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The Upper Paleolithic sequence in el Mirón Cave (Ramales de la Victoria, Cantabria, Spain): An overview

Abstract: El Mirón Cave, located on the northern edge of the Cantabrian Cordillera and 20 km from the present Atlantic shoref, contains a sequence of Upper Paleolithic (Gravettian, Solutrean, Magdalenian and Azilian) levels (ranging in radiocarbon age from 28,000?10,500 BP) atop a minor Middle Paleolithic layer (> 46,000 BP) and beneath a long, rich series of Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Age deposits (5700?3200 BP). The Upper Paleolithic levels, spanning early MIS3, LGM, Oldest Dryas, and Late Glacial environmental conditions, display alternation between short-term, ephemeral, limited-function human occupations (Gravettian, Solutrean, Upper Magdalenian and Azilian) and repeated, long-term, multi-functional ones (Initial, Lower and Middle Magdalenian). The rich ungulate faunas are co-dominated by ibex and red deer, which is logical since the cave is on a high, steep, rocky cliff-side (ibex habitat), but dominates a broad, low-lying inter-montane valley (red deer habitat). Salmon fishing was also important at times. The lithic artifact assemblages, with abundant evidence of in situ knapping, include mixes of debris and tools made on local non-flint materials and others (including abundant projectile points and backed bladelets) made on high-quality, non-local flints from coastal flysch outcrops and other exotic sources. Domestic tools (scrapers, denticulates, etc.) can be made of either type of lithic material. Osseous artifacts, especially in the early-mid Magdalenian levels, include large numbers of antler points, bone needles and awls, as well as a few distinctive works of portable art. The cave also includes rupestral art of probable Magdalenian age. The Lower Magdalenian levels are particularly rich in hearths and other human-made structures (a wall, pits, pavements) and the first human burial from this period ever to be found on the Iberian Peninsula. The individual was a healthy, robust female of 35?40 years old, buried in ritual fashion with a special ochre from an outcrop located on the modern shore and ?marked? by engravings and the same ochre on a large block that had fallen from the cave ceiling soon before the grave was made in a narrow space between it and the rear vestibule wall. Numerous technical studies (e.g., paleoenvironments, DNA, stable isotopes) are summarized in this article.

Otras publicaciones de la misma revista o congreso con autores/as de la Universidad de Cantabria

 Autoría: Straus L.G., González Morales M.R.,

 Fuente: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 27 (2019), 101998

Editorial: Elsevier

 Año de publicación: 2019

Nº de páginas: 20

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.101998

ISSN: 2352-409X,2352-4103

Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.101998