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Title: Neanderthals and modern humans around 40 kyr Cal BP at Cova Gran (southeasterns Prepyrenees, Iberia)
Authors: Martínez Moreno, Jorge
Benito-Calvo, Alfonso
Mora Torcal, Rafael
Torre, Ignacio de la
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: International Union for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences (IUPPS)
Citation: XVII World UISPP Congress, 2014, p. 526-527
Abstract: Appearance of the Upper Paleolithic across Western Eurasia is the subject of intense debate. Iberian Peninsula plays a fundamental role in these discussions, since it is considered one of the last refuges of Neanderthals during the spread of anatomically modern humans across Europe. Cova Gran de Santa Linya contains Late Middle Paleolithic (LMP) and Early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) sequence which provides contextual, techno-typological and radiometric elements that contribute to the debate on the MP/UP transition. We analyze the geometry, stratigraphy and resolution of the archaeological levels from Cova Gran. These contextual indicators lead us to discuss the role of syn/post depositional processes and their impact on the homogeneity of the archaeological levels. Technology of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic levels is compared, with special emphasis on the lithic assemblage of the most recent LMP unit (S1B) and the first EUP level (497D). Finally, series of 14C AMS dates of the LMP and EUP archaeological units is presented and discussed within the Iberian regional context. Cova Gran contributes to the debate on the MP/UP transition. Given the paucity of well contextualized transitional levels in Iberia, Cova Gran record fills a gap in the regional sequence. This sedimentary geometry of S1B/497D levels is particularly relevant to the discussion of the MP/UP transition. Limited thickness of the levels suggests that the archaeological assemblages are homogeneous entities and reveals no evidence of mixing between layers, either by percolation of materials, cryoturbation, or deficient recording of artifacts. Between Middle and Upper Paleolithic a systemic technological rupture can be described with no elements of cultural continuity. Technical attributes ascribe levels S1B to the Middle Paleolithic, since they present similar features in other MP levels of Cova Gran to other nearby Mousterian sites. Otherwise, level 497D lithics main characteristic is to obtain elongated products, from large blades to bladelets and flakes. Retouched artifacts, pieces with denticulate edges and side scrapers on flake predominate. However, retouched blades, end scrapers, burins, and truncations produced on blades, plus backed points and backed bladelets are represented. Finally, Cova Gran LMP-EUP radiocarbon series show ambiguities usually affecting chronometric data from radiocarbon older than 30 kyr BP. Although these incertitude, we sustain 14C data from S1B/497D are relevant in the discussion MP/UP Transition debate. Cova Gran indicates clear disjunction between Middle and Upper Paleolithic. The archaeological record clearly defines two traditions that represent different technical behaviors. Cova Gran opens up interesting perspectives to analyze the emergence of the Upper Paleolithic in the Iberian Peninsula and to discuss the possible coexistence of Neanderthals and modern humans.
Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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