Fireside ghost stories: (re)introducing faunal analysis into the spatial organization of the Aurignacian open-air site of Régismont-le-Haut
Maria Joana Gabucio  1, *@  , Lars Anderson  2@  , Mathieu Lejay  2@  , François Baleux  2@  , Sandrine Costamagno  2@  , Nicolas Poirier  2@  , Romain Mensan  2@  , François Bon  2, 3@  
1 : Independet researcher
2 : Travaux et recherches archéologiques sur les cultures, les espaces et les sociétés  (TRACES)
Université Toulouse 2, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique : UMR5608
Maison de la Recherche, 5 allée Antonio Machado 31058 TOULOUSE Cedex 9 -  France
3 : Centre de recherche français à Jérusalem  (UMIFRE 7 - USR 3132)
* : Auteur correspondant

One could argue that an exploration of daily activities is a necessary step for the reconstruction of past hunter-gatherer lifeways – the detail of the former constitutes essential building blocks for the latter. Most classic sites are, however, rock-shelters, whose palimpsestual nature impedes such high-resolution questioning, forcing us to think in terms of general trends during “time-averaged” slices. Open-air sites, whose assemblages can sometimes be narrowed down to one or a few occupations, offer a way to circumvent such resolution problems. Yet even in cases where such spatial analysis is possible (systematic piece plotting, presence of latent and/or apparent structures...), faunal remains are often absent or poorly preserved. Consequently, those that do exist are usually ignored in spatial studies, or treated summarily, despite the potential wealth of taphonomic and zooarchaeological information they could provide.

Régismont-le-Haut is an Aurignacian open-air site situated in the Languedoc region of France. Its single archaeological level contains abundant materials (lithics, bones, colouring materials, shells...) and structural elements (combustion structures, limestone blocks), whose spatial organisation is very well preserved. The excavated area is divided into two loci, which seem to be contemporaneous - possibly related to a single occupation - and functionally complimentary: locus 1 appears to be a domestic area (multifunctional hearth-related areas) and locus 2 a task area (specialized activity areas, first stages of certain chaînes opératoires).

Here we present the analysis of faunal remains from sector 56, placed in locus 1. In spite of the relatively poor faunal preservation, 799 bone remains were coordinated and recovered. These were analysed according to types of bone tissue and taphonomic alterations (both anthropogenical and natural), in addition to their identification. It was also possible, using detailed field data, to retrieve coordinates, dimensions and orientations of 930 bones that were too poorly preserved to be recovered. These data were used to conduct a complete spatial analysis, including archeostratigraphical and planimetric analysis (scatter plots, density maps and spatial grid analysis), as well as the application of geospatial statistics (Ripley's K and Kij functions, Besag's L function, k-means analysis...). The results will be compared with those obtained from other archaeological materials. Our main aim is to contribute to the general spatial interpretation of the site, at the moment developed primarily on lithics, hearths and colouring materials. In turn, this work will help us understand the important role faunal remains can play in the spatio-temporal study of open-air deposits.

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