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Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology
Number of Followers: 1  
 
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Online) 2520-8217
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2467 journals]
  • The role of vision during Lower Palaeolithic tool-making

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      Abstract: Abstract Stone tools are the result of goal-oriented actions involving cognitive processes. Because visual attention is a requirement in accurate tool-making, visual exploration can provide information about the relationship between perception and technological evolution. The purpose of this study is to analyse visual behaviour while an expert knapper produces different stone tools, using a portable eye tracking device. To understand where gaze was directed moment by moment, different areas of interest were defined. The preliminary results show that the most observed areas were the middle region, the knapped surface, the first face of the tool being struck and the next point of percussion. There were differences in visual exploration between choppers and handaxes during knapping. The distal position, upper region, cortex and the first face of the tool being struck were more explored in choppers, while the base, knapped surface and first tool’s face knapped were more viewed for handaxes. These areas can be considered to be the most salient features needed to control knapping, hence constituting action affordances for the successful production of stone tools.
      PubDate: 2022-11-23
       
  • Correction to: Agia Marina and Peristereònas: Two New Epipalaeolithic
           Sites on the Island of Lemnos (Greece)

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      PubDate: 2022-11-21
       
  • The Late and Final Middle Palaeolithic of Central Europe and Its
           Contributions to the Formation of the Regional Upper Palaeolithic: a
           Review and a Synthesis

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      Abstract: Abstract For decades, the relationship of pre-modern hominins to anatomically modern humans (AMH) and the transition from mode 3 to mode 4 industries remain topics of ongoing scientific debate. Over the last 20 years, different disciplines have added new data and much detail to these questions, highlighting the demographic and social and cultural complexity underlaying these major changes or turnovers in human evolution. As with most other regions outside Africa, archaeologists faced long-lasting discussions whether or not the central European archaeological record is to be understood as a regional transition from the Middle Palaeolithic (MP) to the Upper Palaeolithic (UP) or if it is characterised by the replacement of Neanderthal MP techno-complexes by industries of overall UP character imported by modern humans. These debates have been re-fuelled by the discoveries of new sites, of new hominin fossil remains and by aDNA studies pinpointing towards the arrival of AMH in Europe several millennia earlier than previously thought (Slimak et al., Science Advances, 8, eabj9496, 2022; Hajdinjak et al., Nature, 592, 253-257, 2021; Prüfer et al., Nature Ecology & Evolution, 5, 820–825, 2021). Together with new radiometric age-estimates and detailed archaeological site studies, these developments call to recapture the present knowledge of the Late (LMP) and Final Middle Palaeolithic (FMP) of central Europe, viewed from the perspective of lithic technology and typology, raw material exploitation and land-use strategies. We will review and characterise this record as it represents the demographic and cultural substrate that AMH had met and will discuss to which degree this substrate contributed to the formation of the central European UP.
      PubDate: 2022-11-18
       
  • From Veld to Coast: Towards an Understanding of the Diverse Landscapes’
           Uses by Past Foragers in Southern Africa

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      Abstract: Abstract In this brief contribution, we outline the aims of a collection entitled “From veld to coast: towards an understanding of the diverse landscapes’ uses by past foragers in southern Africa,” and we define its chronological, geographic and thematic framework.
      PubDate: 2022-11-14
       
  • Using Formation Processes to Explore Low-Density Sites and Settlement
           Patterns: A Case Study from the Swabian Jura

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      Abstract: Abstract Paleolithic archaeologists often rely on cave and rockshelter sites with rich occupation levels to explore hominin behavior and settlement patterns. However, a closer look into regional occupation data may reveal an uneven distribution of sites and the presence of occupational hiatuses or low-density occupation horizons that often remain understudied. In contrast to this trend, this paper focuses on low-density occupation data to explore regional settlement patterns, using the rich and well-studied Paleolithic record of the Swabian Jura, Germany, as a case study. In this regard, we employ a geoarchaeological approach based on micromorphology to investigate the formation processes of two low-density occupation sites, Schafstall II and Fetzershaldenhöhle, and compare their formation history with the geogenic sequence from Lindenhöhle. We demonstrate that the investigated sites have comparable formation processes, despite their differences in chronology and context. We argue that humans used Schafstall II and Fetzershaldenhöhle for short-term activities, while the sites mostly served as carnivore activity areas, emphasizing the importance of fauna in the accumulation of thick sedimentary sequences. In addition, our findings corroborate the regional climatic record and provide novel insights into the geomorphological history of the less studied Lauchert Valley, where Schafstall II is located. By comparing our results with data from intensively occupied caves in the Swabian Jura, we provide broader implications for the settlement patterns of Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers. We conclude with methodological suggestions for investigating sites in hunter-gatherer contexts combining a distributional and a site-specific approach.
      PubDate: 2022-11-03
       
