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... Geochemical proxies similar to those used in this study were applied to faunal remains (horse, deer and ibex) recovered from the archaeological site of Peña Cap on (Yravedra et al., 2016), a rock shelter located in central Iberia which contains sedimentary deposits assigned to Marine Isotope Stage 2 (MIS 2). Yravedra et al. (2016) estimated MAAT for archaeological levels with a 14 C cal. Age of~23.8 ...
... Geochemical proxies similar to those used in this study were applied to faunal remains (horse, deer and ibex) recovered from the archaeological site of Peña Cap on (Yravedra et al., 2016), a rock shelter located in central Iberia which contains sedimentary deposits assigned to Marine Isotope Stage 2 (MIS 2). Yravedra et al. (2016) estimated MAAT for archaeological levels with a 14 C cal. Age of~23.8 kyr, ranging from 9 C to 12 C, i.e. ...
... However, more recent high-resolution climatic simulations tend to reduce the discrepancy vs geochemical proxy-derived temperature estimates. This is for example the case of the central part of Iberia (~21 ka) with a computed MAAT close to 7 ± 3 C (Burke et al., 2014) that are comparable or only slightly higher than those inferred from the oxygen isotope composition of large mammals (Yravedra et al., 2016). ...
Article
The climate shift of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) strongly impacted the vegetation cover and related trophic chains of western Europe. Harsh, cold and dry conditions then prevailed in most regions, strongly impacting migrations and survival of human beings. Nonetheless, environments suitable for mammalian fauna to survive persisted in SW Europe thus providing refugia for hunters. Tooth enamel from large herbivorous mammal remains from archaeological sites located in southwest France and Spain were analyzed for their stable carbon and oxygen isotope compositions for documenting paleotemperatures and paleoprecipitations. These sites were occupied by humans between 25 ky and 16 ky. Skeletal remains of Cervidae, Equidae and Caprinae suggest colder and drier conditions relative to present-day. Paleoprecipitations were reconstructed from a modern-based transfer function using δ¹³C-values of apatite carbonate, then corrected for the low atmospheric pCO2 value of the LGM. They ranged from ≈250 mm yr⁻¹ on the Mediterranean façade, to ≈550 mm yr⁻¹ on the Atlantic side. Setting the δ¹⁸O-value of the northeastern North Atlantic LGM-surface water to +0.8‰, based on Biscay Golf marine core studies, mean air temperatures inferred from ¹⁸O-data in apatite calcite were close to 14–15 °C (Mediterranean) and 6 °C–10 °C (Atlantic), i.e., about 4–5 °C and 5–8 °C higher than pre-industrial temperatures, respectively. The two areas thus define distinct clusters of air temperatures and precipitation regimes with strong negative offsets vs the Present. These isotopically-reconstructed climate conditions indicate a strong control from proximal surface ocean/marine waters, in particular of mean annual air temperatures.
... Closer to the Central System range, the sequence of human occupation recorded at the Peña Capón rock shelter has shown paleoecological evidence coming from isotopic, pollen, micromammal, and anthracological analyses. Although available data on stable isotopes obtained from herbivore teeth has pointed to warm climate and temperate environments around ca. 24 ka cal BP at this site (Yravedra et al., 2016), ongoing studies will soon complement these results (Alcaraz-Castaño et al. in prep.). Finally, in the Northern Plateau, the Cueva Mayor (Atapuerca) karst pollen record, combined with analyses of speleothem crystal fabrics, points to a landscape dominated by pines, junipers and xerophytic elements at ca. 20 ka cal BP, although mesophillus trees are also sporadically present (Martínez-Pillado et al., 2014). ...
... The fact that the oldest human occupations at this site most probably occurred during the HE2 suggests that they were developed regardless of potentially harsh climate conditions. Although available isotopic data obtained on faunal remains from the Solutrean layers of Peña Capón points to warm temperatures (Yravedra et al., 2016), pollen and micromammal evidence demonstrate that some episodes of human occupation occurred instead during harsh environmental conditions (Alcaraz-Castaño et al. in prep.). Moreover, far from being an isolated point within a deserted landscape, Peña Capón stands as the main known location within a probably organized territory during the LGM: the presence of pre-Solutrean rock art depictions at El Reno cave in the neighboring Jarama valley (see below) and unprecedented evidence to be published in the fluvial platform between the Sorbe and Jarama basins (Sala et al. in prep.), depict a walkable territory exploited by humans during, at least, Solutrean times. ...
