Ruth Blasco

Ruth Blasco
Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social | IPHES

PhD

About

238
Publications
57,990
Reads
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5,174
Citations
Citations since 2017
89 Research Items
3504 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600700
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600700
Additional affiliations
February 2021 - present
Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social
Position
  • Researcher
January 2016 - January 2021
Centro de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana
Position
  • Researcher
January 2015 - December 2015
Autonomous University of Barcelona
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (238)
Article
Full-text available
The application of dental wear study to murids has always been ruled out because of their omnivorous diet, which does not leave significant wear on the dentition. Nevertheless, in our work we select Apodemus sylvaticus (wood mouse) as the object of study for several reasons: its seasonal diet, its ability to resist the gastric juices of predators,...
Article
El Juyo is one of the Cantabrian sites of Iberia known from long ago for its important Lower Magdalenian sequence. The present study reports the results of the zooarchaeological and taphonomic analysis of the avian remains recovered at the site, which complements the archaeological and palaeoecological data already available. The remains recovered...
Article
Full-text available
Cervids, and especially the red deer Cervus elaphus, are among the most regularly and abundantly recorded ungulates in Pleistocene/Paleolithic bone assemblages. Numerous Pleistocene or Holocene subspecies have been described, reinforcing their status as essential proxies for environmental and chronological reconstructions. Despite this, at the begi...
Article
Full-text available
Long bone breakage for bone marrow recovery is a commonly observed practice in Middle Palaeolithic contexts, regardless of the climatic conditions. While lithic technology is largely used to define cultural patterns in human groups, despite dedicating research by zooarchaeologists, for now butchering techniques rarely allowed the identification of...
Conference Paper
Dental microwear is a common and well-established proxy that shows a high temporal resolution in characterising the ungulate diet on a short time scale linked to the time of death. It is often the case that a high number of specimens from fossil assemblages are excluded from analyses due to structural or superficial damage, which can drastically re...
Article
Full-text available
The northeastern region of Iberia constitutes a natural pass-area for arriving populations into the peninsula and becomes a key area to understand Neanderthal resilience to changing environmental conditions experienced during Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3; 60–30 ka). Short-term but repeated occupations by Neanderthal groups occurred in Teixoneres C...
Article
Full-text available
Taphonomical analysis allows us to understand the processes that underlie site formation, as well as provide insights into the modification and composition of studied fossil materials. Taphonomy has become crucial to many scientific fields, providing conceptual advances through a renewal of models, protocols, and paradigms. In these studies, trans-...
Presentation
Postdepositional damage to fossil remains are of great interest if considering the possible distortion they could produce in the archaeological and paleontological record. These damages are particularly relevant for the dietary reconstructions based on dental microwear which was formed during the lifetime of an animal. The taphonomic processes have...
Chapter
Recent research about Neanderthals has led to an extensive reevaluation of previous perceptions regarding their behaviour and adaptations. Current evidence suggests that Neanderthals were versatile enough to adapt to different ecological conditions and displayed complex cognitive and symbolic behaviours once considered exclusive to modern humans. T...
Chapter
Els grups humans del Paleolític mitjà no es poden entendre sense tenir en compte el medi en el qual es desenvolupaven. Des d'aquest punt de vista, les coves del Toll (Toll i Teixoneres) són un bon indret per analitzar les relacions dels humans d'aquest període amb les entitats biològiques del territori circumdant. Aquest treball intenta aportar llu...
Article
Cooper et al . (Research Articles, 19 February 2021, p. 811) propose that the Laschamps geomagnetic inversion ~42,000 years ago drove global climatic shifts, causing major behavioral changes within prehistoric groups, as well as events of human and megafaunal extinction. Other scientific studies indicate that this proposition is unproven from the c...
Article
Full-text available
The behaviour and mobility of hominins are dependent on the availability of biotic and abiotic resources, which, in temperate ecosystems, are strongly related to seasonality. The objective of this study is to establish evidence of seasonality and duration of occupation(s) of specific archaeological contexts at late Lower Palaeolithic Qesem Cave bas...
