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ATAPUERCA - GALERÍA SITE

Goal: Galería site

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Paula García-Medrano
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This paper presents a unified methodology to describe critical features in lithic assemblages, in order to better interpret the Middle Pleistocene hominin occupation of western Europe, in the context of the Western European Acheulean Project (WEAP). This project aims to characterise the Acheulean technology of the western side of Europe by the analysis of 10 key assemblages in this area, to generate an in depth regional comparison in particular of the large cutting tools (LCTs). Nevertheless, to go beyond the local perspective and gain a regional point of view requires a deep understanding of the underlying technology to identify the differences or similarities in processes and traditions of manufacture. The different criteria to analyse and to categorise the results make it difficult to compare data from different research traditions (British, French and Spanish). Nevertheless, after decades of intense work on technological analysis and although many technological approaches have been developed, there are still differences in methods between the different countries. It was necessary to develop a unified, yet flexible, protocol to characterise the LCTs that could be adapted to the technological characteristics of each area or site. It also had to be a system that could describe tool technology and morphology, combined with a proper statistical treatment, to summarise all of the data and to compare the results. In addition, due to the recent development of innovative technologies, it is timely to move research forward to make more detailed comparisons between sites. In this paper, we test the WEAP method with three very different European sites, Galería and Gran Dolina-subunit TD10.1 (both in Atapuerca, Spain) and Boxgrove (Sussex, UK).
Paula García-Medrano
added a research item
The term “Mental Template” has been used frequently, especially in discussions about Acheulean handaxes. Nevertheless, the standardization of shape not only affects handaxes but also cleavers. The aim is to analyze the whole sense of the cleaver tool-type through the study of the quartzite cleavers of the Middle Pleistocene sites of Gran Dolina -TD10.1 and Galería (Atapuerca, Spain). These tools are made on both cobbles and flake, using different techniques to produce the same tool-type. The main idea to explore is that shape standardization not only affects the morphology of tools but also their function. The type of actions performed with these tools produce small edge fracturing on their tips, removing any previous well developed polishes and other use-wear features. So, we propose a new approach, based on the 3D scanning of edges, combined with the use-wear analysis by SEM microscopy. The archaeological sample will be compared with experimental tools used in different activities, the wear of which has been monitored by means of 3D scanning before and after use and by sequential microscopic recording of the microwear. The preliminary results highlight the good preservation of the archaeological artefacts, and effectively allow us to identify generic actions carried out by the analysed tools. So, experimental data combined with a multi-technique approach including 3D models proved to be useful to improve our knowledge on the functional role of the Acheulean cleavers.
Paula García-Medrano
added 3 research items
The Acheulean technology marked a revolution and its presence can be clearly tracked along the European seaboard from the lberian Peninsula to Great Britain, mainly between 700 to 300ka. Nevertheless, to go beyond the local perspective and gain a regional point of view requires a deep understanding of the underlying technology to identify the differences or similarities in processes and traditions of manufacture. The different criteria to analyze and to categorize the results make it difficult to compare data from different research traditions. Although many technological approaches have been developed, there are still differences in method between the different countries. The British research has been based on the typological system of Wymer or the morphometric system of Roe for the analysis and classification of handaxes, as well as on the simple description of shaping sequences developed by Newcomer and Wenban- Smith. In turn, the French traditions are mainly based on the typological view proposed Bordes, on the complex approach of the chaîne opératoire, and on the techno-functional approach proposed by Boëda. Meanwhile, the Spanish tradition has been highly influenced by the French school, with significant methodological developments coming from the Logical Analytic System. This work proposes a common method of analysis for the study of Large Cutting Tools from several sites in UK and France (La Noira, Brandon Fields, Cagny Le Garenne, Elveden, Swanscombe, La Celle, Saint Pierre les Elbeuf, Menez Dregan), based on a selection of technological attributes from the main traditions of lithic analysis (typological, technological, morphometrical and sequential) that are considered to be specially significant. The attributes will be those which give more information about the Large Cutting Tools and how they have been produced. Each tool will be analyzed as a unit and also divided in its three main morpho-potential sections: distal, medium and proximal parts. In addition, taking advantage of new technologies and combining the basic technological analysis with 3D models, will allow us to standardize the process of measurement and documentation of the pieces more objectively. The measurements obtained will be managed through an open-access data base in order the accumulative information of Western European sites.
