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Blain H.-A.,Institute Catala Of Paleoecologia Humana I Evolucio Social | Blain H.-A.,Rovira i Virgili University | Lopez-Garcia J.M.,University of Ferrara | Cordy J.-M.,Musee de Zoologie | And 4 more authors.
Comptes Rendus - Palevol | Year: 2014

For the first time, the fossil herpetofauna from the Middle and Late Pleistocene of Scladina and Sous-Saint-Paul caves (Sclayn, Belgium) is described. The amphibians and squa-mate reptiles are represented by one salamander (Salamandra salamandra), three anurans (Pelodytes punctatus, Bufo bufo and Rana temporaria), two lizards (Lacerta cf. agilis and Anguisfragilis) and two snakes (Zamenis longissimus and Vipera cf. berus). The occurrence of theParsley Frog (Pelodytes punctatus) and the Aesculapian Snake (Zamenis longissimus), whichare not currently represented in Belgium, is of particular interest. Scladina also representsone of the northernmost fossil mentions for the Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) although it is within its current distribution in Europe. Finally, the presence of the Adder (Vipera cf. berus) is very probably attested in Scladina whereas today this snake is infrequent and classified as endangered in Belgium. © 2014 Académie des sciences.

Herisson D.,French Natural History Museum | Brenet M.,INRAP | Brenet M.,University of Bordeaux 1 | Cliquet D.,Service Regional de lArcheologie | And 21 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2016

The nature of the Lower–Middle Palaeolithic transition has been one of the most debated questions in early Prehistory since the mid-20th century. The root of these debates lies primarily in how early prehistorians constructed chronological models, relying heavily upon index fossils. Such models have “artificial boundaries designed to provide structure to a complex record and, rather than being conceived of as permanent or real, should be frequently examined and revised (Corbey and Roebroeks, 2001)” (Monnier, 2006). In this paper, we will not focus our efforts on issues relating to nomenclature and systems of classification. Instead, we will focus on a time frame within which rapid behavioural and technological changes have been documented: the period between MIS 9 to 6. Working on a large scale, and taking account of all of north-western Europe and its southern fringes, a group of researchers working on the main sites from this period propose an assessment of current research on the emergence of the “Middle Palaeolithic”. Using a rich corpus of archaeological sites, we discuss how humans occupied north-western Europe and its southern margins between MIS 9 to 6, focusing particularly on questions of taphonomy, conservation, chronology and environment, as well as reviewing the pattern of technological change within lithic assemblages. This overview of current research into the emergence of the Middle Palaeolithic will help to define future research paths and advance our understanding of this key period of human evolution. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA

Di Modica K.,Scladina Cave Archaeological Center | Toussaint M.,AWEM | Abrams G.,Scladina Cave Archaeological Center | Pirson S.,Service Public de Wallonie
Quaternary International | Year: 2016

The Lower and Middle Palaeolithic in Belgium are represented in 442 find-sites dispersed across a small territory with contrasting geographical and geological characteristics. The close proximity of caves and open-air sites, as well as the variable access to good sources of flint between regions are of special interest. The dataset is composed primarily of lithic assemblages, rich palaeontological and archaeozoological documentation as well as Neandertal remains from 8 cave sites. This large amount of data facilitates the development of a chronostratigraphic framework from the very beginning of the Middle Palaeolithic (onset of MIS 8) to the end (within the MIS 3, around 36 ka uncal BP). This archaeological documentation also reveals that lithic production variability is multifactorial and includes site function, cultural perspectives, and mobility patterns related to the exploitation of natural resources in contrasting environments. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

Abrams G.,Scladina Cave Archaeological Center | Abrams G.,University of Liège | Bello S.M.,Natural History Museum in London | Di Modica K.,Scladina Cave Archaeological Center | And 4 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2014

Evidence of Neanderthals using bear remains as retouchers is rare. In the sedimentary unit 5 of Scladina Cave (Belgium; Weichselian Early Glacial, MIS 5d to 5b), twenty-six bone retouchers have been discovered. Among these, six have been made from cave bear bones (four from a femur and two from two tibiae). The presence of lithic splinters, still embedded in grooves, can be convincingly associated with their function as knapping tools. Particularly interesting are six bone fragments, including four fragments used as retouchers and two unused splinters, which have been refitted together to reconstitute an almost complete cave bear femur diaphysis. These specimens present modifications in the form of cut marks, scraping marks, impact notches and typical fractures of percussions on green (fresh) bone, sometimes overlapping each other, that allow for a complete understanding of the operational sequence in the production of bone retouchers at this site. The identification of a sophisticated operational sequence, where each action succeeds another in the production of a bone tool, is a major argument in favor of predetermination that guided the Neanderthal actions, and is similar to that described for stone tool chaîne opératoire. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

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