L Anthropologie

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 0003-5521
Publications
Article
Sierra de Atapuerca (Sima de los Huesos and Gran Dolina TD-6) hominids phylogenetic analysis: the cranial evidence. The level TD6 at the Gran Dolina site, Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain), has produced the earliest European human remains, dating from the Lower Pleistocene. The Sima de los Huesos site, also in the Sierra de Atapuerca, is currently regarded as the richest Middle Pleistocene site in human fossils. The human fossil record from both sites contains many cranial remains which allow us to study the human evolution along the Lower and the Middle Pleistocene. We have carried out a study of the endocranial volumes of Cranium 4 and Cranium 5, comparing the results obtained using classical measurement techniques with those obtained using tridimensional reconstructions with computer axial tomographies (CAT). The values found using both techniques are virtually identical and endorse the CAT techniques for the studies on fossil internal structures. On the other hand, our phylogenetical analysis shows that the Sima de los Huesos specimens present an assemblage of primitive features together with other traits which strongly relate them with the Neandertal populations. The Gran Dolina human fossils, assigned to Homo antecessor species, present a constellation of cranial features which led us to propose this species as the last common ancestor of Neandertals and modern humans.
 
Article
Paint Analysis of Some Post-Glacial Sites in South-Eastern France. Study of schematic post-glacial paintings in southern France permitted to clarify the parameters for the sites'choice, to identify several signs, to discover the rules of their associations and to expand the chronological limits of this artistic expression. A second programme of analysis on pictural matterial concerns twenty-five samples. hematite, ochre and bauxite remain the most used pigments to which we can add, following the differents sites and figures, talc powder, burnt bone and clay. These analysis confirm in particular that Baume Saint-Michel is a decorated one and that the pannels of the Bergerie des Maigres site and the south rotunda of the Baume peinte site present a relative uniqueness.
 
Article
Paleoenvironmental Presentation of the Filling from Baume Moula-Guercy, Soyons (Ardèche) : Palaeoclimatic and Chronological Implications. Since 1992 excavations at Baume Moula-Guercy (Soyons, Ardèche, France) have been providing abundant archeological, paleontological and anthracological remains, especially levels XIV and XV. Data concerning large mammals and micromammals enable us to elaborate a biochronological hypothesis. Three main climatic cycles can be distinguished. Lower stratigraphical levels of deposits are representative to a cold period which can be related to the end of the Middle Pleistocene (stage 6 of the oceanic temperature curve, Saalien). Upper stratigraphical levels are also representative to a cold period corresponding to the start of the stage 4 of the oceanic temperature curve (Upper Pleistocene, Weichselian). Between this levels a homogeneous and thick stratigraphical level containing abundant temperate charcoal and faunal remains corresponding to Eemian period sensu lato (Upper Pleistocene, stage 5 of the oceanic temperature curve) has been identified. The wealth of documentation of these intermediate stratigraphical levels provides main and necessary data concerning this period little-know in Mediterranean Europe. Level XV which provided a large number of Neanderthal remains corresponding to six individuals (MNI) is emphasised in this paper.
 
Article
Atapuerca, a Tale of Two Sites. The discovery of two different groups of hominids at two distinct sites in Sierra de Atapuerca (Spain) has brought to light two different patterns of hominid behaviour. One group shows the presence of cannibalistic practices, while the other shows dead bodies brought together by other hominids to a particular place. No ritual is evident at either of these two cases but they suggest a diversity of treatment of the dead, which can be considered as a human characteristic.
 
Article
Human Postcranial Bones from the Gran Dolina Site, Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain). The human postcranial bones recovered from the Gran Dolina site, in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain) are compared. All these fossils were excavated at the level called TD6 between 1994 and 1995 and have been dated in excess of 780,000 years before present. These remains have been attributed to a new Homo species named Homo antecessor. Four is the minimum number of individuals represented by the postcranial remains recovered up to now. All elements are measured and compared with other fossil homonids and modern humans in order to establish, as much as possible, what postcranial morphology characterised this new species of our genus. The Homo antecessor postcrania, as a whole, display a set of morphological traits that are more similar to modern humans than to the Middle and Upper Pleistocene European hominids. Our results do not contradict the previous phylogenetic analysis, i.e., that H. antecessor represents the last common ancestor for H. sapiens (modern humans) and H. neandertalensis (Neandertals).
 