Article
The Iberian Peninsula is considered one of the most well-suited regions in Europe to develop studies on the relationship between environmental changes and human adaptations across the Late Pleistocene. Due to its southwesternmost cul-de-sac position and eco-geographical diversity, Paleolithic Iberia was the stage of cyclical cultural/technological changes, linked to fluctuations in climate and environments, human demographics, and the size, extension, and type of social exchange networks. Such dynamics are particularly evident during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) timeframe, with a series of innovations emerging in the archaeological record, marking the transition between the traditionally defined Gravettian, Proto-Solutrean, Solutrean, and Magdalenian technocomplexes. Stemming from a workshop organized in Erlangen in 2019 on “The Last Glacial Maximum in Europe - state of knowledge in Geosciences and Archaeology”, this paper presents, in the first part, an updated review on the paleoenvironments and human adaptations across four macro-regions (Northern, Inland, Mediterranean, and Western Atlantic Façade) in Iberia during the LGM; and, in a second part, a discussion on the pronounced inter-regional variability, unresolved research questions, and the most promising research topics for future studies.
... During the Late Pleistocene, the peninsula is thought to have acted as a glacial refugium (Finlayson et al. 2006;Gamble et al. 2004; González-Sampériz et al. 2010;Jochim 1987;Sommer and Nadachowski 2006). Relatively harsh, continental conditions in the Spanish interior (the Meseta) may have resulted in periodic abandonment of the region by humans during cold events, however (Alcaraz-Castaño et al. 2013;Delibes de Castro and Diez Martin 2006;Straus 2015;Straus, Bicho, and Winegardner 2000;Wolf et al. 2018;Yravedra et al. 2016). ...
... Chronostratigraphic evidence from Jarama VI in the Alto Vale del Jarama and from Cueva de Los Casares (Alcaraz-Castaño et al. 2017b; Barandiaran 1973;Jordá Pardo 2011;Kehl et al. 2013;Romero et al. 2018) suggests that Neanderthal populations withdrew when climate conditions deteriorated towards the end of MIS 3. Fossil evidence for the presence of modern humans in the southern Meseta during the Late Pleistocene is limited to an undated specimen from Torrejones associated with Upper Palaeolithic material (Arribas, Díez, and Jordá 1997), recently reassigned to H. sapiens (Pablos, Sala, and Arribas 2017). Proto-Solutrean and Solutrean occupations at Peña Capón, a stratified site in the Sorbe River valley (Alcaraz-Castaño et al. 2013Yravedra et al. 2016) and the open-air site of Las Delicias, in the Manzanares River Valley (Alcaraz-Castaño et al. 2017c) confirm that modern human populations reached Guadalajara and adjacent regions prior to the LGM. The Upper Palaeolithic record of the region is discontinuous, however, and evidence for a human presence during the LGM, sensu stricto, is still lacking. ...
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The central Meseta is a high plateau located in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula. Abundant evidence of Lower and Middle Palaeolithic occupations of the region contrasts with scarce evidence of a human presence during the early Upper Palaeolithic. On this basis, it has been suggested that climatic downturns triggered the temporary abandonment, or near abandonment, of the central Meseta during the Last Glacial period. We conducted three archaeological surveys in Guadalajara province, located in the southern part of the region, in 2009, 2010, and 2017. Survey results, interpreted in the light of a habitat suitability model, support a hypothesis of climate-driven abandonment (or near-abandonment) of the central plateau during the Last Glacial Maximum and suggest that the Tagus River Valley, which links the Spanish interior to the Atlantic seaboard, was a focus for the Palaeolithic occupation of the region at other times.
... The lack of sites in areas where quartz is dominant and flint or other cryptocrystalline silica-rich rocks lack was considered by some authors as an indicator of human mobility, and settlement preferences were justified by an absence of good quality resources (Bicho et al. 2007;Yravedra et al. 2016) as opposed to a scarcity in survey/ research and difficulty to recognise quartz-based industries (Pereira and Benedetti 2013;de Lombera-Hermida and Rodríguez-Rellán 2016). Proving that this is a problem of archaeological visibility and not a paleoanthropological issue is the presence of sites in quartz rich/flint poor regions such as the Central Iberian Massif (Yravedra et al. 2016 (Gameiro et al. 2013). ...
