The fills of caves and rockshelters generally comprise complex depositional palimpsests, making fine scale chronological resolution extremely difficult. Nevertheless, these settings remain very important in archaeology because they often preserve long records of cultural change. This is true for the initial appearance of food producing economies in the western Mediterranean. The chronologically ambiguous nature of cave and shelter deposits is one of the reasons for the continued debate over the processes responsible for the beginning of the Neolithic in this region. We employ taphonomic studies of the archeofaunal record from Mesolithic and early Neolithic cave and shelter sites in Mediterranean Spain to disentangle some of the formation processes affecting relevant deposits in order to better understand the processes of cultural change that led to the spread of agricultural communities. © 2001 Academic Press.
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