Article
In the Aurignacian layers of the Fumane Cave (Venetian Pre-Alps), the excavations have shown five rocky fragments detached from the walls, at the time of the discovery, they were partially covered by concretions, that consist of the traces of paintings made with the red ochre (a schematic human with the head surmounted by two horns, a four-legged animal, three motifs of difficult interpretation). At the basis of the Aurignacian layers, two spots of sediment intensely blushed for the presence of ochre are dated around 35,500 B.P. (new datings 14C achieved at the Laboratory of Oxford by the ABOx pre-treatment method). In the setting of the aurignacian art, these datings can explain the “primitive” character of these realizations, for the same reason as the function of the inhabited cave.
 
Article
This paper presents the results obtained by lithic analysis of Early Upper Palaeolithic levels in Šandalja II Cave, Istria, Croatia. Technological and typological analysis of stone and typological analysis of bone artefacts have been carried out. Production of flakes in Aurignacian levels (G, F, E and E/F) is dominant, but blade and bladelets production is also present. Blades and bladelets were produced by direct soft hammer technique. Aurignacian people of Šandalja II produced their debitage mainly on local grey chert, which is often patinated. Šandalja II is one of the rare—if not the only—site with Aurignacian industry in eastern Adriatic region. The main reason for absence of such industry at other sites can be seen in scarce population or abandonment of some parts of this region.
 
Article
Men and Carnivores used to live very closely during the Lower Pleistocene as show the assemblages. This allows us to reconstruct their behaviors and to bring up the idea that they used to share an ecological niche. It is also possible to understand the evolution of their behaviors, as regards the food supply, and the way they used to live in the sites. The first Europeans had a great capacity for adaptation, as well as a certain vulnerability, just like the Carnivores. The acquisitions of specialized technics are likely to have reduced this capacity for adaptation, as they got free from their opportunistic predator position.
 
Article
The present work completed the research that we have developed during the last years in the cave. The analysis of the painting matter has been made to recognize the anthropic origin of certain figures, to compare the natural iron oxide deposits with one of the paintings with the purpose of establishing the supply area, and to compare the pictorial matter of the different figures to characterize the technical process of the cave. Nineteen samples were taken, from the painted figures and from natural depots. The analysis made in the C2RMF have confirmed the anthropic origin of two figures and have shown the preparation of different pigments for a same painting.
 
Article
The Mesolithic of the Pannonian Basin and the Formation of the LBK. The LBK appears as the result of acculturation of local Mesolithic populations, beginning in the Pannonian Basin following a trans-Balkan colonisation. Economy, architecture and ceramic proceed from an adaptation to local means, which explains the chronological disjunction between acculturation and geographic expansion. The whole is placed within a context already Indo-European, since the Late Palaeolithic.
 
Article
On the occasion of the centenary of the Emile Cartailhac’s « Mea culpa d’un sceptique”, we want to reflect on one of the main questions of our discipline: Why has so-called « cave art” only been accepted as Paleolithic art in 1902, whereas the so-called « mobiliary art” had been accepted as Paleolithic art at the beginning of 1860s? In this paper, we want to suggest a definition of the conception of primitive art during the last third of the 19th century in order to understand: (A) Why Paleolithic paintings in the walls of some caves (Niaux, Chabot, Altamira) were not accepted as Paleolithic art between 1860 and 1902. (B) Given that what we now call mobiliary art is the same artistic phenomenon that prehistorians of the late 19th century thought of as primitive art, this article allows us to suggest a genealogy of mobiliary art. This genealogy will enable us to show that this concept not only defines a wide variety of forms, from engraving stones to carving in antler or ivory, but hides a multiplicity of meanings and connotations which originated in the period between 1860 and 1900.
 
