Archaeozoological and technological analyses of the grave goods associated with the Saint-Germain-la-Rivière burial (15,570 ± 200 B.P.) and their comparison with ornaments and faunal assemblages from contemporary Magdalenian sites and burials reveal the exceptional character of this inhumation. The great number of perforated red deer canines and the preference for teeth from young stags contrast with the virtual absence of red deer in southwestern French faunal assemblages dated to the same period as the burial. The rarity and probable exotic origin of these teeth, the small number of paired canines, and the technological and morphological homogeneity of the collection suggest that the teeth were obtained through long-distance trade and represented prestige items. As observed in a number of hunter–gatherer populations and contrary to the supposed egalitarian character of Upper Palaeolithic societies, these items may have materialized the integration of this individual into a privileged social group. Results suggest that application of the integrated approach followed in this study to the remainder of Upper Palaeolithic burials may be useful in identifying other societies in which prestige items represented the tangible expression of social inequality. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278416505000103

 

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