Chapter
Proboscidean remains in Iberian Pleistocene sites were first discovered many centuries ago. Some of them were recovered together with lithic tools, leading researchers to associate them with human activities. However, in recent decades, several taphonomic works have provided a new perspectives based on more precise methods and analyses. Elephant sk...
Chapter
Animal exploitation strategies have occupied a prominent place in the debate about the timing and nature of the modern human behavior. The discussions have basically focused on the ability to make an intensive use of seasonal resources, to hunt large or dangerous animals and to exploit fast-moving small game. Both large-sized herbivores and small p...
Conference Paper
Neanderthal's material remains have been studied from a variety of perspectives with the aim of reconstructing different life-aspects of these human groups. The arrangements of artefacts and features within archaeological sites have often been employed to isolate activity areas and draw inferences about site function. This assumes that objects foun...
Article
Full-text available
Teixoneres Cave (Moià, Barcelona, Spain) is a reference site for Middle Palaeolithic studies of the Iberian Peninsula. The cave preserves an extensive stratigraphic sequence made up of eight units, which is presented in depth in this work. The main goal of this study is to undertake an initial spatial examination of Unit III, formed during Marine I...
Article
During the last International Congress of Paleobotany and Palynology (Dublin, 2018), participants discussed Paleoecology through the lens of Art and Science. These talks identified an urgent need for a more synergistic interaction between the visual arts and the sciences. Importantly, such consilience could inform research. This is because, while f...
Article
Equifinality constitutes a challenge when interpreting agency in archaeological sites. The fact that a specific type of damage frequently cannot be linked to a single actor, behavior, or ecological context, handicaps correct interpretations of site formation processes. Actualistic studies have been used to address this type of problem by creating m...
Article
The study of small prey has been the focus of interest during the past few decades, especially due to its implications for the subsistence and cultural behaviours of human populations. In this regard, a growing body of evidence has shed light on the human exploitation of small prey, including birds. Nevertheless, small animal accumulations are not...
Article
Neanderthals are widely known to be a resilient human species that successfully faced constant and strong environmental fluctuations modifying the landscapes they inhabited and the availability of their potential resources. It has been traditionally assumed that environmental features could strongly affect human behaviour due to the stretch relatio...
Article
Full-text available
Bone specimens showing a large amount of markings that include scratching, cutting, and fracture provide us with a clear idea of the use of animals from an archaeological site for butchery-related work. Nevertheless, there is one type of damage that stands out from the rest—the stigmas associated with retouch work. There is a great deal of evidence...
Article
The aim of this study is to understand the feeding habits of the cave bear, Ursus spelaeus by investigating the dental microwear patterns of 106 molars from six Late Pleistocene caves in Catalonia (Spain): Ermitons Cave, Arbreda Cave, Mollet Cave, Llenes Cave, Toll Cave, and Teixoneres Cave. Dental microwear patterns of U. spelaeus were compared wi...
Article
Diet is closely connected to the habitat exploited by ungulates and is one of the main links between them and the surrounding environment. When climatic fluctuations modified the vegetal coverture and habitat, ungulates' dietary behaviours and ecological niches could have been impacted severely. During the Middle Palaeolithic, the Mediterranean pen...
Article
A palynological study of the archaeological layers from the Neanderthal site of Teixoneres Cave, located in Northeastern Spain, is presented. Vegetation dynamics for the MIS 7-MIS 2 period are described, revealing the long-term resilience of mixed oak-pine forests throughout cold phases and a high diversity of woody taxa, including conifers, mesoph...
Article
The present case study proposes an experimental approach to the taphonomic characterization of modifications that are produced on bone surfaces by eagles during the attack and capture of their prey. Under these circumstances, a golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) attack on a Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) skull was simulated. The macaque specimen w...
Article
Palynological investigations of Toll Cave, a carnivore and archaeological cave site in northeastern Spain, are presented. The inferred vegetation reveals the long-term permanence of mixed pine-oak forests through a long period of environmental changes within the interval MIS 4 to MIS 1, and probably before. A relatively high diversity of woody taxa...
Article
Full-text available
As predators, humans used to transport part of their prey to safe places like caves. Not only these accumulations, but also their formation, origin and composition constitute a fundamental basis to explore the behaviour of the human groups and their interaction with environment. Zooarchaeology and Taphonomy are complementary disciplines that allow...
