conditions, and a stable supply position of the Pavlovian people. Site occupation, interpreted from the mammoth calf ages, and from the osteological patterning of the medium-sized herbivore and carnivore carcasses, was probably during the winter months. The contextual occurrence of the zoomorphous burnt clay figurines and the animal parts may reflect a non-subsistential set of human behavior.