The Gibraltar, Gibraltar
The Gibraltar, Gibraltar

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Fa D.A.,Point University | Finlayson J.C.,Point University | Finlayson G.,Point University | Giles-Pacheco F.,The Gibraltar Caves Project | And 2 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2016

There is increasing evidence that humans have exploited intertidal and shallow-water species for much longer than has been previously considered, and certainly not restricted to Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH). One of the principal reasons for the lack of evidence up till recently has been a lack of consideration for the temporal and spatial backdrop to such activities throughout human evolution, in particular related to changes in sea-level during the Pleistocene (Bailey et al., 2008). This study reports on the marine molluscs excavated from Gorham's Cave between 1998 and 2005, focussing in particular between levels III and IV, corresponding to the Upper (AMH) and Middle Palaeolithic (Neanderthals), respectively. Given that Gorham's Cave was never more than approximately 2 km away from the coastline, it still preserves evidence of exploitation of marine molluscs for food by Neanderthals and in this article the data obtained are compared across the Middle-Upper Palaeolithic transition. The results obtained suggest a high degree of consistency in the mode of marine mollusc exploitation between levels, and comparisons with extant communities supports the contention that marine molluscs were exploited in direct proportion to their relative abundance and accessibility. Patterns in shell size distributions for some of the main species exploited are discussed, as are possible anthropic valve selection and the marine climatic signals that can be extracted from such data. The main difference that emerges between Upper and Middle Palaeolithic levels was a lack of evidence of collection for decoration in Middle Palaeolithic levels, but even here the relatively small size of the Level IV sample precluded totally excluding this possibility based only on absence of evidence. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


Shipton C.,University of Queensland | Clarkson C.,University of Queensland | Bernal M.A.,The Gibraltar Caves Project | Bernal M.A.,University of Oxford | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The evidence for Neanderthal lithic technology is reviewed and summarized for four caves on The Rock of Gibraltar: Vanguard, Beefsteak, Ibex and Gorham's. Some of the observed patterns in technology are statistically tested including raw material selection, platform preparation, and the use of formal and expedient technological schemas. The main parameters of technological variation are examined through detailed analysis of the Gibraltar cores and comparison with samples from the classic Mousterian sites of Le Moustier and Tabun C. The Gibraltar Mousterian, including the youngest assemblage from Layer IV of Gorham's Cave, spans the typical Middle Palaeolithic range of variation from radial Levallois to unidirectional and multi-platform flaking schemas, with characteristic emphasis on the former. A diachronic pattern of change in the Gorham's Cave sequence is documented, with the younger assemblages utilising more localized raw material and less formal flaking procedures. We attribute this change to a reduction in residential mobility as the climate deteriorated during Marine Isotope Stage 3 and the Neanderthal population contracted into a refugium. © 2013 Shipton et al.

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