The Acheulean technology marked a revolution and its presence can be clearly tracked along the European seaboard from the lberian Peninsula to Great Britain, mainly between 700 to 300ka. Nevertheless, to go beyond the local perspective and gain a regional point of view requires a deep understanding of the underlying technology to identify the differences or similarities in processes and traditions of manufacture. The different criteria to analyze and to categorize the results make it difficult to compare data from different research traditions. Although many technological approaches have been developed, there are still differences in method between the different countries. The British research has been based on the typological system of Wymer or the morphometric system of Roe for the analysis and classification of handaxes, as well as on the simple description of shaping sequences developed by Newcomer and Wenban- Smith. In turn, the French traditions are mainly based on the typological view proposed Bordes, on the complex approach of the chaîne opératoire, and on the techno-functional approach proposed by Boëda. Meanwhile, the Spanish tradition has been highly influenced by the French school, with significant methodological developments coming from the Logical Analytic System. This work proposes a common method of analysis for the study of Large Cutting Tools from several sites in UK and France (La Noira, Brandon Fields, Cagny Le Garenne, Elveden, Swanscombe, La Celle, Saint Pierre les Elbeuf, Menez Dregan), based on a selection of technological attributes from the main traditions of lithic analysis (typological, technological, morphometrical and sequential) that are considered to be specially significant. The attributes will be those which give more information about the Large Cutting Tools and how they have been produced. Each tool will be analyzed as a unit and also divided in its three main morpho-potential sections: distal, medium and proximal parts. In addition, taking advantage of new technologies and combining the basic technological analysis with 3D models, will allow us to standardize the process of measurement and documentation of the pieces more objectively. The measurements obtained will be managed through an open-access data base in order the accumulative information of Western European sites.
Paula García-Medrano
added a research item
The different criteria used to analyze and to categorize the results through the different research traditions make difficult to compare data. Although many technological approaches have been developed, there are still differences in method between the different countries in the study of the Middle Pleistocene industries in the Western side of Europe. The British research has been based on the typological system of Wymer or the morphometric system of Roe for the analysis and classification of handaxes, as well as on the simple description of shaping sequences developed by Newcomer and Wenban-Smith. In turn, the French traditions are mainly based on the typological view proposed by Bordes, on the complex approach of the chaine operatoire, and on the techno-functional approach proposed by Boëda. Meanwhile, the Spanish tradition has been highly influenced by the French school, with significant methodological developments coming from the Logical Analytic System. This work proposes a common method of analysis of the Acheulean technology to go beyond the local perspective and gain a regional point of view in the Western side of Europe. This requires a deep understanding of the underlying technology to identify the differences or similarities in processes and traditions of manufacture. The new methodology, applied in several sites of UK and France, is based on the selection of those technological attributes which give more information about the LCT and how they have been produced. Each tool will be analyzed as a unit and also divided in its three main morpho-potential sections: distal, medium and proximal parts. And, taking advantage of new technologies and combining the basic technological analysis with 3D models, we willto standardize the process of measurement and documentation of the pieces. This methodological approach is the base of a Post-doctoral Marie Skłodowska Curie project, entitle The Western European Acheulean Project, (ID. 748316).