Article
Methods, Objectives and Flexibility of a Levallois Reduction Strategy in Northern Italy. Flexibility of the Levallois method is directly expressed by all combinatorial variants that can occur as regards gesture, single intervention or sequence of interventions, and flaking modality, highlighting a behavioural variability at all the stages of the reduction strategy: raw material selection and beginning of exploitation; production and management; end-product use and shaping; discard. However, due to the still scarce knowledge of technical aims, we deal only partially with the nature of such variants and the controlling factors of the whole production system. In order to provide a new contribution in this sphere, the study of lithic industry of an open-air site is here proposed and discussed.
 
Article
In this article, the lithic reduction systems from Middle Paleolithic levels at Roca dels Bous and Tragó are presented. These two sites are located in the South-eastern Pyrenees in Catalunya (Spain) and yield Mousterian levels which are attributed to MIS 3 and MIS 5. At the two studied sites, there is coexistence between expedient knapping systems and more complex techniques such as the Levallois method. Furthermore, cores are heavily exhausted, showing a pattern that cannot be explained by the absence or scarcity of raw material. This technical pattern can be traced across several Mousterian assemblages in the South-eastern Pyrenees, suggesting technocognitive continuity in the Middle Palaeolithic during the Upper Pleistocene, in which changes in lithic reduction patterns are not evident. In this paper, the implications of such observations are contextualized within the general discussion on the behaviour of the South-eastern Pyrenees Neanderthals.
 
Article
The formation of Aurignacian in Europe. In order to understand the Aurignacian phenomenon in Europe, one must consider it within its territorial entirety and within the complexity of its origin. Moreover, the Aurignacian appears to be a composite phenomenon, articulated in a series of phases with varying geographic limits. The ‘classic’ sequence defined in Western Europe is from now on insufficient to support an intelligible model. We propose here to explain certain essential characteristics useful for this new idea.
 
Article
New research lines by the author favours interpretation tracks and analytics investigation fields that were not considered in traditional paleoanthropology. New readings of biodynamic morphogenesis supported by digitised architectural analysis emphasize not only the dynamic of different cranio-facial kinetics but also the determination when this is possible from causes and effects. To say the approach which study is the analysis of deep structure of skull unveils in some sense the state of the structure whether it is normal, abnormal or pathologic. The study of relations between Afalou's humans numerous cranio-facial anomalies and maxillo-mandibular dysmorphosis and malocclusions gives an account of the interest played by biodynamic morphogenesis and cranio-facial architecture in the morpho-functional interpretation of relations skull/face/tooth. In this context, the dental extraction of upper incisors, ritual which was operated not only adolescents but also on temporary dentition children, was in part responsible for the development first of an hypomaxillie then the inbalance of sphenoidal and occipital complexes. In addition to the mutilated nature of anterior dentitions, the study of about thirty skulls emphasized numerous craniofacial malformations showing different kind of asymetries (rotation lateral flexion, torsion, plagiocephaly).
 
Article
These stone tools from Yunxian with other Lower Paleolithic sites in South China, for example, the site Lantian (Shanxi, China) and the site Bose (Guangxi, China), indicates that there are many common characteristics among these industries. There are choppers, chopping-tools, picks, hand-axes, cleavers and scrapers. Long ago we thought that there are not hand-axes in China. In fact, there are lots of hand-axes in China and these hand-axes existed more earlier than those in Europe. The hand-axe appeared in China before 800,000 years old and it barely arrived in Europe before 600,000 years old. The quaternary deposits of the site of Yunxian Hominid (Hubei, China) are at least dated to 800,000 years old. A large quantity of lower Paleolithic material was discovered. The types of the tools are choppers, picks, scrapers, hand-axes and cleavers. The pebbles tools make up the majority of the implements. Small flake tools are relatively rare. The lithic industries comparison of the two regions has help us to know the cultural evolution in China and Europe.
 
