Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 11, Issue 7, pp 3577–3594 | Cite as

Hunting strategy and seasonality in the last interglacial occupation of Cueva Antón (Murcia, Spain)

  • Montserrat SanzEmail author
  • Florent Rivals
  • David García
  • João Zilhão
Original Paper


The Middle Palaeolithic site of Cueva Antón (Murcia, Spain) is a cave/rock shelter with short-term human occupations dated to marine isotopic stages 5a and 3 (MIS 5a and MIS 3). The site provides a high-resolution sequence because the cave’s living floors, organized around hearth features, present rich assemblages of artefacts and faunal remains rapidly buried by low-energy flooding. The accumulation and modification of the faunal remains are mainly due to human agency. Zooarchaeological, taphonomic and tooth-wear analyses provide new insights into the subsistence of the human groups that used the site. Deer is the most abundant prey. The cave was used mainly in late winter and late spring to early summer. During the latter, female herds of deer and ibex were the primary targets of the hunts.


Cueva Antón Middle Palaeolithic Deer Neanderthals Iberian Peninsula 


Funding information

Archaeological fieldwork and research at Cueva Antón was funded by the Dirección General del Medio Natural de la Región de Murcia, the Municipality of Mula, the University of Murcia, the Fundación Séneca (Murcia), the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (grants HAR2011-24878, HAR2014-52671-P, HAR2017-85153-P and CGL2012-34717), the Generalitat Valenciana (grant PROMETEOII/2013/016), the Excellence Research Projects Program of the Andalusian Government (grant P11-RNM-7033) and the Leakey Foundation. M. Sanz was supported by a Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral grant (IJCI-2017-33908) and supported by the research projects 2017SGR-00011 (Generalitat de Catalunya), HAR2017-86509 and CGL2015-65387-C3-2-P (MINECO/FEDER from Spanish Government). F. Rivals is supported by research projects from the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (grant HAR2016-76760-C3-1-P) and the Generalitat de Catalunya (2017-SGR-836).


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grup de Recerca del Quaternari (GRQ)-SERP, Departament d’Història i ArqueologiaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.ICREABarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES)Campus Sescelades URV (Edifici W3)TarragonaSpain
  4. 4.Àrea de PrehistòriaUniversitat Rovira i Virgili (URV)TarragonaSpain
  5. 5.Departament d’Història i ArqueologiaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  6. 6.UNIARQ-Centro de Arqueologia da Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de LetrasUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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