The role of reptiles in hominid hunter-gatherer subsistence in Pleistocene Africa has been largely overlooked. This study examines the reptile component of a modern lake shore camp (site 20) assemblage of low archaeological visibility. Site 20, located on the eastern shore of Lake Turkana, has been observed from its creation to burial. The site is an ideal modern analogue for the interpretation of African prehistoric archaeological sites. Patterns of element loss, and patterns of bone modifications, namely burn, cut and slice marks, are examined. From this baseline data, three conclusions are drawn regarding the interpretability of reptile remains found at archaeological lakeside sites: (1) the MNI of crocodile remains at a site is likely to be similar to the original number of individuals which contributed to the deposited assemblage; (2) the MNI estimates of the turtle component will be much less than the original number of individuals in the deposited assemblage; and (3) patterns of bone modifications can be related to hominid food procurement and processing activities.

, , , ,
Journal of Archaeological Science
Department of Biology

Rybczynski, N, Gifford-Gonzalez, D. (Diane), & Stewart, K.M. (Kathlyn M.). (1996). The ethnoarchaeology of reptile remains at a Lake Turkana occupation site, Kenya. Journal of Archaeological Science, 23(6), 863–867. doi:10.1006/jasc.1996.0080