Evidence from archaeological and anthropological research suggest major changes in human adaptations at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary. In Western Europe, hunter- gatherers which had long-distance network and extremely high mobility in the Middle Upper Palaeolithic were forced into southerly refugia with the Last Glacial Maximum. During de-glaciation, Late Upper Palaeolithic human groups re-colonized higher latitudes and altitudes, while large coastal plains disappeared. With the Holocene, open steppe environments were replaced by forests in large portions of the continent. These changes are assumed to have impacted mobility levels in humans, which decreased in the Late Upper Palaeolithic from the extremely high levels of the Middle Upper Palaeolithic. With the Mesolithic, a further decrease in mobility to quasi-sedentary levels has been proposed. In this chapter, we compare the Middle Upper Palaeolithic individuals from the Grimaldi Caves (Bausu da Ture and Barma Grande, Ventimiglia, Italy) and the Mesolithic individuals from the North-Eastern Alps (Mezzocorona-Borgonuovo, Mondevàl de Sora, Vatte di Zambana, Italy) with an Upper Palaeolithic European sample and modern athletes. We suggest that femoral biomechanical properties might be influenced by differences in bone length, and used the tibia and the fibula to make inferences about mobility levels and patterns. Experimental evidence shows that the biomechanics of the tibio-fibular complex can discriminate between sedentary controls and athletes with different locomotor patterns, in particular long distance cross-country runners and field hockey players. Results show no clear differences in biomechanical patterns between the Middle and Late Upper Palaeolithic: most individuals resemble modern runners in a multivariate setting. In addition, results suggest that the levels of mechanical strains that prehistoric people were subject to largely surpassed what a modern athlete could experience. Mesolithic individuals do not appear sedentary, but all of the three individuals show pathological conditions or trauma that could have affected their gait.
|Titolo:||Changing mobility patterns at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. Lower limb biomechanics of Italian Gravettian and Mesolithic individuals|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Tipologia:||2.1 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|
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