Stone tool function at the paleolithic sites of Starosele and Buran Kaya III, Crimea: Behavioral implications
Stone tools are often the most abundant type of cultural remains at Paleolithic sites, yet their function is often poorly understood. Investigations of stone tool function, including microscopic use-wear and residue analyses, were performed on a sample of artifacts from the Paleolithic sites of Starosele (40,000-80,000 years BP) and Buran Kaya III (32,000-37,000 years BP). The Middle Paleolithic levels at Starosele exhibit a typical variant of the local Micoquian Industry. The artifacts from Buran Kaya III most closely resemble an Early Streletskayan Industry associated with the early Upper Paleolithic. The results of the functional analyses suggest that hominids at both sites were exploiting woody and starchy plant material as well as birds and mammals. Both sites show evidence of hafting of a wide variety of tools and the possible use of projectile or thrusting spears. These analyses were performed by using two different techniques conducted by independent researchers. Combined residue and use-wear analyses suggest that both the Upper Paleolithic and Middle Paleolithic hominids at these sites were broad-based foragers capable of exploiting a wide range of resources.