Mammal bone surface alteration during human consumption: An experimental approach
The study of human tooth marks on bones remains constitutes a promising line of research of high archaeological interest. Most taphonomic studies assume that tooth marks in bones are evidences of carnivore intervention. However, human beings, regardless of the use of lithic artifacts, access to animal nutrients through their masticatory system producing bite marks. In order to solve equifinality problems of the marks left during consumption, a study with volunteers has been carried out. Ten volunteers ate meat from the scapulae, radii and phalanges of Ovis aries, trying to bite the bones and extract the meat as much as possible. Each piece was consumed raw, roasted and boiled by the same people in order to differentiate marks according to bone and the type of cooking treatment. A significant number of marks were observed including types, morphologies and metric values. Differences between raw and cooked bones were also detected. These results may contribute to identify human bite marks and cooking treatment in the archaeological record.