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Title: Early Neolithic human remains from Galería del Sílex in Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain
Authors: Molina Almansa, Antonio
Conde-Valverde, Mercedes
Ortega Martínez, Ana Isabel
García-González, Rebeca
Rodríguez, Laura
Alday Ruiz, Alfonso
Iriarte, Eneko
Domingo, Salvador
Arsuaga, Juan Luis
Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Carbonell, Eudald
Carretero Díaz, José Miguel
Martínez, Ignacio
Keywords: Early Neolithic;Spain;Atapuerca;Bioarchaeology;Mortuary behavior;Radiocarbon ages
Issue Date: Sep-2023
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Quaternary Science Reviews, 2023, 315, 108256
Abstract: We present new datings and a new anthropological study of Early Neolithic human remains found in Galería del Sílex in 1979. This gallery is part of the Cueva Mayor system in the Sierra de Atapuerca. The human fossils attributed to the Neolithic period correspond to a minimum number of three individuals that have been radiocarbon dated to the last third of the 6th millennium cal BCE. Thus, the fossils from Galería del Sílex are among the oldest Neolithic human remains in the interior of the Iberian Peninsula. The human remains from Galería del Sílex were not found within a domestic context of human occupation of the cave, but rather within two pits (simas) located more than three hundred meters from the ancient entrance. This suggests that Galería del Sílex could have been an area reserved for depositing deceased humans during the Early Neolithic. Given the scarcity of this kind of funerary cave in the Spanish northern plateau during the Early Neolithic, the data from the Galería del Sílex add to our knowledge of human mortuary behavior during this period. In addition to the Galería del Sílex, there are two other well-known Neolithic sites in Sierra de Atapuerca: El Portalón in Cueva Mayor, which was a human occupation site, and Cueva del Mirador, which was used for livestock stabling and exploitation. Considered altogether, the emerging evidence provided by these three sites makes Sierra de Atapuerca increasingly relevant as a source of information about Early Neolithic people from the interior of the Iberian Peninsula.
ISSN: 0277-3791
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2023.108256
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología

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