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Title: The anthropogenic use of firewood during the European Middle Pleistocene: charcoal evidence from levels XIII and XI of Bolomor Cave, Eastern Iberia (230–160 ka)
Authors: Vidal Matutano, Paloma
Blasco, Ruth
Sañudo, Pablo
Fernández Peris, Josep
Keywords: Bolomor Cave;Middle Pleistocene;Charcoal analysis;Combustion structure;Pinus nigra-sylvestris;Taphonomy
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Environmental Archaeology, 2019, 24 (3), 269-284
Abstract: 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 evidence of human control of fire. Wood charcoal fragments from these contexts represent the fuel remains that result from humans’ collection of firewood, which means they can reveal significant behavioural and palaeoenvironmental information relevant to our understanding of Middle Palaeolithic societies. In this work, we present anthracological data derived from combustion structure 2 (level XIII, ca. 230 ka, MIS 7) and combustion structure 4 (level XI, ca. 160 ka, MIS 6) from Bolomor Cave, which are chronologically among the earliest combustion structures found in Europe. The present work discusses how the presence of black pine and / or scots pine in both levels sheds light on the characterisation of the local landscape. Additional analyses focussing on the pre- and post-depositional processes affecting charcoal preservation point to biodegradation patterns. The aim of this work is to provide the first discussion concerning the anthracological data derived from Bolomor Cave in order to contribute to the general debate regarding the use of fire during the European Middle Pleistocene.
ISSN: 1461-4103
DOI: 10.1080/14614103.2017.1406026
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Arqueología

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