Article
Full-text available
Skeletal profiles at archaeological bone assemblages can bear little resemblance to original hominin discarded bone elements. Resulting patterns might originate from different taphonomic problems, such as hominin-carnivore activities in alternate visits, and lead to interpretation issues. In this paper, we present a study of predepositional scatter...
Conference Paper
Carnivores show a great variability as taphonomic agents, because of their own behaviour and physical characteristics. The identifi cation and characterisation of the accumulator agents is required to understand the relationships and diff erences between human and carnivore activities in archaeological sites. Thus, studies based on actualistic and...
Article
Full-text available
The presence of shaped stone balls at early Paleolithic sites has attracted scholarly attention since the pioneering work of the Leakeys in Olduvai, Tanzania. Despite the persistent presence of these items in the archaeological record over a period of two million years, their function is still debated. We present new results from Middle Pleistocene...
Article
The presence of small retouched stone tools in the lithic industries of the Middle Palaeolithic is a well-known and repeated-and not necessarily in recent times-fact in several European sites. Although modern research accepts the existence of microlithism in these contexts, it is necessary to define the process in the Palaeolithic industries of fla...
Article
Like human groups, carnivores are able to act on the same faunal accumulation and generate important bone assemblages with their prey remains. In addition, both predators can share the same habitable areas and alternate their occupations, producing the well-known palimpsest at archaeological sites. As a discipline, taphonomy helps us understand the...
Article
Studies on spatial settlement patterns have shed important light on Neanderthal intra-site behavior. Spatial analysis of the human occupations through bone and lithic refitting has contributed to the reconstruction of their settlements, offering temporal interpretations and reconstructions of their activities. Often archaeological units are a conse...
Article
Full-text available
Percussion marks have been studied in the field of archaeology for more than a century. Researchers have identified, characterized and analysed them in order to distinguish them from traces of environment modification to bone and reconstruct hominin subsistence strategies. The multiplicity of studies based on percussion marks in different languages...
Article
Hunter-gatherers have a nomadic lifestyle and move frequently on the landscape based on the seasonal distribution of resources. During these displacements, carrying capacities are limited, and the composition of the transported gear is generally planned ahead of the activity to perform. During the Pleistocene, prehistoric hunter-gatherers faced sim...
Chapter
Short-term human occupations could occur in very distinct places and be related to very different behaviours. The low number of items left by the human groups in these sites, usually, generates discrete assemblages, which often are difficult to disentangle. In the European Middle Palaeolithic, short-term human occupations in caves and rock-shelters...
Article
Actualistic studies have been commonly used as valid analogies in taphonomic research and, as the growing body of data demonstrate, have proved to be highly informative to explain the formation of terrestrial vertebrate fossil faunas. In Rosell et al. (2019), we conducted an experimental study with free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos) wit...
Article
Full-text available
Bone marrow and grease constitute an important source of nutrition and have attracted the attention of human groups since prehistoric times. Marrow consumption has been linked to immediate consumption following the procurement and removal of soft tissues. Here, we present the earliest evidence for storage and delayed consumption of bone marrow at Q...
Article
The presence of fast-moving small game in the Paleolithic archaeological faunal record has long been considered a key variable to assess fundamental aspects of human behavior and subsistence. Birds occupy a prominent place in this debate not only due to their small size and to the difficulties in capturing them (essentially due to their ability to...
Article
Full-text available
The composition and organisational patterns of Pleistocene human groups are a main research when it comes to the evolution of human behaviour. However, these studies are often limited by the restricted characteristics of the archaeological records and do not show enough resolution to make approaches with the necessary precision. The travertinic for...
Article
Prehistoric human groups organize their subsistence strategies according to environmental parameters and socio-cultural variables. Functional analysis of artefacts allows researchers to recognize different activities and the characteristics of their utilization and to formulate hypotheses about the duration and the way that sites were occupied. Bon...
