The Neanderthal communities developed the technique of food preservation and, for example, extracted strips of meat from the legs of the deer for conservation, probably dried in the sun or smoked. This is one of the conclusions of a study on the remnants found at the Jarama VI site, in Guadalajara, which has been published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences.
That ancient Neanderthal settlement was frequented by humans in three different phases about 50,000 years ago.
In the oldest phase, the Neanderthal societies established a long-stay residential camp where they lived throughout the year in rock shelters, near the Jarama river, in Guadalajara.
Mainly, they hunted deer. Parts of these preys were cut in forms of strips to be preserved, probably dried under the sun or smoked, while the skins of the hunted animals were used to make warm clothes, blankets, and other accessories for the camps.
The Neanderthal communities were the first that developed food preservation
It was also found that, during a later stage, the Neanderthal communities visited the site sporadically and hunted some herbivores between summer and autumn, transferring some portions of these animals to the site where they were consumed.
Bearing in mind that during this phase there was a very humid climate and the floods were very frequent, Neanderthal societies were more interested in plant resources than in hunting.
During the most recent phase, the Neanderthal groups used the current Jarama VI site as a hunting ground, especially for wild horses, between late spring and summer.
Also, the Neanderthal groups had an important long-term planning, as well as a complex and dynamic culture that led them to have a series of preferences in terms of resources available in the environment.
Thus, the study concludes that Neanderthal societies knew how to manage their environment and take advantage of resources at each time of year. It is the Neanderthal communities, therefore, that developed the technology of food preservation, according to the experts.