... The lack of sites in areas where quartz is dominant and flint or other cryptocrystalline silica-rich rocks lack was considered by some authors as an indicator of human mobility, and settlement preferences were justified by an absence of good quality resources (Bicho et al. 2007;Yravedra et al. 2016) as opposed to a scarcity in survey/ research and difficulty to recognise quartz-based industries (Pereira and Benedetti 2013;de Lombera-Hermida and Rodríguez-Rellán 2016). Proving that this is a problem of archaeological visibility and not a paleoanthropological issue is the presence of sites in quartz rich/flint poor regions such as the Central Iberian Massif (Yravedra et al. 2016 (Gameiro et al. 2013). Still, often, the use of quartz in Prehistory is understood as a means of filling a gap in the absence of flint or other cryptocrystalline varieties of silica-rich rocks. ...
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Navalmaíllo Rock Shelter is an Upper Pleistocene archaeological site in the Lozoya River Valley (Madrid, Spain) with a quartz-based Mousterian lithic assemblage. To understand the reasons behind an intense use of quartz over flint and quartzite, a mechanical experiment was carried out. Flakes from flint, quartzite, and local quartz were tested under controlled conditions and quantifiable variables. The mechanical action consisted in a standardised linear repetitive cutting protocol over antler and pine wood. Results allowed to differentiate flake resistance between raw materials through mass and edge angle material loss statistics. Results also showed that the edges produced on flint are sharper allowing to create deeper cuts, but the thin working edges break more easily meaning that they would need a higher maintenance by retouch. Quartzite and quartz have similar performances, but quartzite suffers a more intense modification of the edge angle, while quartz edges present a higher endurance. When compared with flint, quartzite and quartz are more suitable for those tasks where heavier force is applied. Based on that, we concluded that there was no functional disadvantage in using a quartz-based toolkit. Therefore, the quartz assemblages recovered throughout the sequence of Navalmaíllo Rock Shelter show that it was intensely explored not just because of its availability in the landscape but also for its suitability to the development of the different activities taking place at Navalmaíllo Rock Shelter such as big sized herbivore butchering, for a long time span.
... This is supported by the presence of roe deer, wildcat and badger in these levels, as these species are adapted to wooded environments. Likewise, although available data Overall, these patterns are consistent with those indicated by the study of faunal assemblages from level II (Solutrean) and level III (Proto-Solutrean) as defined in the 1972 excavation (Supplementary Text S1), where the preferred hunted animals were also horses, red deer and ibex 25,87 . Stable isotopes obtained from herbivore teeth from those levels pointed to warm climate and temperate environments around ∼24 ka cal BP 87 , which also fits current palaeoenvironmental evidence for levels 2a and 2b, but not for level 1 as especially shown by pollen remains. ...
... Likewise, although available data Overall, these patterns are consistent with those indicated by the study of faunal assemblages from level II (Solutrean) and level III (Proto-Solutrean) as defined in the 1972 excavation (Supplementary Text S1), where the preferred hunted animals were also horses, red deer and ibex 25,87 . Stable isotopes obtained from herbivore teeth from those levels pointed to warm climate and temperate environments around ∼24 ka cal BP 87 , which also fits current palaeoenvironmental evidence for levels 2a and 2b, but not for level 1 as especially shown by pollen remains. ...
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As the south-westernmost region of Europe, the Iberian Peninsula stands as a key area for understanding the process of modern human dispersal into Eurasia. However, the precise timing, ecological setting and cultural context of this process remains controversial concerning its spatiotemporal distribution within the different regions of the peninsula. While traditional models assumed that the whole Iberian hinterland was avoided by modern humans due to ecological factors until the retreat of the Last Glacial Maximum, recent research has demonstrated that hunter-gatherers entered the Iberian interior at least during Solutrean times. We provide a multi-proxy geoarchaeological, chronometric and paleoecological study on human–environment interactions based on the key site of Peña Capón (Guadalajara, Spain). Results show (1) that this site hosts the oldest modern human presence recorded to date in central Iberia, associated to pre-Solutrean cultural traditions around 26,000 years ago, and (2) that this presence occurred during Heinrich Stadial 2 within harsh environmental conditions. These findings demonstrate that this area of the Iberian hinterland was recurrently occupied regardless of climate and environmental variability, thus challenging the widely accepted hypothesis that ecological risk hampered the human settlement of the Iberian interior highlands since the first arrival of modern humans to Southwest Europe.
