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Title: One million years of cultural evolution in a stable environment at Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain)
Authors: Rodríguez, Jesús
Burjachs i Casas, Francesc
Cuenca Bescós, Gloria
García García, Nuria
Made, Jan van der
Pérez-González, Alfredo
Blain, Hugues-Alexandre
Expósito Barea, Isabel
López-García, Juan Manuel
García Antón, Mercedes
Allué, Ethel
Cáceres, Isabel
Huguet Pàmies, Rosa
Mosquera Martínez, Marina
Ollé Cañellas, Andreu
Rosell, Jordi
Parés, Josep María
Rodríguez, Xosé Pedro
Díez Fernández-Lomana, Juan Carlos
Rofes, Juan
Sala, Robert
Saladié Ballesté, Palmira
Vallverdú Poch, Josep
Bennàsar, Maria
Blasco, Ruth
Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Carbonell, Eudald
Issue Date: Jun-2011
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Quaternary Science Reviews, 2011, 30 (11-12), 1396-1412
Abstract: The present paper analyses the evidence provided by three sites (Sima del Elefante, Gran Dolina, and Galería) located in the Trinchera del Ferrocarril of the Sierra de Atapuerca. These three sites are cave infillings that contain sediments deposited from approximately 1.2 Ma to 200 kyr. Pollen, herpetofauna, and small and large mammal remains are used as proxies to obtain a general picture of the environmental changes that occurred at the Sierra de Atapuerca throughout the one million-year period represented at these sites. Similarly, cultural changes are tracked analyzing the evidence of human behavior obtained from the study of several bone and lithic assemblages from these three sites. At least three periods with different cultural features, involving technology, subsistence and behavior, are determined from the available evidence. The first two periods correspond to the Mode 1 technology and Homo antecessor: the first is dated around 1.2 to 1.0 Ma and reflects opportunistic behavior both in technology and subsistence. The second period is around 800 kyr BP. Mode 1 technology is still maintained, but subsistence strategies include systematic hunting and the use of base camps. The third period is dated between 500 ka and 200 ka and corresponds to the Mode 2 technology and the acquisition of directional hunting and other organizational strategies by Homo heidelbergensis. A transition from Mode 2 to Mode 3 seems to appear at the end of this time-range, and may reflect the early phases of a fourth cultural change. With regard to the environment, our main conclusion is that there was an absence of extremely harsh conditions at Atapuerca throughout this time period. The presence of Mediterranean taxa was constant and the dominant landscape was a savannah-like open environment, probably with small forest patches. An alternation of Mediterranean and mesic species as the dominant component of the tree storey was induced by the climatic cycles, and steppes spread across the landscape during the drier periods. In any case, it is not possible to establish clear cut-off points separating entirely different environmental episodes. Our results show no evidence of any relationship between environmental change and cultural change at the Sierra de Atapuerca.
ISSN: 0277-3791
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.021
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología
Geocronología y Geología

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