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Title: Land snail middens in the late Pleistocene and early Holocene in North Africa : a case study from Taforalt (Grotte des Pigeons), Morocco
Author: Taylor, Victoria Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 497X
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2014
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Land snail middens occur widely throughout the circum-Mediterranean with a particular concentration of sites in northwest Africa They often contain abundant terrestrial molluscs, charcoal, lithics, bone and charred plants. Previous work is limited despite the potential use for addressing questions of subsistence strategies and increasing sedentism, particularly in the context of the Broad Spectrum Revolution and the associated transition to agriculture. The work presented in this thesis forms part of the ' Cemeteries and sedentism in the Epipalaeolithic of North Africa' project which aims to investigate ritual behaviour, diet, technology and sedentism in Epipalaeolithic Morocco through a multi-proxy approach which also evaluates the role of climate and environment in any cultural developments. This thesis provides the first detailed analysis of the molluscan component from Taforalt (Grotte des Pigeons) (34°48'38"N, 2°24'30"W), a large, open cave in the Beni Snassen mountain range in northeast Morocco, 40km from the Mediterranean coast Extensive previous excavation has occurred but analysis of Mollusca has been very limited. The sequence is well dated by radiocarbon and covers the Ibermaurusian period (20,000- 12,800 Cal BP). Yellow Series deposits, with episodic evidence of human occupation, and a partly natural mollusc fauna, are overlain by Grey Series deposits which are highly anthropogenic, 99% of the molluscs having been collected and consumed by people. Four main edible species are identified: Dupotetia dupoteliana, Alabastrina soluta, Cernuella globuloidea and Olala punclata. Despite the large quantities of shells, molluscs were never a staple food and formed part of a broad based diet A modem mollusc survey identifies behavioural characteristics of mollusc clustering which facilitated collection. Results from a pilot stable isotopic study indicate wetter conditions in the Grey Series, consistent with the Greenland Interstadial 1 date shown by radiocarbon. The research is set in the wider context of a review of land mollusc middens.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available