MonBones participes in the ICAZ-TWG 2022 International Meeting on Taphonomy

MonBones participes in the 9th International Meeting on Taphonomy and Fossilization and the 6th ICAZ Taphonomy Working Group Meeting (ICAZ-TWG), held from June 5th to 11th, 2022 in Alcalá de Henares (Spain)

Two podium comunications were presented by the MonBones researchers:

1. Lluís lloveras et al. presented the paper Taphonomic evidence for rabbit fur production in Medieval Barcelona

Lluis Lloveras taphonomy congres

 In the Middle Ages, Barcelona was an important centre for leather and fur production. A large number of tanneries involved in the transformation of animals hides and skins, located on the outskirts of the city, have been documented. Despite this, the importance of these activities has hardly been considered from the perspective of the archaeofaunal remains. This scarcity of data is even greater when it comes to the preparation of the fur of small animals such as rabbits. In this paper we present the taphonomic study of a sample of rabbit remains recovered from El Born archaeological site. Specifically, the sample comes from a 13th century context excavated in an area called Casa Riera. In the period under study, this area was just outside the limit of the urbanised zone, and it was connected to important water courses. The context studied was very rich in faunal remains, mostly rabbits and ovicaprines. Analysis of the rabbit bones indicates that these animals were clearly used for fur production. Our results have enabled us to characterise this type of assemblage taphonomically. Besides, on the basis of the results, some of the steps in animal carcass processing and of tanning practices can be illustrated. Finally, our data are contrasted with the background provided by documentary evidence.

2. Jordi Nadal et al. presented the paper Footprints in the cloister. The study of ichnites on tiles from the Monastery of Santa Maria de Pedralbes (Barcelona)

Jordi Nadal Taphonomy Congres

The close relationship between ichnology, palaeontology and taphonomy has a long tradition. This discipline is applicable to the study of any motile organism, whether marine or terrestrial, vertebrate or invertebrate, and has been used for both palaeobiological and taphonomical reconstructions. Despite this, the application of vertebrate ichnology in anthropogenic contexts (archaeological sites) has primarily focused on the study of human footprints, generally in Pleistocene chronological contexts and normally to demonstrate the presence of hominids at a site or in the study of the evolution of bipedalism. It is not until recent times that ichnology has been applied to periods in which the use of clay is widespread, especially as a construction material, in the manufacture of adobe or fired bricks and tiles. This production grew exponentially with the expansion of the Roman world in the Mediterranean context, and this has been the focus of interest of some studies about the presence of animals on archaeological sites from the analysis of footprints.

In this study we present the results of the analysis of a minimum of 135 animal tracks located in the floor of different buildings forming part of the Monastery of Santa Maria de Pedralbes (Barcelona, North-eastern Spain), especially on the ground floor and first floor of the Gothic cloister. The analysis consisted of the taxonomical identifications, and a taphonomic approach was also adopted taking into account the integrity of the footprint at the moment of its production as a recorded entity and the study of diverse biostratinomic modifications of the footprints, generally as a result of the breakage of the substract (tiles or bricks) or the abrasion of the track.

The taxonomical identification of the footprints demonstrates that the main species represented are dogs, cats and fowl. Except this last species, these taxa were not considered to be foodstuffs in medieval Europe. Our results are compared with those of the zooarchaeological studies conducted on the material recovered at the site and with evidence from documents. The latter provides information about the origin of the tiles and other clay building materials used in the construction and successive restorations of the conventual buildings from the 14th century and indicates that tiles were produced in suburban workshops located in the former village of Sarrià (nowadays a district of Barcelona) and Barcelona itself. Our results demonstrate that the area of tile production for the community was not the same as that of meat production, except perhaps in the case of fowl.