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Mosquera M.,Area Of Prehistoriauniversitat Rovira rgiliavda Catalonia | Saladie P.,Area Of Prehistoriauniversitat Rovira rgiliavda Catalonia | Olle A.,Area Of Prehistoriauniversitat Rovira rgiliavda Catalonia | Caceres I.,Area Of Prehistoriauniversitat Rovira rgiliavda Catalonia | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Quaternary Science | Year: 2015

Evidence of late Early Pleistocene elephant butchery activity has been excavated in the Pit 1 locality at Barranc de la Boella (Catalonia, Spain). The fossil assemblage mainly comprises the remains of one prime adult individual of Mammuthus meridionalis, together with 125 lithic artefacts, among which several refitting groups of chert have been identified. The lithic assemblage from the Pit 1 locality is composed of cobbles, cores, simple and retouched flakes, together with a large, well-fashioned pick of hard-wearing schist. Spatial, zooarchaeological, taphonomic, technical and use-wear analyses confirm that the occupation was devoted to butchery of the mammoth carcass. The activity zone is in a fluvio-deltaic area that incises the terrace T+60 of the lower Francolí river basin, 50m a.s.l. Palaeomagnetic and cosmogenic analyses, as well as microfaunal (Mimomys savini, Victoriamys chalinei) and macrofaunal biostratigraphy (Mammuthus meridionalis), support the timing of the occupation to the late Matuyama chron. These various lines of evidence point to Barranc de la Boella being the oldest Early Acheulean butchering site in Europe. Ongoing excavations at several localities at Barranc de la Boella are yielding new data on the palaeoenvironmental, geochronological and technological framework of these occupations. Finally, the evidence is integrated into current understanding of the subsistence strategies practised by Early Pleistocene hominins. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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