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New insights for understanding spatial patterning and formation processes of the Neanderthal occupation in the Amalda I cave (Gipuzkoa, Spain)

Abstract: The Level VII of Amalda I cave (Gipuzkoa, Spain) represents one of the latest Middle Palaeolithic occupations in the Cantabrian Region. It is characterized by the presence of Middle Palaeolithic lithic industry and animal remains, with clear evidences of anthropic and carnivore manipulation. At this site, the Neanderthal presence has been questioned in relation to the role of carnivores in the accumulation of large, medium-sized and small mammals. It has also been proposed that the Neanderthal occupation could have consisted of short-term occupations, where different activities took place in a structured space within the cave. However, all hypotheses lacked any integrative analysis of the site formation processes. With the aim of understanding these processes, a combination of spatial techniques, based on GIS and inferential statistics (density analysis, hotspots tools and palaeotopographic reconstruction), along with the taphonomic study of identifiable and non-identifiable macromammals remains, were employed. This study has revealed distinct use of the cave space by Neanderthals and carnivores. The major concentrations of lithics and medium-size mammal remains were clearly accumulated by humans at the cave entrance, while the small-size mammals were gathered by carnivores in an inner zone. The activities of the Neanderthals seem to be distinctly structured, suggesting a parallel exploitation of resources.

 Authorship: Sánchez-Romero L., Benito-Calvo A., Marín-Arroyo A.B., Agudo-Pérez L., Karampaglidis T., Rios-Garaizar J.,

 Fuente: Scientific Reports, (2020), 10(1), 8733. (Author Correction: Scientific Reports 10(1), 12456)

 Year of publication: 2020

 No. of pages: 15

 Publication type: Article

 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-65364-8

 ISSN: 2045-2322

 Spanish project: HAR2017-84997-P

 European project: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/H2020/818299/EU/Subsistence and human resilience to sudden climatic events in Europe during MIS3/SUBSILIENCE/

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