Article
Full-text available
Human control of fire is a widely debated issue in the field of Palaeolithic archaeology, since it involved significant technological innovations for human subsistence. Although fire evidence has been the subject of intense debate regarding its natural or anthropogenic nature, most authors agree that combustion structures represent the most direct...
Article
Full-text available
Neo-taphonomic studies of carnivores are commonly used to explain the formation processes of Pleistocene faunal assemblages. However, these works have been developed mostly with large carnivores—e.g. hyenas. On the contrary, small and medium-sized carnivores have been scarcely studied in spite of their presence in most of the archaeological sites....
Article
Different agents can lead to similar damage patterns, and different causes can result in the same type of modification. This phenomenon was defined by Lyman (1987) as a problem of equifinality, with which the researcher warned about the risks of making direct systematic correlations. The fact that a specific type of damage cannot be linked to a sin...
Article
Full-text available
Dietary habits of the extinct Ursus spelaeus have always been a controversial topic in paleontological studies. In this work, we investigate carbon and nitrogen values in the bone collagen and dental microwear of U. spelaeus specimens recovered in Level 4 from Toll Cave (Moià, Catalonia, NE Iberian Peninsula). These remains have been dated to > 49,...
Article
Fire represented a real revolution in human lifestyles, transforming the way food was processed and leading to a new way of organising settlements and interacting socially. Yet, it is one of the most debated and controversial issues in the field of Palaeolithic archaeology. The scientific community generally proposes that the regular and controlled...
Article
The interaction between hominins and carnivores can lead to archaeological scenarios where these relationships materialise in palimpsests. The alternate use of caves and shelters results in overlapped occupations where the action of both predators becomes difficult to trace. Their presence in archaeological sites like cave/shelter-environments have...
Article
Vanguard Cave is an archaeological site located on the shoreline of the Rock of Gibraltar at the southwestern extreme of the Iberian Peninsula. It is part of a limestone cave system facing the adjacent Governor's Beach on the south-eastern coast of Gibraltar and has been filled to the roof with more than 17m of sedimentary deposits. Due to its long...
Chapter
Contexte géoarchéologique, chronologique et environnemental
Conference Paper
The characterization of Neanderthal groups is approached by analyzing both their behavior patterns in several environments and their spatial organization in different types of occupations. The availability of resources, its management and exploitation, as well as other variables, such as seasonality, group size, occupational length and function or...
Article
Full-text available
The presence of processed birds in the archeological faunal record is considered key to assessing human dietary evolution. Taphonomic studies on birds from sites older than Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 2 have become relevant in the last few years, leading to the proposal of more complex scenarios of human subsistence. Several works have demonstrated...
Article
Small game seems to have increased during the Upper Palaeolithic to the detriment of large game on the Iberian Peninsula. The economical and socio-cultural factors associated with this ecological shift represent a widely discussed topic. The present work attempts to elucidate the subsistence strategies occurring through the Late Pleistocene in Iber...
Presentation
Neanderthal's material remains have been studied from a variety of perspectives with the aim of reconstructing different life-aspects of these human groups. The arrangements of artefacts and features within archaeological sites have often been employed to isolate activity areas and draw inferences about site function. This assumes that objects foun...
Article
This paper deals with pollen analyses performed on hyaena coprolites from Vanguard Cave, Gibraltar, with the aim at depicting the vegetation landscapes of the southern Iberia Neanderthals during the MIS 3. The Palaeolithic vegetation in the surroundings would include pine, oak, juniper, Pistacia, and mixed woodlands, savannahs, riverine forest patc...
Research Proposal
From an archaeological point of view, the abandonment of remains allows past human activities and occupations to be reconstructed. In the case of faunal studies, once the nutritional value is exploited, bones are thrown, generating a set of accumulations that, together with other processes, leads to a deposit formation. One of the main problems is...
Article
L’explotació de petites preses és un fenomen que sembla desenvolupar-se de manera sistemàtica a partir del Paleolític Superior. Això suposa un canvi en les estratègies de subsistència humanes, que pot deure’s a mútiples factors (econòmics, soco-culturals o ecològics, entre altres) i segueix sent encara avui dia un tema de debat. L’estudi que aquí e...
Chapter
Les différentes phases d'occupation de la cavité : fonction(s) du site