Article
The position of lithic industries of Chinese Paleolithic in comparison with those of other regions in the world is always a controversial topic. The typological analysis has made Chinese prehistorians reveal some variability between lithic industries of different regions of China in terms of technical tradition and industrial structure. But this recognition, based upon some morphological characters of stone artifacts, failed to define systematically the modes of production that exist in each site. To answer these problematic some new methods need to be applied. So the lithic materials from 8 Chinese sites dated from 300 ka to 50 ka B.P. were selected and analyzed by means of lithic technological analysis and a new approach for analyzing the structures of cores. This paper presents principally the analytical results of modes of débitage and revealed that the modes of débitage during this period were characterized essentially by system C (“simple débitage”) and E (discoid) and that the concept Levallois was absent during this period in technical systems of lithic production in China. The Chinese lithic industries between 300 ka and 50 ka B.P. saw some homogeneity in the scale of the continent and remarkable difference from those of other regions in the world. So a stable, continuous but independent even isolated evolution in comparison with those of other regions was observed in this period. In addition, despite of apparent homogeneity, some variability exists also between these industries.
 
Article
The archaic Homo erectus Kocabaş skullcap was discovered at Kocabaş, Denizli, Turkey in travertine formations over- and underlain by conglomerate formations. These units dated by the 26Al/10Be cosmogenic nuclide method constrained the skullcap age between 1.0 and 1.6 Ma.
 
Article
The radionuclides 26Al and 10Be in situ produced in quartz near the ground surface by secondary cosmic rays can be used for dating the sediment burial. This paper introduces the principles, preconditions and limitations of the recently established dating method. In China its first trial application is to the site of Peking man. The weighted mean of six significant results of samples from layers 7–10 is 770 ± 80 ka. This date provides strong support to an earlier and longer human presence at the site than once estimated. This method has also been applied for the first time to two Lower Paleolithic sites in the Cher Valley, central France, Lunery “la Terre-des-Sablons” and Brinay “la Noira”. The preliminary results attribute ages of 750 ± 240 and 730 ± 210 ka to the two sites, largely consistent with the previous age estimates based on geological and geomorphological studies and on ESR dating. With its well-founded basis in physics, its independence from other dating methods and its timescale filling a “blank period” in radioisotopic dating, the 26Al/10Be burial dating will be widely applied and contribute substantially to the establishment of a reliable timescale for the earliest human occurrence and evolution in China and in Europe.
 
Article
The discovery of Chauvet cave, at Vallon-Pont-d’Arc (Ardèche), in 1994, was an important event for our knowledge of palaeolithic parietal art as a whole. Its painted and engraved figures, thanks to their number (425 graphic units), and their excellent state of preservation, provide a documentary thesaurus comparable to that of the greatest sites known, and far beyond what had already been found in the group of Rhône valley caves (Ardèche and Gard). But its study – when one places it in its natural regional, cultural and thematic framework – makes it impossible to see it as an isolated entity of astonishing precocity. This needs to be reconsidered, and the affinities that our research has brought to light are clearly incompatible with the very early age which has been attributed to it. And if one extends this examination to the whole of the Franco-Cantabrian domain, the conclusion is inescapable: although Chauvet cave displays some unique characteristics (like every decorated cave), it belongs to an evolved phase of parietal art that is far removed from the motifs of its origins (known from art on blocks and on shelter walls dated by stratigraphy to the Aurignacian, in France and Cantabrian Spain). The majority of its works are therefore to be placed, quite normally, within the framework of the well-defined artistic creations of the Gravettian and Solutrean. Moreover, this phase of the Middle Upper Palaeolithic (26,000–18,000) coincides with a particularly intensive and diversified local human occupation, unknown in earlier periods and far less dense afterwards in the Magdalenian. A detailed critique of the treatment of the samples subjected to AMS radiocarbon dating makes it impossible to retain the very early age (36,000 cal BP) attributed by some authors to the painted and engraved figures of Chauvet cave.
 
Top-cited authors
Rodrigo De Balbin-Behrmann
  • University of Alcalá
Eudald Carbonell
  • Universitat Rovira i Virgili
Primitiva Bueno Ramírez
  • University of Alcalá
Marcel Otte
  • University of Liège
Deborah roxanne Barsky
  • Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social