... An exception is the Peña Cap on site (Guadalajara) where a sequence from the Solutrean has been recovered (Alcaraz-Castaño, 2015;Alcaraz-Castaño et al., 2013). Isotopic studies of faunal remains from the Solutrean levels (~23.8 ± 0.3 cal kyr BP) suggest that occupations did not take place during harsh environmental conditions during MIS 2, but rather occurred during relatively warm events (Yravedra et al., 2016). During the Late Upper Palaeolithic, an increasing number of Magdalenian sites are documented in Central Iberia. ...
Article
The environmental conditions that existed during the period between 45 and 30 ka are of vital importance for addressing the transition between the Middle and Upper Paleolithic. It seems to be a hiatus of Paleolithic populations, a “no (hu)man’s land” in Central Iberia, coinciding with the mid part of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3, between 42 and 28 cal kyr BP. This break in the archaeological record makes it difficult to address this period paleoecologically. Here we present a new cave site, Portalón del Tejadilla (Segovia), dated to a period roughly between ∼34.2 and 40.4 cal kyr BP in which cold-adapted faunas, such as woolly rhinoceros and giant deer, have been recovered in a hyena den site context. This site is located in Central Iberia, and more specifically, on the southern edge of the northern Plateau, an unexpected region for the presence of these faunas during the MIS 3. These new findings extend the geographical distribution of several species, including Coelodonta antiquitatis and Megaloceros giganteus. Furthermore, they document a climatic deterioration (colder and dryer) during the mid MIS 3 in Central Iberia in one of the coldest and driest episodes of the Late Pleistocene. Portalón del Tejadilla fills this temporal gap and provides valuable paleoecological information about the transition between the Middle to Upper Paleolithic.
... In contrast to other Spanish regions, inland Iberia, mostly defined by the Central Meseta (plateau), is characterised by a reduced number of Palaeolithic sites, especially from the Upper Palaeolithic (Straus 2018), despite recent discoveries (Yravedra et al. 2016;Cascalheira et al. 2020). Many of these sites correspond to open-air finds. ...
Article
El Niño cave, located on the south-eastern border of the Spanish Meseta, hosts a discontinuous sequence including Middle Palaeolithic and Neolithic levels, along with Upper Palaeolithic and Levantine style paintings. It is a key site for understanding human occupations of inland Iberia during the Palaeolithic and early prehistory. This paper summarises the main results of a multidisciplinary project aimed at defining the prehistoric human occupations at the site.
... Through further studies into these two traces, taphonomists have been able to infer a number of different features, using simple metric variables such as the length and width of these marks to infer the size of the carnivore feeding (Delaney-Rivera et al. 2009;Andrés et al. 2012). While these simple metric variables have had some success in zooarchaeological analyses (Yravedra 2007(Yravedra , 2011Domínguez-Rodrigo et al. 2007;Blasco et al. 2011;Sala et al. 2014;Saladié et al. 2014Saladié et al. , 2019Yravedra et al. 2016;Pineda and Saladié 2019), these variables present a high degree of overlapp that are rarely sufficient in building stronger hypotheses. ...
Article
Carnivore feeding behaviour is a valuable line of research of increasing value in taphonomic analyses. An interesting component of these studies lies in the differentiation of carnivore activity based on tooth marks left on bone. Among the methodological approaches available, a major protagonist in recent years has been the incorporation of hybrid geometric morphometric studies with artificially intelligent algorithms, reaching over 95% accuracy in some cases. In spite of this recent success, a number of ethodological questions are still to be answered for wide-scale application of these techniques into other applied fields of science. One of these questions lies in the possible variability induced by prey size on tooth-mark morphologies. Here we compile data regarding these effects, using the Iberian wolf as a relevant case study in both contemporary and prehistoric European and North American ecology. The methodology employed opens new questions regarding carnivore tooth marks that should consider the effects of mastication biomechanics. While in most cases prey size is not a significant conditioning factor, caution is advised for future experimentation when considering small prey where some statistical noise may be present. Nevertheless, future experimentation into other carnivore case studies can be considered a valuable research goal.
