Spanish archaeologists have unveiled the results of excavations in the Navalmaillo cave in central Spain. The authors established that this was not a permanent settlement, but a huge Neanderthal hunting camp, the largest in the Iberian Peninsula. Scientists have found many bones of large animals that ancient people hunted. The article was published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.
Cave Navalmaillo in the municipality of Pinilla del Valle in the province of Madrid, the largest Paleolithic site in the region with an age of about 76 thousand years and an area of more than 300 square meters, has attracted the attention of archaeologists for a long time. Previously, scientists found that ancient people here were engaged in the manufacture of stone tools, regularly made a fire, but what the site was for was still not known for sure.
Now archaeologists have found many animal bones with traces of butchering and have come to the conclusion that there was a hunting camp for Neanderthals, who used this place as a transit base between hunting areas and places of permanent settlements.
The authors believe that representatives of different orders of primitive hunters carried their prey here and processed it here for further consumption. Archaeologists have established that the objects of hunting for the Neanderthals were primarily large representatives of ungulates - wild bulls and deer.
"We were able to show with a high degree of certainty that the Navalmaillo Neanderthals mainly hunted large horned animals, processed their prey in one place, and then transferred it for consumption to another. This is a very interesting point, since this behavior is very unusual," in a press release from the National Center for Research on Human Evolution (CENIEH), as quoted by the study's lead author, Abel Moclán.
The basis for such conclusions was the results of a large complex of zooarchaeological and taphonomic studies processed using modern statistical methods based on machine learning techniques.