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Seasonality of human occupations in El Mirón Cave: late upper paleolithic hunter-gatherer settlement-subsistence systems in Cantabrian Spain

Abstract: We revisit the models of Upper Paleolithic forager settlement-subsistence systems for the coastal greater Cantabrian region of Spain proposed by K.W. Butzer and L.G. Straus in the 1980s, with a significant new seasonality dataset from El Miron Cave in Cantabria (northern Atlantic Iberia). This large, strategically located site contains a nearly complete, archeologically rich, and well-studied stratigraphic sequence from the late Middle Paleolithic to the Bronze Age. Based on the seasonality data obtained from the most hunted taxa, red deer (Cervus elaphus) and Ibex (Capra ibex/pyrenaica), the diachronic human occupation of the site is discussed. Visits to the cave during the Mousterian and early Upper Paleolithic were fleeting, with an uptick in use of the site during the Solutrean, possibly as a short-term hunting camp during the cool-cold seasons. Throughout the Initial and Lower Magdalenian, this physically and locationally advantageous site in the montane interior was often occupied as a long-term, multifunctional, residential base camp but, at other times, during the cold months of the year, as a minor, short-term, specialized hunting bivouac. A clear shift in the cave's use to mainly the warm months in the Middle and Upper Magdalenian and Azilian is observed. The results indicate that major residential base camps were not only located in or strictly adjacent to the coastal zone as was argued a quarter-century ago. These findings confirm that the montane interior of Cantabrian Spain-only 25-50 km from the Last Glacial shore-was an integral part of band territories for both logistical and residential purposes.

 Fuente: Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology, 2023, 6, art.7

 Editorial: Springer

 Año de publicación: 2023

 Nº de páginas: 28

 Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1007/s41982-022-00134-8

 ISSN: 2520-8217

 Proyecto español: HAR2017-84997-P

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