... No indications of loess formation were found for the period of the global LGM (23-19 ka), thus, we expect less dry and less cold conditions in central Iberia during that time. This is in line with mild North Atlantic SSTs (Eynaud et al., 2009) and indications of recurrent human occupation due to temperate phases within and around the LGM in the northern part of the upper Tagus Basin (Alcaraz-Castaño, 2015;Yravedra et al., 2016;Alcaraz-Castaño et al., 2017). ...
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During glacial times, the North Atlantic region was affected by serious climate changes corresponding to Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles that were linked to dramatic shifts in sea temperature and moisture transfer to the continents. However, considerable efforts are still needed to understand the effects of these shifts on terrestrial environments. In this context, the Iberian Peninsula is particularly interesting because of its close proximity to the North Atlantic, although the Iberian interior lacks paleoenvironmental information so far because suitable archives are rare. Here we provide an accurate impression of the last glacial environmental developments in central Iberia based on comprehensive investigations using the upper Tagus loess record. A multi-proxy approach revealed that phases of loess formation during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 2 (and upper MIS 3) were linked to utmost aridity, coldness, and highest wind strengths in line with the most intense Greenland stadials also including Heinrich Events 3–1. Lack of loess deposition during the global last glacial maximum (LGM) suggests milder conditions, which agrees with less-cold sea surface temperatures (SST) off the Iberian margin. Our results demonstrate that geomorphological system behavior in central Iberia is highly sensitive to North Atlantic SST fluctuations, thus enabling us to reconstruct a detailed hydrological model in relation to marine–atmospheric circulation patterns.
... Crucially, this reinforces the complex scenario of settlement and human-environment interactions emphasised by the growing discovery of sites from interior and so-called inhospitable regions of Iberia (e.g. Fernández Gómez & Velasco Ortiz, 2013;Alcaraz-Castaño, 2015;Yravedra et al., 2016;Alcaraz-Castaño et al., 2017). ...
Article
The emergence and distribution of the Solutrean technocomplex in Western Europe is credited as a direct result of climatic changes associated with the Last Glacial Maximum. Across Iberia, spatial clusters of sites are considered to reflect the deliberate occupation of regional refugia which enabled human survival. In southern Iberia in particular, it is commonly thought that benign climatic conditions made it a regional refugium that was especially attractive for human settlement. However, this perspective has endured without a critical examination of its refugium status, thereby hindering a more comprehensive understanding of hunter-gatherer mobility and settlement in the region. Drawing on the relationship between lithic technology, land-use strategies and ecology, this paper tests the assumption that mobility and settlement strategies in southern Iberia conform to expectations of hunter-gatherer behaviour in an ecological refugium. This is achieved using statistical analyses of retouched stone tool assemblages which serve as a proxy for site function and related strategies of mobility. The results demonstrate a considerable use of logistical mobility strategies which likely sought to overcome problems arising from unevenly distributed resources. These findings undermine the refugium status of southern Iberia and question the validity of a ‘refugium’ concept for understanding the regional Solutrean record and beyond.
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Human populations in Western Europe during the Last Glacial Maximum were geographically constrained to glacial refugia by the severity of the climate and ecological risk factors. In this research we use an agent-based model of human mobility and interaction, based on ethnographic and archaeological data, to explore the impact of ecological risk on human population structure via a reconstructed landscape of habitat suitability. The agent-based model allows us to evaluate the size and location of glacial refugia, the size of the populations occupying them and the degree of genetic relatedness between people occupying these areas. To do this, we model the probability of an agent foraging groups’ survival as a function of habitat suitability. The model’s simulated “genomes” (composed of regionally specific genetic markers) allow us to track long-term trends of inter-regional interaction and mobility. The results agree with previous archaeological studies situating a large glacial refugium spanning southern France and northeastern Spain, but we expand on those studies by demonstrating that higher rates of population growth in this central refugium led to continuous out-migration and therefore genetic homogeneity across Western Europe, with the possible exception of the Italian peninsula. These results concur with material culture data from known archaeological sites dating to the Last Glacial Maximum and make predictions for future ancient DNA studies.
