Dr. Grayson and his assistant will analyze archaeological faunal remains excavated from the site of Le Flageolet I, which is located in the Perigord region of France. Years of careful excavation at the site have revealed a series of superimposed cultural layers which are rich in animal remains as well as stone tools. Nine of these layers contain Aurignacian and Perigordian cultural materials, the earliest of which are approximately 35,000 years old, and thus, date to the last part of the most recent Ice Age. These cultural layers document the first appearance of anatomically modern humans in Europe. The team will analyze the faunal remains with innovative techniques to determine the extent to which these Paleolithic peoples obtained animal food through hunting as opposed to scavenging. Recent arguments maintain that the preceding Middle Paleolithic peoples were dependent on scavenging to obtain the flesh of at least larger mammals. This position holds that fully efficient hunting did not emerge until about 35,000 years ago and that this ability emerged as part of the complex of characteristics that marks behaviorally modern peoples. While several Middle Paleolithic faunal series have been studied, they do not answer the question because no comparable assemblages younger than 35,000 years have been analyzed. This research will provide the first such sample. This research is important because it will increase our understanding of the forces which shaped human development. Many anthropologists have argued that humans evolved as hunters and that the skills necessary to hunt form an essential part of human behavior and shaped its development. Others believe that such is not the case and that such hunting is relatively recent. This research addresses the issue and thus, should shed light on the process which made us human.

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Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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University of Washington
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