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Assessing Neanderthal land use and lithic raw material management in discoid technology

Assessing Neanderthal land use and lithic raw material management in discoid technology
Assessing Neanderthal land use and lithic raw material management in discoid technology

Neanderthal groups developed different models of mobility and exploitation of resources across their territory: these differences can be linked to various knapping methods and are probably related to adaptative strategies and responses at many ecological and cultural levels. Neanderthals associated with Discoid knapping are known to depend on an opportunistic exploitation of lithic raw materials for daily food procurement and be more mobile than others using different technologies. However, we have no defined data for most of the geographical contexts where this technocomplex was found. This study analyzes the southern Alpine site of Grotta di Fumane, where the final Mousterian is characterized by the succession of well defined cultural entities. Unit A9 presents with entirely Discoid technology and is embedded between fully Levallois levels. The level was recently extensively investigated for almost 68m2 on 9,000 lithic pieces. To study the lithic assemblage of Unit A9 we applied a techno-economical analysis designed to infer the spatial fragmentation of the reduction sequences, and results were corroborated through the characterization of cortex and raw materials based on geological surveys and experimental comparisons. Results show that raw materials collected within a radius of 5km, by far the most frequently used, exhibit complete and ordinary reduction sequences, which were further attested by multiple refittings. Beyond this area, semi-local raw materials (5-10 km) are introduced to perform specific tasks, and are reduced according to their different physical qualities. These data, combined with the presence of lithotypes and fossils collected from longer distances (ten to hundreds of kilometers), and to the recycling of old patinated artifacts, indicate a complex and diversified behavior encompassing both: a) opportunistic and daily residential exploitation within a local territory; b) logistical planning of the economical organization in the semi-local to exotic territory according to quality and distance of available raw materials sources.

Economy, Italy, Knapped stone, Late middle palaeolithic, Mobility, Territory
1827-4765
89-110
Delpiano, Davide
b1a20b8a-8678-419a-905e-b9b2581abf5d
Heasley, Kristen
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Peresani, Marco
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Delpiano, Davide
b1a20b8a-8678-419a-905e-b9b2581abf5d
Heasley, Kristen
a46a9f7a-18e8-491e-a97c-5a5497b331ce
Peresani, Marco
e5ed1562-d984-41f8-b865-283c2d7507f4

Delpiano, Davide, Heasley, Kristen and Peresani, Marco (2018) Assessing Neanderthal land use and lithic raw material management in discoid technology. Journal of Anthropological Sciences, 96, 89-110. (doi:10.4436/JASS.96006).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Neanderthal groups developed different models of mobility and exploitation of resources across their territory: these differences can be linked to various knapping methods and are probably related to adaptative strategies and responses at many ecological and cultural levels. Neanderthals associated with Discoid knapping are known to depend on an opportunistic exploitation of lithic raw materials for daily food procurement and be more mobile than others using different technologies. However, we have no defined data for most of the geographical contexts where this technocomplex was found. This study analyzes the southern Alpine site of Grotta di Fumane, where the final Mousterian is characterized by the succession of well defined cultural entities. Unit A9 presents with entirely Discoid technology and is embedded between fully Levallois levels. The level was recently extensively investigated for almost 68m2 on 9,000 lithic pieces. To study the lithic assemblage of Unit A9 we applied a techno-economical analysis designed to infer the spatial fragmentation of the reduction sequences, and results were corroborated through the characterization of cortex and raw materials based on geological surveys and experimental comparisons. Results show that raw materials collected within a radius of 5km, by far the most frequently used, exhibit complete and ordinary reduction sequences, which were further attested by multiple refittings. Beyond this area, semi-local raw materials (5-10 km) are introduced to perform specific tasks, and are reduced according to their different physical qualities. These data, combined with the presence of lithotypes and fossils collected from longer distances (ten to hundreds of kilometers), and to the recycling of old patinated artifacts, indicate a complex and diversified behavior encompassing both: a) opportunistic and daily residential exploitation within a local territory; b) logistical planning of the economical organization in the semi-local to exotic territory according to quality and distance of available raw materials sources.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 23 August 2018
Published date: 2018
Keywords: Economy, Italy, Knapped stone, Late middle palaeolithic, Mobility, Territory

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Local EPrints ID: 427224
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/427224
ISSN: 1827-4765
PURE UUID: a8426d31-d7e2-436a-937f-3f3534efef5f

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Date deposited: 09 Jan 2019 17:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 00:22

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