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Identification of Late Epigravettian hunting injuries: Descriptive and 3D analysis of experimental projectile impact marks on bone

Duches, Rossella, Nannini, Nicola, Romandini, Matteo, Boschin, Francesco, Crezzini, Jacopo, Peresani, Marco
Journal of archaeological science 2016 v.66 pp. 88-102
archaeology, carnivores, corrosion, microscopy, morphometry, Europe
The search for diagnostic criteria useful in hunting lesions identification is a new branch of investigation. Though recently there has been an increase in studies focused on this issue, no experimental works exist that analyze marks left by backed, morphologically standardized lithic projectiles like those used by the hunter-gatherers that peopled a large part of Europe during the Late Glacial. As such, this paper aims to provide comparison data for identifying archaeological Late Epigravettian projectile impact marks. At the same time, the potential of 3D scanning microscopy to distinguish hunting injuries from other taphonomic marks is assessed. The morphometric analyses, based on the descriptive criteria developed from other recent studies, highlight the presence of peculiar features of experimentally produced drag and puncture marks. These data are interpreted as a result of the specific design of Late Epigravettian lithic projectiles. The outcomes of 3D digital analysis confirm the crucial role of this methodological approach in taphonomic study, offering new clues in PIMs (Projectile Impact Marks) archaeological identification and distinction from cut marks, carnivore tooth marks and corrosion cavities.