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Title: Accessing technological adaptation to lithic raw materials in Pinilla del Valle by testing flake resistance variability
Authors: Abrunhosa, Ana
Márquez, Belén
Pereira, Telmo
Arsuaga, Juan Luis
Pérez-González, Alfredo
Baquedano, Enrique
Keywords: Pinilla del Valle;Middle Palaeolithic;Experimental archaeology;Lithic technology;Raw materials
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: International Union for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences (IUPPS)
Citation: XVIII World UISPP Congress, 2018
Abstract: Pinilla del Valle is a complex of archaeological sites dated from the Upper Pleistocene. It is located in Calvero de la Higuera hill, a karstic system of Upper Cretaceous dolomites in the high valley of the Lozoya river (Guadarrama Mountain Range in Madrid – Spain). These sites present a set of features that distinguish them from other areas occupied by Neanderthals in the Iberian Peninsula: i) have a central geographic position where most known sites are located near or along the coastline; ii) have a high variety of lithic raw materials and; iii) an intense use of quartz (c. 80%) with a tendency for microlithic versatile tools intensely used as shown by use-wear analysis. Reasons for choosing a knappable material over other can be diverse. In the case of Pinilla del Valle, quartz is the most common and therefore cheapest raw material in the region. Traditionally quartz has been considered a material of lower quality. We wanted to understand if there was any disadvantage in the performance of this lithic raw material and if an adaptation to any kind of constrains may be present. We measured the resistance and duration of flakes of different raw materials by an experimental analysis using a mechanical prototype custom-made machine designed for use-wear experimental analysis. It has an arm that performs vertical and horizontal movements where a flake can be placed. We used the three most abundant raw materials of the Pinilla del Valle assemblage– quartz, quartzite and flint – to see if they display relevant differences in their performance when conducting activities in contact with fresh wood, burnt wood, bone with meat, fresh bone, charred bone, animal skin and hide. This way we can demonstrate quantitatively what degree of variability can be distinguished in using a determined raw material to perform a given activity. The systematic study of lithic sources and exploitation in the center of the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Paleolithic is still scarce. Until recently it was accepted that during this period human groups preferred to occupy coastal areas due to the harsh conditions that supposedly were present at the center of the Iberian Peninsula. Recent research after the discovery of new sites with human occupations such as Abrigo del Molino or Peña Cabra are changing this paradigm on Neanderthal territory occupation, landscape exploration, resource exploitation and cognitive abilities.
Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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