  • The Antler, Ivory, and Bone Artefacts from Maszycka Cave (Southern
           Poland). New Signals from a Late Upper Palaeolithic Key Site

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      Abstract: Abstract The well-known Late Upper Palaeolithic cave site of Maszycka (southern Poland), excavated in the end of the nineteenth century as well as in the 1960s, furnished a collection of 89 osseous artefacts manufactured from cervid antler, mammoth ivory, and mammal long bone. The great majority are finished tools, mostly projectile points, while raw material blocks, pre-forms, and production waste are represented by only a few pieces. Based on the presence of the characteristic double-split antler tools, distinct projectile morphologies, and recurring ornaments, the assemblage from Maszycka can be assigned to the early Middle Magdalenian facies à navettes which dates to around 19 - 17.5 ka cal. BP. Compared to the western European sites, which also belong to this facies, Maszycka is characterised by a high proportion of ivory tools, reflecting the abundance of this favourable raw material in eastern central Europe, as well as an unusually high proportion of decorated tools, which may relate to an increased need for symbolic communication within the small and geographically isolated Magdalenian group. Both the remarkable typo-technological similarities of the bone industry from Maszycka to contemporary assemblages in France and the gap in the central European archaeological record between 22 and 19 ka cal. BP speak in favour of a direct immigration of Magdalenian hunter-gatherers from western Europe immediately after the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. Their relations to the bearers of the Epigravettian adjacent to the east and south remain to date poorly understood.
      PubDate: 2022-11-03
       
  • Exploring the Lithic Variability of the Mousterian (MIS 9–3) Open-Air
           Sites of the Pontine Plain (Central Italy)

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      Abstract: Abstract This paper presents a preliminary study of the Middle Palaeolithic lithic industries recovered at six selected open-air sites in the Latium region (central Italy), part of a regional cultural complex known as the “Pontinian”. The pedo-stratigraphic analysis combined with 40Ar/ 39Ar age constraints on the sites permits us to provide for the first time a geomorphological and chronological (300–40 ka) framework for several open-air sites in central Italy. The temporal range is remarkably coincident with the Neanderthal presence in this region. Moreover, the lithic collections analysed include the oldest occurrence of a Mousterian industry in this region. The present work, therefore, provides the background context for future re-evaluation of the peculiar Pontinian techno-complex through a more in-depth technological approach and its comparison with the other Neanderthal occurrences in central Italy.
      PubDate: 2022-10-28
       
  • For Our World Without Sound: the Opportunistic Debitage in the Italian
           Context—a Methodological Evaluation of the Lithic Assemblages of Pirro
           Nord, Cà Belvedere di Montepoggiolo, Ciota Ciara Cave and Riparo
           Tagliente

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      Abstract: Abstract The informative potential taken on by lithic artefacts has increased over the years. They gradually grew into proxies to detect the most relevant features of human material culture, including cognitive abilities to realise stone tools or, in other words, to track down the delineation of behavioural complexity. Consequently, notions like predetermination, standardisation (morphologically likewise) and hierarchisation have been intensely used in lithic technology as markers of such complexity, leading to ruling out contexts lacking any trace of these traits. Within the present state of the art, the use of the terms expedient and opportunism has characterised, in a negative way, the dichotomy between complex and simple within prehistoric contexts. Even if a requalification of expedient technologies has been recently observed, opportunistic behaviours still connote the complete absence of planning and complexity (even in terms of the mental scheme) within lithic industries. This background often prevented a consideration as relevant, from a technological and methodological perspective, these assemblages, primarily when Lower Palaeolithic contexts were addressed. With the definition and use of the term opportunistic debitage, this work questions the possible methodological implications of assemblages known as complexity- and planning-free and that can be found throughout different chronological and cultural phases.
      PubDate: 2022-09-15
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00117-9
       
