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Title: Site formation dynamics and human occupations at Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain): an archaeostratigraphic analysis of levels I to XII (100–200 ka)
Authors: Sañudo, Pablo
Blasco, Ruth
Fernández Peris, Josep
Keywords: Spatial analysis;Archaeostratigraphy;Human occupations;Middle Pleistocene;Bolomor Cave;Palimpsest dissection
Issue Date: Sep-2016
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Quaternary International, 2016, 417, 94-104
Abstract: The definition of temporal scales related to human occupations is one of the most important elements for the reconstruction of occupational patterns in Palaeolithic sites. The complex sedimentary formation processes, usually present in rock-shelters and cave deposits, result in the overlapping of archaeological remains from different occupations and events in the same stratigraphic unit, formed by the sum of cultural and natural episodes. This common characteristic, which is widely discussed in the specialised literature as a palimpsest phenomenon, may lead to equivocal associations and interpretations of the archaeological assemblages. Therefore, the analysis of these assemblages should include the definition of synchronous relations between activity episodes identified in the search for high temporal resolution units, which allow the establishment of the most accurate interpretations of the archaeological assemblages. From this perspective, we discuss the interpretative potential of archaeostratigraphic analysis for the study of homogeneous sedimentary units, frequently present in Palaeolithic sites, in which the palimpsest phenomenon is frequently present in the formational processes of the sedimentary deposit. The Bolomor Cave archaeological site (Valencia, Spain), with a sedimentary deposit composed of seventeen stratigraphical levels ranging from MIS 9 to MIS 5e (ca. 350–100 ka), shows evidence of human activity in almost all levels. In many cases, the archaeological remains (mainly bones, lithics and hearths) appear overlapped in wide deposits, thus proving the repeated use of the cave by different human groups. Here, we present the archaeostratigraphic analysis of the upper sedimentary sequence of Bolomor Cave, ranging from Level I to Level XII (MIS 5e-6), in which several occupational phases have been identified from the tridimensional placement reconstruction of the entire archaeological record and the definition of existing periods of abandonment along the stratigraphic sequence. The analyses are complemented with information that helps us to define these periods, such as the site formation processes and carnivore tooth-marked bones. The aim of this study is to contribute to the palimpsest dissection debate, based on the definition of high temporal resolution units for the analysis of archaeological assemblages.
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2015.09.044
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Arqueología

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