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Siega Verde was the third open-air rock art site to be discovered in the Iberian Peninsula, even before Côa and the controversy that followed that discovery. Its practicable size and the study carried out without any publicity allowed the analysis of a new reality that would change the interpretation of Palaeolithic art. From the start of the research, stylistic criteria were used to date the art in the absence of archaeological excavations. Although this has often been criticized, it meant that Siega Verde and Côa could be dated from Leroi-Gourhan’s Style II onwards. Excavations at Fariseu, a site belonging to Côa in Portugal, have proved that hypothesis archaeologically, as well as supporting the applicability of Leroi-Gourhan’s styles. Siega Verde is a good representative of Palaeolithic art in the open, on rocks by a river-bank or on prominent hills, but it is not the only form that can be catalogued as open-air rock art, because there are intermediate forms. Th ese are found in cave entrances and in rock-shelters all over the Iberian Peninsula, especially in areas where little evidence of Palaeolithic art used to be known, such as on the southern Mediterranean coast and in Andalusia. This site possesses an exterior Upper Palaeolithic art ensemble, similar to the art found inside caves and of the same age, but in a diff erent location. Formal relationships are usual inside and outside the caves and in both cases they represent a communicative code that did not need the dark and mystery to be expressed.
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Time and circumstances for the disappearance of Neanderthals and its relationship with the advent of Modern Humans are not yet sufficiently resolved, especially in case of the Iberian Peninsula. Reconstructing palaeoenvironmental conditions during the last glacial period is crucial to clarifying whether climate deteriorations or competition and contacts with Modern Humans played the pivotal role in driving Neanderthals to extinction. A high-resolution loess record from the Upper Tagus Basin in central Spain demonstrates that the Neanderthal abandonment of inner Iberian territories 42 kyr ago coincided with the evolvement of hostile environmental conditions, while archaeological evidence testifies that this desertion took place regardless of modern humans’ activities. According to stratigraphic findings and stable isotope analyses, this period corresponded to the driest environmental conditions of the last glacial apart from an even drier period linked to Heinrich Stadial 3. Our results show that during Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 4 and 2 climate deteriorations in interior Iberia temporally coincided with northern hemisphere cold periods (Heinrich stadials). Solely during the middle MIS 3, in a period surrounding 42 kyr ago, this relation seems not straightforward, which may demonstrate the complexity of terrestrial climate conditions during glacial periods.
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The occupation of the Iberian Peninsula during the Upper Palaeolithic is mainly known from archaeological sites located in the Cantabrian and Mediterranean regions. Numerous sites have been excavated in these two regions when few sites are found in the interior of the peninsula. Several authors explain this scarcity of sites, in the inner region during the Upper Palaeolithic, by a decrease of human population resulting from a low capacity of human groups to adapt to the cold conditions of the Marine Isotopic Stage 2 (MIS 2), i.e. the effect of cold climate on human populations might have been stronger in the interior of the peninsula than in coastal areas. Recent studies underline the evidence of prehistoric occupation during this period in that region. It has been suggested that these occupations are isolated events limited to the warmest phases of the end of the MIS 2. The present study focuses on zooarchaeological and taphonomic aspects of the Magdalenian site of La Peña de Estebanvela (Segovia, Spain). Our results show that this site was recurrently occupied during the Magdalenian period, including warm and cold phases, which provide a new evidence of sustainable presence of human populations in the interior of the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the Upper Palaeolithic. We further propose hypotheses on the subsistence strategies (e.g. availability of hunting resources) developed at La Peña de Estebanvela and in a larger context including other Magdalenian sites of the inner region of the Peninsula.
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In this study, we present the results of tooth mesowear and microwear analyses on fossil horses recovered in two Late Pleistocene archaeological layers at Divnogor'ye 9 (Middle Don, Central Russia). Tooth wear refers to two high-resolution proxies for reconstructing dietary habits in ungulates which give access to different periods in life history of the animals sampled. Mesowear is a proxy averaging diet over months, while microwear reflects the diet of the last days before death. The first objective of this study is to integrate and compare the results from mesowear and microwear to investigate the dietary habits of the studied fossil horses (Equus ferus), to reconstruct their habitat(s), and compare with stable isotope and indirect proxies. The second objective is to participate to disentangle the various hypotheses of site formation and the nature of accumulation of the horse remains. The horse populations around Divnogor'ye 9 likely lived in habitats where both grass and browse were available, but our analysis indicates that they were selectively and exclusively feeding on grass. Furthermore, we used tooth microwear pattern as a high-resolution proxy for estimating the duration of mortality events and their seasonality. The application of a well standardized approach to interpret the microwear data permitted us to classify the two assemblages as seasonal events. The results support the hypothesis that the two accumulations of the horse remains represent seasonal, repeated occupations of the site by Late Glacial hunters in the same season for hunting and mass killing of horses. This study highlights the advantage of using non-destructive sampling methods in a multidisciplinary approach when investigating ungulate diets and patterns of fossil accumulations in archaeological sites.