  • A Middle Pleistocene Butchery Site at Great Yeldham, Essex, UK:
           Identifying Butchery Strategies and Implications for Mammalian Faunal
           History

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      Abstract: Abstract This paper discusses the evidence relating to an assemblage of Pleistocene bones and teeth discovered in a brick pit at Great Yeldham, Essex, in the late nineteenth century. Surviving elements from this collection, which include a bison foot bone with cut-marks, are now in the British Geological Survey Museum, Keyworth. A re-examination of this collection suggests that humans were present at the site during a temperate period in the earlier part of the late Middle Pleistocene. The cut-marks suggest that the hind foot was detached and discarded as butchery waste at the death site. Finally, the paper discusses the implications of humanly modified bones for understanding aspects of early human behaviour and distribution in Britain, which have hitherto largely centred around the study of stone tools.
      PubDate: 2022-09-12
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00122-y
       
  • What Makes the Identity of a Scientific Method' A History of the
           “Structural and Analytical Typology” in the Growth of Evolutionary and
           Digital Archaeology in Southwestern Europe (1950s–2000s)

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      Abstract: Abstract Usual narratives among prehistoric archaeologists consider typological approaches as part of a past and outdated episode in the history of research, subsequently replaced by technological, functional, chemical, and cognitive approaches. From a historical and conceptual perspective, this paper addresses several limits of these narratives, which (1) assume a linear, exclusive, and additive conception of scientific change, neglecting the persistence of typological problems; (2) reduce collective developments to personal work (e.g. the “Bordes’” and “Laplace’s” methods in France); and (3) presuppose the coherence and identity of these “methods” over time. It explores the case of the “Structural and analytical typology” method, developed in France, Spain, and Italy from the 1950s to the 2000s by Georges Laplace and his collaborators for lithic implements. This paper (1) provides a detailed historical account of the evolving content of this collective endeavour over five decades; (2) it addresses the epistemological question of what makes the identity and unity of a scientific method, demonstrating that the core component of the “analytical typology” lies in its particular way to represent real-world phenomena through its notation system; and (3) it reveals how this little known but significant episode of advances in the methods and theory of archaeology, contemporary but independent of the “New Archaeology” trend in English-speaking archaeology, was instrumental in the continuation of evolutionary perspectives in France and in the development of quantitative and formal methods in archaeology in southwestern Europe, foreseeing crucial knowledge representation issues raised today by digital methods in archaeology and data curation.
      PubDate: 2022-08-30
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00119-7
       
  • The Middle Paleolithic at Große Grotte (Blaubeuren, southern Germany).
           New Insights from Lithic Technology and Implication for Assemblage
           Classification

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      Abstract: Abstract This paper examines the technological concepts applied at Große Grotte, based on detailed studies of the lithic cores and the bifacial objects of the Middle Paleolithic, which have never been analyzed in detail before. Up to now, the site was classified on the basis of Wagner's typological analyses. The present analysis enables comparisons with other assemblages in terms of technological aspects and thus provides an insight into the much-discussed assemblage variability as well as into the use and function of the cave on a layer-by-layer basis. All layers are characterized by a mix of every conceivable lithic technology that can be found in the Middle Paleolithic assemblages of the Swabian Jura. In addition to Levallois and discoid, and occasionally Quina, bifacial technology is present in almost every layer. The generally small sizes of the cores and their high degree of exploitation, the use of predominantly local raw material, and the extensive tool maintenance indicate numerous short-term visits to the cave. From this it is deduced that the surrounding landscape was well known to the people who settled there for short visits. The Late Middle Paleolithic Neanderthals discarded unusable pieces on-site and repaired tools that they subsequently exported. The location high above the valley was the ideal place in this landscape for observing herds of animals, as the animals were not disturbed in this way. Thus based on our analyses, the cave was repeatedly used between the late MIS 5 and early MIS 3 as a transitory, short-term station, where the herds of animals passing by in the valley were observed. In addition to animal observation, the equipment, consisting of very different technologies, was maintained and small meals were prepared. The repeated deposition of different technologies during very short stays makes it almost impossible for the time being to assign the individual assemblages of the site’s layers to a clear typological classification unit.
      PubDate: 2022-08-26
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00114-y
       
