Palaeoecology and Forager Subsistence Strategies during the Pleistocene – Holocene Transition: A Reinvestigation of the Zooarchaeological Assemblage from Spirit Cave, Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand

Date
2016
Authors
Conrad, Cyler
Higham, Charles
Eda, Masaki
Marwick, Ben
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Abstract
This reanalysis uses the zooarchaeological assemblage recovered from Spirit Cave to understand hunter-gatherer use and occupation at the site during the Pleistocene – Holocene transition. We analyze bone fragmentation, sample size, and relative abundance to establish the preservation and overall composition of the remaining fauna. Identification of several new taxa, including roundleaf bats (Hipposideros larvatus and bicolor), elongated tortoise (Indotestudo elongata), black marsh turtle (Siebenrockiella crassicollis), Burmese hare (Lepus cf. peguensis) and a potential red junglefowl (Phasianidae — ?Gallus gallus) provide insights into hunter-gatherer occupation, palaeoecology, and subsistence strategies between 12,000 and 7000 years b.p. Our results indicate that Spirit Cave was occupied more sporadically than originally suggested; additionally, we identify new evidence for landscape disturbance during the early Holocene. Although this Spirit Cave zooarchaeological assemblage is incomplete, it remains an important component of Southeast Asian prehistory, providing evidence for human adaptations during a period of climatic change and instability.
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Keywords
Spirit Cave, zooarchaeology, NISP, MNI, Thailand, Pleistocene–Holocene transition, Hipposideros larvatus, Lepus peguensis, Siebenrockiella crassicollis
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