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Produits de la recherche de l'unité mixte de recherche Histoire naturelle de l'Homme Préhistorique.
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Evidence of human activity and hominin remains are very scarce inland on the Iberian Peninsula. This fact raises the issue of the scarcity of evidence that Paleolithic Homo sapiens occupied this area outside of the littoral margins (Atlantic, Cantabrian, and Mediterranean coasts). Here, we comparatively describe a human right adult navicular bone recovered in the Cueva de los Torrejones site, located in the village of Tamajón (Guadalajara, Spain). This fossil was preliminarily established as belonging to Homo cf. neanderthalensis, due to the late Pleistocene faunal association, mainly because of the presence of Crocuta crocuta and Panthera pardus. The metrical and morphological study of the navicular T93-S3.27 from Cueva de los Torrejones clearly differentiates it from Neandertals and their ancestors, the hominins from Sima de los Huesos, allowing for this fossil to be taxonomically assigned with confidence as H. sapiens. The navicular from the Cueva de los Torrejones is absolutely and relatively medio-laterally narrow with a low wedging index as those of fossil and modern H. sapiens, and clearly different of Neandertals. The increased discoveries and publications of new naviculars belonging to genus Homo, together with the findings of P. pardus and C. crocuta in more recent chronologies in the Iberian Peninsula, are compatible with this reevaluation.We propose a probable chronology for this fossil between 12 and 15 ka and ca. 25 ka, based on the biostratigraphy and the oldest presence of H. sapiens in the Iberian Peninsula. This work confirms the human presence within the Iberian Peninsula during the Upper Paleolithic and reopens the question of the peopling of the inner Peninsula during this period.
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The interaction between humans and carnivores regarding bone modification is a frequent taphonomic phenomenon generating palimpsest where the activity of both agents is present. However, recent research has mainly been concerned with the identification of their individual action. In the case of carnivores, hyenas and felids were the most studied species, while other animals were virtually postponed in the agenda. Considering the abundance of fossil evidence of foxes in the European Pleistocene, this paper presents new data for the taphonomic characterization of fox behaviour. Thus, our interest is to improve the referential framework available for this carnivore’s action aiming at its identification in the Pleistocene fossil record. Hence, we describe the analysis of two modern assemblages modified by foxes: the first one corresponds to a natural-death assemblage near Ayllón (Segovia, Spain) and the second to a den site in Ourtiaga (Pyrenées, France). In order to characterise fox action, we analyse its behaviour by means of the analysis of tooth marks and fracture patterns. Regarding the former, mark frequency, types, dimensions and distribution are considered. Finally, with the intention of discriminating fox behaviour from human action, we simulated tooth mark frequencies and distribution on a carcass which was previously fractured by humans.
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Las investigaciones realizadas en los últimos años han permitido la catalogación de veintiocho yacimientos del Paleolítico superior/ Epipaleolítico, y estaciones con Arte rupestre. El análisis de los datos polínicos de yacimientos y turberas, así como de la fauna, permiten reconstruir las características medioambientales durante el Tardiglaciar y la transición al Postglaciar, y precisar las fases de ocupación de la Meseta. La calibración de las dataciones 14C de los yacimientos de la Meseta Norte y de otros cercanos en el valle medio del Ebro y Navarra, permiten relacionar las ocupaciones con el nuevo marco crono-climático establecido a partir de los sondeos en el hielo de Groenlandia. Según estos datos, la horquilla temporal establecida es más reducida de lo que se supone habitualmente, discutiéndose la cronología tradicionalmente propuesta para los yacimientos y el Arte parietal de la Meseta Norte española.
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Revisión de las novedades del Paleolítico Superior en la Cuenca del Ebro con la incorporación de más de 40 yacimientos desde el Auriñaciense al Magdaleniense Final.
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Preface and acknowledgements 1. Human evolution in the Pleistocene 2. Biogeographical patterns 3. Human range expansions, contractions and extinctions 4. The modern human-Neanderthal problem 5. Comparative behaviour and ecology of Neanderthals and modern humans 6. The conditions in Africa and Eurasia during the last Glacial Cycle 7. The modern human colonization and the Neanderthal extinction 8. The survival of the weakest References Index.
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