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Gonzalez-Sainz C.,Instituto Internacional Of Investigaciones Prehistoricas Of Cantabria Iiipc | Ruiz-Redondo A.,Instituto Internacional Of Investigaciones Prehistoricas Of Cantabria Iiipc | Garate-Maidagan D.,University of Toulouse II - Le Mirail | Iriarte-Aviles E.,University of Burgos
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2013

The discovery and first dates of the paintings in Grotte Chauvet provoked a new debate on the origin and characteristics of the first figurative Palaeolithic art. Since then, other art ensembles in France and Italy (Aldène, Fumane, Arcy-sur-Cure and Castanet) have enlarged our knowledge of graphic activity in the early Upper Palaeolithic. This paper presents a chronological assessment of the Palaeolithic parietal ensemble in Altxerri B (northern Spain). When the study began in 2011, one of our main objectives was to determine the age of this pictorial phase in the cave. Archaeological, geological and stylistic evidence, together with radiometric dates, suggest an Aurignacian chronology for this art. The ensemble in Altxerri B can therefore be added to the small but growing number of sites dated in this period, corroborating the hypothesis of more complex and varied figurative art than had been supposed in the early Upper Palaeolithic. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Balbo A.L.,Istitucio Mila i Fontanals | Iriarte E.,University of Burgos | Arranz A.,University of the Basque Country | Zapata L.,University of the Basque Country | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

We present the results of the microstratigraphic, phytolith and wood charcoal study of the remains of a 10.5 ka roof. The roof is part of a building excavated at Tell Qarassa (South Syria), assigned to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period (PPNB). The Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) period in the Levant coincides with the emergence of farming. This fundamental change in subsistence strategy implied the shift from mobile to settled aggregated life, and from tents and huts to hard buildings. As settled life spread across the Levant, a generalised transition from round to square buildings occurred, that is a trademark of the PPNB period. The study of these buildings is fundamental for the understanding of the ever-stronger reciprocal socio-ecological relationship humans developed with the local environment since the introduction of sedentism and domestication. Descriptions of buildings in PPN archaeological contexts are usually restricted to the macroscopic observation of wooden elements (posts and beams) and mineral components (daub, plaster and stone elements). Reconstructions of microscopic and organic components are frequently based on ethnographic analogy. The direct study of macroscopic and microscopic, organic and mineral, building components performed at Tell Qarassa provides new insights on building conception, maintenance, use and destruction. These elements reflect new emerging paradigms in the relationship between Neolithic societies and the environment. A square building was possibly covered here with a radial roof, providing a glance into a topologic shift in the conception and understanding of volumes, from round-based to square-based geometries. Macroscopic and microscopic roof components indicate buildings were conceived for year-round residence rather than seasonal mobility. This implied performing maintenance and restoration of partially damaged buildings, as well as their adaptation to seasonal variability. © 2012 Balbo et al. Source

Garate D.,Arkeologi Museoa | Rivero O.,University of Toulouse II - Le Mirail | Ruiz-Redondo A.,Instituto Internacional Of Investigaciones Prehistoricas Of Cantabria Iiipc | Rios-Garaizar J.,National Research Center sobre la Evolucion Humana
Quaternary International | Year: 2015

In a recent paper by Ochoa and García-Díez (2013) the available evidences for a chronology of western Pyrenean Paleolithic cave art are critically analyzed and discussed, and an alternative chronological organization is proposed on the basis of stylistic comparison. In this paper we discuss the critics made to the immediate context dating proposals in Altxerri B, Askondo and Etxeberri by giving the detailed information that has been recently published (Garate and Rios-Garaizar, 2012; Garate et al., 2012; González-Sainz et al., 2013). We also discuss the validity of the stylistic comparisons proposed by Ochoa and García-Díez (2013) for the Gravettian and the Magdalenian art. Finally we discuss the problems for establishing a reliable chronological framework for Paleolithic rock art in this area. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. Source

Garate D.,Arkeologi Museoa | Rivero O.,University of Toulouse II - Le Mirail | Ruiz-Redondo A.,Instituto Internacional Of Investigaciones Prehistoricas Of Cantabria Iiipc | Rios-Garaizar J.,National Research Center sobre la Evolucion Humana
Quaternary International | Year: 2015

The main corridor that has acted as an entrance to the Iberian Peninsula through the Western Pyrenees was as an important communication route in Western Europe during the Paleolithic. This is an area where, despite having documented intense human occupation during different periods of the Upper Paleolithic, the symbolic activity seems incomprehensibly limited compared to other regions, such as the Cantabrian, the Northern Pyrenees, or Dordogne. The reactivation of research during this last decade, when referring to cave art, leads to a very different model than the one that had been previously posed for this region, mainly due to a series of new discoveries, some of which are worth mentioning, such as Askondo and Lumentxa, or others of lower interest such as Astigarraga, Praile Aitz, and Aitzbitarte IV. The re-examination and revision of previously known representations has also contributed to the development of this new model, especially thanks to the research carried out in sites such as Santimamiñe, Altxerri, Isturitz, Oxocelhaya, Sasiziloaga, Sinhikole, or Sainte Colome, as has the revision of the great amount of portable art, mainly from Isturitz, as well as the discovery of new objects from Antoliña, Ekain, Praile Aitz, Aitzbitarte III, Santa Catalina, Arlanpe, and Bourrouilla. Due to these advances, the image that we have of the artistic activity around the epicentre that was the Gulf of Biscay has substantially varied in a way that allows us to carry out a more detailed approximation to a series of relevant questions such as the chronology of the artistic representations, the variability of their contexts, the technical and formal relations among different neighbouring regions, and their relation to the non-symbolic archaeological record. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. Source

Rios-Garaizar J.,National Research Center sobre la Evolucion Humana | Garate Maidagan D.,Arkeologi Museoa Museo Arqueologico de Bizkaia | Gomez-Olivencia A.,French Natural History Museum | Gomez-Olivencia A.,Complutense University of Madrid | And 19 more authors.
Comptes Rendus - Palevol | Year: 2015

The end of the Middle Pleistocene is an interesting period for investigating the transformation of Neandertal behavior from the early Middle Paleolithic to the late Middle Paleolithic. Few sites in the Iberian Peninsula have sequences corresponding to the last interglacial (MIS5) and even fewer in the Cantabrian Region. One of the best places to investigate this subject is the sequence recently excavated in Arlanpe cave. Several proxies (sedimentology, pollen, small vertebrates, malacofauna, U/Th dating) locate the first phases of this sequence between MIS7 and MIS5, with the important occurrence of temperate environmental evidence. The archaeological record describes populations with high mobility that used the cave as an occasional shelter in the first phases, or as an activity area in the later ones. The characteristics of lithic productions show a combination of Lower (Acheulean bifacial shaping) and Middle Paleolithic (Levallois Technology) traits that justifies an early Middle Paleolithic attribution. © 2015 Académie des sciences. Source

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