  • Transport Patterns as Heuristic Testing Variables for the Social Coherence
           of Taxonomic Units at Different Spatial Scales

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      Abstract: Abstract Taxonomic units in archaeology strongly convey the assumption of a social connection between the people having left the sites attributed to these units. The (implicit) assumption is that people whose sites are attributed to the same unit had closer social relations among one another than they had to people whose sites are attributed to other taxonomic units, and that such social proximity is reflected in similarities in their material culture. It is often difficult to be sure about the processes behind the emergence of similarities and dissimilarities. Therefore, taxonomic units relying on this criterion require additional testing in order to be meaningful components of studies on social relations. Dynamic objects, whose location of origin is known in addition to their place of discard, provide means for such testing, because they reflect the movement or contact patterns of people, potentially providing information on social boundaries or links on different spatial scales. Social coherence—the degree of connectedness between the people having left the sites attributed to these units—is sensitive to phenomena of spatial and temporal scale. However, there is no coherent terminology that would match scale levels of taxonomic units to those of social units. This paper proposes a hierarchical systematics for taxonomic units and their social equivalents applicable to both hunter-(fisher-)gatherer and farming societies to facilitate discussions on this topic. Based on this systematics, we propose an approach to test the coherence of taxonomic units regarding different social scale levels based on transport patterns of dynamic objects. Knowledge on the mode of acquisition (direct/embedded procurement, exchange, trade) of the dynamic objects is not a prerequisite. Three case studies from the Late Upper Paleolithic in Central Europe, the Late Paleolithic in Bavaria, and the Early Neolithic in Norway will be discussed to evaluate the potential and limits of the approach.
      PubDate: 2022-08-10
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00120-0
       
  • Beyond Shapes: Core Reduction Strategies in the Magdalenian of Cova Gran
           de Santa Linya (NE Iberia)

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      Abstract: Abstract Core reduction provides insight into the technical actions involved in knapping sequences, one of the central elements in technological analysis. By examining reduction phases, cognitive and operational aspects of the management of lithic resources can be explored, and the technical behaviours of human groups reconstructed. This paper presents a technological and morphometric analysis of cores from the Magdalenian sequence of the Cova Gran de Santa Linya (SE Pyrenees), which ranges from 23 to 16 k cal BP. The knapping strategies suggest two types of lithic exploitation: one on nodules using semi-circumferential methods and the other on thick flakes using burin-core methods. Five knapping modalities were identified through the study of reduction sequences and the analysis of technical attributes, which highlights the technical diversity of lithic production systems. The data collected are supported by statistical analysis and reveal significant differences at the diachronic level and among the lithic assemblages. This study aims to suggest a reference model with which to characterise Magdalenian cores in technological terms. This model can broaden our understanding of the diversity of technical behaviours that appear from the beginning of LGM-b to the end of MIS 2 in the north-eastern Iberian Peninsula.
      PubDate: 2022-07-27
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00115-x
       
  • The Late Middle Palaeolithic Occupation of Abri du Maras (Layer 1,
           Neronian, Southeast France): Integrating Lithic Analyses, ZooMS and
           Radiocarbon Dating to Reconstruct Neanderthal Hunting Behaviour

