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Danish Site Reveals Prehistoric Hunters’ Butchering Secrets

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


PARIS, FRANCE—Analysis of a 12,000-year-old butchering site in Denmark is helping archaeologists to understand the process hunters used to break down their kills. They found well-preserved bone fragments from wild boar, red deer, aurochs, and especially elk at the site, which is known as Lundy Mose. Charlotte Leduc of the University of Paris was able to determine that when processing elk, the hunters first cut around their heads and other body parts in order to remove the hides. The hides could then be used to bundle discarded parts. The next step was to remove and probably eat the raw meat from the limbs and extract the marrow from the bones. The rest of the meat was then cut from the body and the fat trimmed for transport. Bones from long limbs, antlers, and shoulder blades were also taken for tool making. The elks’ missing front teeth were probably taken for jewelry making.