Publication Details

Conrad, C., Higham, C., Eda, M. & Marwick, B. (2016). Palaeoecology and forager subsistence strategies during the Pleistocene - Holocene transition: a reinvestigation of the zooarchaeological assemblage from Spirit Cave, Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand. Asian Perspectives: the journal of archaeology for Asia and the Pacific, 55 (1), 2-27.


This reanalysis uses the zooarchaeological assemblage recovered from Spirit Cave to understand hunter-gatherer use and occupation at the site during the Pleistocene - Holocene transition. We analyze bone fragmentation, sample size, and relative abundance to establish the preservation and overall composition of the remaining fauna. Identification of several new taxa, including roundleaf bats (Hipposideros larvatus and bicolor), elongated tortoise (Indotestudo elongata), black marsh turtle (Siebenrockiella crassicollis), Burmese hare (Lepus cf. peguensis) and a potential red junglefowl (Phasianidae - ?Gallus gallus) provide insights into hunter-gatherer occupation, palaeoecology, and subsistence strategies between 12,000 and 7000 years b.p. Our results indicate that Spirit Cave was occupied more sporadically than originally suggested; additionally, we identify new evidence for landscape disturbance during the early Holocene. Although this Spirit Cave zooarchaeological assemblage is incomplete, it remains an important component of Southeast Asian prehistory, providing evidence for human adaptations during a period of climatic change and instability. Keywords: Spirit Cave, zooarchaeology, NISP, MNI, Thailand, Pleistocene - Holocene transition, Hipposideros larvatus, Lepus peguensis, Siebenrockiella crassicollis.



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