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      Abstract: Abstract The exact strategies and technologies underlying Neanderthal hunting events remain open for debate with lithic points being sparse across the European Middle Palaeolithic. An exception is the Neronian entity in southeast France, defined by ventrally retouched Soyons points. This study contextualises one of the largest Neronian assemblages, layer 1 at Abri du Maras. Our lithic analyses focussed on attributes described as indicative of projectile use or hafting to contextualise the morphometric and technological characteristics of the pointed implements at an assemblage level. We found that retouched points were made on a variety of blank types (including Levallois, laminar and discoidal flaking techniques) and ventral retouch is present across different artefact types (including points, scrapers and denticulates). Next, these lithic data were compared to similar typo-technological data recorded on a sample from the recently excavated and well-contextualised point-rich layer 4.1 of Abri du Maras (MIS-3). Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) was applied to 280 faunal remains from layer 1 and indicated significant proportions of equids, bovids, cervids and reindeer. Carnivore remains and carnivore modifications are absent, while human bone surface modifications are present across a variety of species. Five bones had sufficient collagen for radiocarbon dating but returned dates younger than expected (ca. 41–31 ka cal BP). Finally, we place Abri du Maras layer 1 in its broader regional context and discuss its relation to other Neronian assemblages and more general problematics inherent to studying material from old excavations.
      PubDate: 2022-07-13
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00113-z
       
  • Agia Marina and Peristereònas: Two New Epipalaeolithic Sites on the
           Island of Lemnos (Greece)

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      Abstract: Abstract The surveys carried out along the coasts of the island of Lemnos (Greece) have led to the discovery of new Late Epipalaeolithic sites at Agia Marina and Peristereònas. Peristereònas yielded a knapped stone assemblage that is strictly comparable with that from Ouriakos, a site located along the south-eastern coast of the same island, while the artefacts from Agia Marina are more problematic to interpret because they are probably to be attributed to a slightly different period. However, the most characteristic artefacts recovered from the sites are represented by microlithic geometrics obtained by abrupt, bipolar, or direct retouch, end scrapers, and different types of exhausted cores and technical pieces, which help us reconstruct the operational sequence employed for the manufacture of the armatures. The aim of the paper is to contribute to the interpretation of the characteristics of the Late Epipalaeolithic assemblages discovered on the island and to frame them into the general picture of the end of the Pleistocene in this part of the Aegean. The artefacts from the sites show unique characteristics, without parallels to the knapped stone assemblages of the same period so far recovered along the coasts of the Aegean Sea, the eastern Mediterranean, the Levant, and the Black Sea.
      PubDate: 2022-07-13
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00118-8
       
  • Correction to: The Initial Upper Paleolithic and Its Place Within the
           Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic Transition of Southwest Asia: What Hides
           Behind the Curtain of Taxonomies'

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      PubDate: 2022-07-11
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00121-z
       
  • Break to Rebuild — the First European Evidence of a Fragmented Chaine
           Opératoire for Handaxe Production (OIS 14, Caune de l’Arago, France)

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      Abstract: Abstract The presence of bifacial tools for more than 1.5 Ma in African and Eurasian archaeological assemblages raises questions as to why this was so successful. One of the explanations often put forward is the ability to resharpen or recycle these voluminous tools, allowing them to be used over a long period of time. An additional argument is that techno-economic analyses show that these tools are mobile within territories. However, if the mobility of bifaces seems to be a fairly global (but not systematic) behaviour from 1.5 Ma, the maintenance or recycling of these tools seems to be mainly expressed in northern Europe and in southwest Asia, on flint tools, from MIS 12. The petrographic and technological analysis of the bifacial shaping processes (chaines opératoires) of the archaeostratigraphic unit Q1 of the Arago Cave reveals the appearance of the mobility/maintenance or recycling of bifaces as early as MIS 14 in southern Europe. These behaviours are applied not only on flint shaped items, but also on quartz and quartzite bifaces. These results have implications for the understanding of how bifaces appeared or spread in western Europe. It also gives new insights on our perception of the management of the environment and the cognitive capacities of pre-Neanderthal populations in this area.
      PubDate: 2022-07-04
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00116-w
       
  • The Initial Upper Paleolithic and Its Place Within the Middle-to-Upper
           Paleolithic Transition of Southwest Asia: What Hides Behind the Curtain of
           Taxonomies'

