In this article we present a research project focused on the reevaluation and study of the archaeological record of Los Casares Cave (inland Iberia). This project started in 2014 and is aimed at the systemic recording of the archaeological site and prehistoric graphic expressions found in the cave interior. We have adopted an interdisciplinary approach, allowing for a complete documentation and understating of both the historical/anthropological meaning of the site and its heritage value. This approach includes a multi-proxy geoarchaeological, palaeoecological and techno-economic investigation, as well as the topographic and digital recording of the cave graphic expressions, including 3D modelling and photogrammetric techniques. We present preliminary results of these investigations based on our current state of knowledge oncerning the prehistoric human presence at the cave.
Classic models on population dynamics in inland Iberia during Marine Isotope Stage 2 have depicted this area, dominated by the Spanish plateau, as nearly unpopulated until Magdalenian times. In recent years, some researchers have questioned these models, mainly based on new field data. Preliminary evidence coming from the Peña Capón rock shelter has been among the most promising and thought-provoking. In the framework of a project aimed at investigating human-environment interactions and population dynamics during the Late Pleistocene in central Iberia, we have conducted new geo-archeological fieldwork at Peña Capón. This is a north-westerly oriented limestone rock shelter, close to the south-eastern foothills of the Central System range, and hosting a multi-layered fluvial deposit containing Upper Palaeolithic assemblages. We present here the first results obtained from the new excavations at the site, focusing on the uppermost layers, where in situ Solutrean assemblages have been recorded. These assemblages have been radiocarbon dated between circa 24.72 and 23.67 ka cal BP and attest to the relevance of the Peña Capón rock shelter for studying population dynamics and human-environment interactions around the Last Glacial Maximum in inland Iberia.
In this paper we present a chronicle of the discovery of two archaeological sites yielding Palaeolithic human occupations in two rock shelters located in the Sorbe River valley (Muriel, Guadalajara, Spain). Both sites, named Peña Cabra and Peña Capón, were discovered by a speleological team in the late 1960’s and the early 1970’s. Furthermore, we highlight the scientific relevance that both sites have presented for our understating of the Palaeolithic settlement of the Iberian Peninsula, as well as the promising prospects raised by current research being conducted by an interdisciplinary research team coordinated by the University of Alcalá (Spain).
We present partial results obtained in an interdisciplinary research project focused on the human settlement of the Guadalajara province (Spain) during the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic. The excavation of the Peña Capón, Peña Cabra and Los Casares sites have shown outstanding evidence for investigating population dynamics and human-environment interactions in the interior territories of the Iberian Peninsula during the Late Pleistocene. Traditionally depicted as marginal and lacking own cultural developments, these territories have provided scarce and weak data for the Middle and –especially– Upper Paleolithic, and thus the proposed interpretations on the mentioned problems have been always flawed. However, our results enable us to confirm the cultural relevance of the region under study during Upper Pleniglacial times previously considered devoid of human occupation. Also, we are now able to contribute with solid data from inland Spain to the problem of the Neandertal demise in the Iberian Peninsula and southwest Europe.