Paula García-Medrano
added a research item
The Acheulean technology marked a revolution and its presence can be clearly tracked along the European seaboard from the Iberian Peninsula to Great Britain, mainly between 700 to 300ka. Nevertheless, to go beyond the local perspective and gain a regional point of view requires a deep understanding of the underlying technology to identify the differences or similarities in processes and traditions of manufacture. The different criteria to analyze and to categorize the results make it difficult to compare data from different research traditions. Although many technological approaches have been developed, there are still differences in method between the different countries. The British research has been based on the typological system of Wymer or the morphometric system of Roe for the analysis and classification of handaxes, as well ason the simple description of shaping sequences developed by Newcomer and Wenban-Smith. In turn, the French traditions are mainly based on the ty-pological view proposed by Bordes, on the complex approach of the chaine operatoire,and on the techno-functional approach proposed by Boëda. Meanwhile, the Spanish tradition has been highly influenced by the French school, with significant methodological developments coming from the Logical Analytic System. This work proposes a common method of analysis for the study of Large Cutting Tools from several sites in UK and France (La Noira, Brandon Fields, Cagny Le Garenne, Elveden, Swanscombe, La Celle, Saint Pierre les Elbeuf, Menez Dregan), based on a selection of technological attributes from the main traditions of lithic analysis (typological, technological, morphometrical and sequential) that are considered to be specially significant. The attributes will be those which give more information about the Large Cutting Tools and how they have been produced. Each tool will be analyzed as a unit and also divided in its three main morpho-potential sections: distal, medium and proximal parts. In addition, taking advantage of new technologies and combining the basic technological analysis with 3D models, will allow us to standardize the process of measurement and documentation of the pieces more objectively. The measurements obtained will be man-aged through an open-access data base in order to promote the accumulative information of Western European sites.
Paula García-Medrano
added 21 research items
In Western Europe, Acheulean cultural evidence is well attested by ca. 0.5 Ma. However, recent work has proven that it was present earlier; at the end of the Early Pleistocene. The timing and mode of the Western European Acheulean needs still to be investigated, and this knowledge appears to be strongly dependent upon data from sites with sufficiently well preserved archeo-stratigraphical sequences and/or geophysical conditions that guarantee reliable dating.
The Sierra de Atapuerca sites offer a chronological sequence that allows the evolution of technology at a local scale during the Early and Middle Pleistocene to be reconstructed. This paper presents updated information on the main lithic assemblages recovered from the various levels of the Sima del Elefante, Gran Dolina, Galería, and Sima de los Huesos sites. The ultimate goal is to look for technological features on the pieces that make up these assemblages that carry evolutionary significance. Other archaeological data will be crossreferenced with the technical features documented in these artefacts in order to better understand the peopling that took place at Atapuerca during the Pleistocene. The first peopling of Atapuerca occurred at 1.2 Ma, and is represented in level TE9 and probably at the top of level TD3-TD4 by Homo sp. and a Mode 1 technology, which is very poor in terms of diversity and energy invested in tool production. This technology is related to opportunistic subsistence strategies that focused on taking advantage of carcasses that had fallen into the cavities. A second cultural phase has been revealed in level TD6, dating to before 800 ka: a phase characterised by new subsistence and technological strategies, although still belonging to Mode 1 and carried out by Homo antecessor. In TD6, the lithic assemblage is rich and diversified. Intensive occupations with well organised subsistence strategies have been documented, including hunting activities and the earliest trace of cannibalism in prehistory. After a hiatus of approximately 300 ky without evidence of hominin presence, the occupations of Galería and TD10 correspond to a third cultural phase, ranging from between 500 ka and 300 ka. They are represented by a Mode 2 technology associated with systematic and directional carcass processing, including hunting events in TD10. H. heidelbergensis appears instead of Homo antecessor, and is extraordinarily represented at the Sima de los Huesos site in the form of an intentional accumulation of numerous individuals. Finally, TD10.1 may represent the local evolution from Mode 2 to Mode 3 assemblages. After comparing these assemblages, it is clear that several technological features have either been retained or changed over the span of the Atapuerca sequence. The following are considered to have evolutionary significance due to the technological trends described: a) raw material selection (use of local varieties of rock, with the progressive increasing selection of the most workable materials through the Middle Pleistocene); b) production sequences (coexistence of several knapping methods, with a clear increase in centripetal strategies and techniques for flake predetermination, which ultimately lead to Levallois-like methods); c) scarce and insignificant presence of choppers and chopping-tools; d) tools on flakes (recorded only from the end of the Early Pleistocene, increasing in number, complexity and standardisation throughout the Middle Pleistocene); and e) large cutting tools (which appear ca 500 ka, and progressively decrease in number, standardisation and intensity of shaping throughout Gran Dolina TD10).
Paula García-Medrano
added a project goal
Galería site