Tarragona, Spain
Tarragona, Spain
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Gil-Romera G.,University of Oxford | Gil-Romera G.,Aberystwyth University | Carrion J.S.,University of Murcia | Sevilla-Callejo M.,Aberystwyth University | And 4 more authors.
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2010

Since fire has been recognized as an essential disturbance in Mediterranean landscapes, the study of long-term fire ecology has developed rapidly. We have reconstructed a sequence of vegetation dynamics and fire changes across south-eastern Iberia by coupling records of climate, fire, vegetation and human activities. We calculated fire activity anomalies (FAAs) in relation to 3 ka cal BP for 10-8 ka cal BP, 6 ka cal BP, 4 ka cal BP and the present. For most of the Early to the Mid-Holocene uneven, but low fire events were the main vegetation driver at high altitudes where broadleaved and coniferous trees presented a highly dynamic post-fire response. At mid-altitudes in the mainland Segura Mountains, fire activity remained relatively stable, at similar levels to recent times. We hypothesize that coastal areas, both mountains and lowlands, were more fire-prone landscapes as biomass was more likely to have accumulated than in the inland regions, triggering regular fire events. The wet and warm phase towards the Mid-Holocene (between ca 8 and 6 ka cal BP) affected the whole region and promoted the spread of mesophytic forest co-existing with Pinus, as FAAs appear strongly negative at 6 ka cal BP, with a less important role of fire. Mid and Late Holocene landscapes were shaped by an increasing aridity trend and the rise of human occupation, especially in the coastal mountains where forest disappeared from ca 2 ka cal BP. Mediterranean-type vegetation (evergreen oaks and Pinus pinaster-halepensis types) showed the fastest post-fire vegetation dynamics over time. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Jimenez-Moreno G.,University of Granada | Burjachs F.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies | Burjachs F.,Rovira i Virgili University | Exposito I.,IPHES | And 11 more authors.
Global and Planetary Change | Year: 2013

The Late Pliocene is a very interesting period as climate deteriorated from a warm optimum at ca. 3.3-3.0. Ma to a progressive climate cooling. Simultaneously, the Mediterranean area witnessed the establishment of the Mediterranean-type seasonal precipitation rhythm (summer drought). These important climate changes produced significant vegetation changes, such as the extinction of several thermophilous and hygrophilous plant taxa from the European latitudes. Besides these long-term trends, climate was also characterized by cyclical variability (i.e., orbital changes) that forced vegetation changes (forested vs. open vegetation). In the Mediterranean area, cyclical changes in the vegetation were mostly forced by precession. In this study we analyzed pollen from a Late Pliocene maar lake core from NE Spain. An increase in aridity is observed as well as cyclic variations throughout the studied sequence. Cyclicity was mostly forced by precession but also by obliquity and eccentricity. Precipitation seems to be the main factor controlling these cycles. These data allowed estimating a sedimentary rate of ca. 0.19. mm/yr and the time duration covered by the studied core, close to 200. ka. The combination of biostratigraphy, palaeomagnetism and cyclostratigraphy allowed for a very precise dating of the sediments between ca. 3.3 and 3.1. Ma. Climate and paleobiogeographical implications are discussed within the context of the Late Pliocene Northern Hemisphere glacial intensification. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Rufa A.,IPHES | Blasco R.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Rivals F.,IPHES | Rosell J.,IPHES
Quaternary International | Year: 2015

Small animal bones, such as those of birds, are commonly found at many archaeological sites framed in the early Late Pleistocene. Teixoneres Cave, on the Iberian Peninsula, is one of these, and includes evidence of Neanderthal activities involving large game and, sporadically, smaller prey such as rabbits. Here, we present data from the avian assemblage recovered from this site, which is mainly comprised of specimens from the Corvidae and Phasianidae families. In order to determine which predators (hominins, mammalian carnivores and/or raptors) contributed to this avian accumulation, the general occupational dynamics within the site must first be understood. To this end, the bird remains obtained from the four main subunits excavated to date (IIa, IIb, IIIa, IIIb) have been analyzed from a taphonomic perspective. Our results show that the birds at the site mainly originated from non-hominin input episodes. While the activity of nocturnal raptors was found throughout the sequence, the activity of mammalian carnivores seems to be more intense in specific archaeological units. We compared the data yielded by our study with other data from the site, reinforcing the general position that hominins made use of the cave during short-term occupations, which alternated with predator use. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

The entrance to the South Gallery of the Toll Cave was discovered in the 40's of the last century. Since then, several works have highlighted the importance of the archaeo-pale-ontological site at both regional and peninsular levels. Focusing on the Holocene levels, the research suggests prolonged use of it, at least from Epicardial times to the late Bronze Age. Among the vast amount of material recovered, we highlight, to the interest of our study, several marine shells. Under the current research project, new specimens have been recovered. Tax-onomic identification shows that they are marine gastropods. The technology, use-wear and chemical analysis suggests that they were anthropically modified by making holes for use as hanging elements. The shells were being tinted with red pigment. The spatial and stratigraphic position of the specimens lead, us to interpret them as part of a single bead, deposited at the bottom of a Neolithic structure.