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      Abstract: Abstract Classification of the Paleolithic into Lower, Middle, and Upper has both chronological and cultural meanings serving as a framework for reconstructing cultural evolution and interpreting behavioral processes. Traditionally, the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition in Eurasia is regarded as a bio-cultural turning point, in which local Neanderthals were replaced by incoming Homo sapiens populations, carrying with them a novel technological repertoire. As such, the basic classification of archeological data into broad spatially and temporally coherent blocks is not neutral and disconnected from the paradigmatic view of a “transition” as a developmental event. Initially, the Initial Upper Paleolithic (IUP) was introduced to describe the first cultural stage within the Upper Paleolithic and was later modified to define the cultural transition from the Middle to the Upper Paleolithic. In the last 20 years, the IUP has increasingly been used as a chronological-biological taxonomic unit to describe modern human dispersals into Eurasia, overriding its use within a cultural taxonomic system. In this paper, we evaluate the applicability of the term as a taxonomic unit. The construction of a chronicle and histories, based on well-documented and published data from the late Middle Paleolithic through to the earliest Upper Paleolithic sites across southwest Asia, are used to evaluate the applicability of the term Initial Upper Paleolithic as a taxonomic unit. Within this perspective, the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition is viewed as a social and demographic process that is manifested differently in each of the sub-regions of southwest Asia: the Levant, Southern Caucasus, Armenian Highlands, and the Zagros.
      PubDate: 2022-07-04
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00112-0
       
  • Unravelling Hominin Activities in the Zooarchaeological Assemblage of
           Barranco León (Orce, Granada, Spain)

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      Abstract: Abstract Little is known about the subsistence practices of the first European settlers, mainly due to the shortage of archaeological sites in Europe older than a million years. This article contributes to the knowledge of the subsistence of the first Europeans with new zooarchaeology and taphonomic data from the Palaeolithic site of Barranco León (Orce, Granada, Spain). We present the results of the analysis of the faunal assemblages retrieved in the context of new excavations undertaken between 2016 and 2020. We have followed a standard methodology for the identification and quantification of species, mortality profiles, skeletal representation and taphonomic analysis. With regard to the taphonomic evidence, we have documented the extent of rounding, abrasion and other alterations. Finally, we examined traces from the activities of carnivores and hominins that led to the accumulation and alteration of the bone assemblages. Results indicate that the archaeo-paleontological deposits from Barranco León present a dual-patterned mixed taphonomic origin. The first phase primarily involved waterborne processes (BL-D1), which led to the accumulation of lithic raw materials, a few archaeological stone tools, and some faunal remains with percussion and cutmarks. The second phase (BL-D2) contains several stone tools associated with faunal remains with more anthropogenic alterations, such as cutmarks and percussion marks. After analysing the Barranco León zooarchaeological assemblage, the present study concludes that hominins had access to the meat and within-bone nutrients of animals of diverse sizes. However, the specific carcass acquisition mechanisms that hominins followed are less certain because the presence of tooth marks suggests that carnivores also played a role in the accumulation and modification of the Barranco León faunal assemblage.
      PubDate: 2022-06-28
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00111-1
       
  • A Critical Review of the Stratigraphic Context of the MSA I and II at
           Klasies River Main Site, South Africa

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      Abstract: Abstract Klasies River Main site, on South Africa’s southern Cape coast, has contributed significantly to understanding Late Pleistocene human evolution. Excavations across this complex of caves and rock shelters have uncovered important assemblages of human fossils, faunal remains and lithic artefacts which have allowed interpretations of human anatomy and behaviour, and the palaeoenvironmental context of human occupations. The stratigraphy of the site is complicated, and the deposits have been recorded and published at varying degrees of resolution and detail over three phases of fieldwork. This paper is the first detailed review of the stratigraphy of any part of the sequence, and considers the different stratigraphic approaches used at Klasies and the published data and interpretations for the basal deposits. These units have been assigned to the Light Brown Sand, Rubble Brown Sand and Shell and Sand Members, and have yielded MSA I and MSA II lithic assemblages and most of the human fossils. We argue that some of the published stratigraphic interpretations need to be reconsidered, that a purely lithostratigraphic approach to the deposits at Klasies is not currently viable and that further field description and micromorphological work is needed. More broadly, this review demonstrates potential complications for stratigraphic correlation during the reinvestigation of previously excavated sites. These include the importance of understanding site formation processes in a lithostratigraphic system, and the need to think about how, why and at what resolution we make correlations between different stratigraphic systems or different areas within a site or site complex.
      PubDate: 2022-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00110-2
       
 
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