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Title: Quartz mousterian technology in Navalmaíllo Rockshelter (Pinilla del Valle, Madrid, Spain). Preliminary results of the technological and use-wear analysis of quartz implements
Authors: Márquez, Belén
Mosquera Martínez, Marina
Baquedano, Enrique
Pérez-González, Alfredo
Arsuaga, Juan Luis
Panera Gallego, Joaquín
Espinosa-Soto, Juan Antonio
Gómez Hernanz, Juan
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: International Union for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences (IUPPS)
Citation: XVII World UISPP Congress, 2014, p. 687
Abstract: Navalmaíllo rockshelter, a Mousterian site at Pinilla del Valle in the Madrid region of central Spain, was discovered in 2002. Over time the shelter was completely buried by sediments. Our work describes a preliminary study of the site’s lithic industry. The most characteristic feature of the lithic sample at Navalmaíllo is that the artifacts are mostly made of quartz. Chert and other good raw materials, such as quartzites—found in river terraces—are relatively abundant in the central Iberian Peninsula, where Navalmaíllo rockshelter is located. Quartz cobbles are also common locally, but this material was usually avoided during the Middle Paleolithic period. The few exceptions are always in rockshelters or caves. Although archaeological assemblages dominated by quartz are not common in the central Iberian Peninsula, they are more common in peripheral areas such as Catalonia and Galicia. As documented in other European sites, the abundance of quartz led to its becoming the main raw material used in tool-making in the area, even though it seems to be more difficult to knap than other, more homogeneous types of rock that fracture conchoidally. The cores found at the Navalmaíllo site appear to have been intentionally worked to a very small size, a finding also reported for other European assemblages of similar age. The other raw materials found at the site include chert, quartzite, porphyry, rock crystal, and sandstone, all of which appear to have been worked in the same manner as the quartz. The scarcity or quality of raw materials is not the reason for this behavior. The lack of any clear traces of soft-hammer percussion is notable. On the contrary, a large number of percussion marks that correspond to bipolar knapping on an anvil were identified on tools and cores of all materials. These are particularly visible on the quartz artifacts. Working small cores via the bipolar knapping technique is the best method for making small tools since the core is easily held in place when striking it. A cultural explanation for this “microlithism” can be proposed in the sense that the Neanderthal groups that occupied the Navalmaíllo rockshelter may have followed a “microlithic-like” tradition of tool-making. To conclude, we have undertaken the use-wear analysis of some quartz implements to resolve, among others, questions related to the use of the small tools, as well as determining the possible intentionality of Siret fractures.
Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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