Claude J.,IRD Montpellier | De Soler B.G.,IPHES | De Soler B.G.,Rovira i Virgili University | Campeny G.,IPHES | And 5 more authors.
Bulletin de la Societe Geologique de France | Year: 2014

The late Pliocene locality Camp dels Ninots is a fossil Lagerstötte that yielded an exceptionally well preserved vertebrate fauna. Several turtles were reported from this locality and were all assigned to the living species Mauremys leprosa. We describe here a second turtle taxon based on carapace material. This new taxon is identified as Chelydropsis cf. pontica. It is the first report of a chelydrid turtle in the Pliocene of the Iberian peninsula. This discovery extends the range of the species to the southwest of Europe and thereby better documents the space and time distribution of snapping turtles before their supposedly rapid disappearance in Europe.

Blasco R.,National Research Center sobre la Evolucion Humana | Blasco R.,Tel Aviv University | Rosell J.,IPHES | Smith K.T.,Senckenberg Institute | And 4 more authors.
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2016

Dietary reconstructions can offer an improved perspective on human capacities of adaptation to the environment. New methodological approaches and analytical techniques have led to a theoretical framework for understanding how human groups used and adapted to their local environment. Faunal remains provide an important potential source of dietary information and allow study of behavioural variation and its evolutionary significance. Interest in determining how hominids filled the gaps in large prey availability with small game or what role small game played in pre-Upper Palaeolithic societies is an area of active research. Some of this work has focused on tortoises because they represent an important combination of edible and non-edible resources that are easy to collect if available. The exploitation of these slow-moving animals features prominently in prey choice models because the low handling costs of these reptiles make up for their small body size. Here, we present new taphonomic data from two tortoise assemblages extracted from the lower sequence of the Middle Pleistocene site of Qesem Cave, Israel (420-300 ka), with the aim of assessing the socio-economic factors that may have led to the inclusion of this type of resource in the human diets. We show that hominid damage on large tortoise specimens from Qesem Cave is not unusual and that evidence such as cut marks, percussion marks and consistent patterns of burning suggests established sequences of processing, including cooking in the shell, defleshing, and direct percussion to access the visceral content. These matters make it possible not only to assess the potential role of tortoises as prey, but also to evaluate collecting behaviour in the resource acquisition systems and eco-social strategies at the Acheulo-Yabrudian Cultural Complex (AYCC) in the southern Levant. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Martinez-Polanco M.F.,Rovira i Virgili University | Blasco R.,National Research Center sobre la Evolucion Humana | Rosell J.,Rovira i Virgili University | Ibanez N.,IPHES | Vaquero M.,Rovira i Virgili University
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology | Year: 2016

Many factors have been causally linked to the diversification of hunting during the European Palaeolithic: declining supplies of high-ranked prey, considerable human demographic growth, reduced residential mobility, larger populations of ubiquitous small mammals and significant technological developments. However, small prey exploitation was not uniform: the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is the most frequent species in the Upper Palaeolithic archaeological record of the Iberian Peninsula - south and Mediterranean area - and Southern France. This is demonstrated at Molí del Salt, an Upper Palaeolithic site located at Vimbodí (Catalonia, Spain), whose mammal fauna stands out for the predominance of rabbits [91% of minimum number of individuals (n=136)]. We analysed the faunal remains from one level [Asup (c. 12700-13000cal BP)] in order to identify the agent responsible for the faunal accumulation, and to reconstruct aspects of procurement and consumption that shed light on Palaeolithic subsistence strategies in the Northeast Iberian Peninsula. Our results indicate that human agency rather than carnivore activity was responsible for the bone accumulation at Molí del Salt. We identified all the stages in the consumption sequence from skinning to ingestion. We argue that the rabbits were mostly harvested during summer or winter or both seasons. Clearly, the European rabbit was a target species for the human groups which lived at Molí del Salt providing meat, and skin. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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