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The Middle Paleolithic site of Cuesta de la Bajada (Teruel, Spain): a perspective on the Acheulean and Middle Paleolithic technocomplexes in Europe

AuthorsSantonja Gómez, Manuel; Pérez-González, Alfredo; Domínguez-Rodrigo, M.; Panera Gallego, Joaquín; Rubio-Jara, Susana; Sesé, Carmen ; Soto, Enrique; Arnold, L. J.; Duval, M.; Demuro, M.; Ortiz Menéndez, José Eugenio; Torres, Trinidad José de; Mercier, Norbert; Barba, Rebeca; Yravedra, José
KeywordsAncient Middle Paleolithic
Lithic technology
Middle Pleistocene
Numerical dating
Iberian Peninsula
Paleolítico Medio antiguo
Industria lítica
Pleistoceno Medio
Dataciones numéricas
Península Ibérica
Issue Date2014
CitationJournal of Archaeological Science, 49: 556-571
AbstractHere we present a pluridisciplinary study of Cuesta de la Bajada site (Teruel, Spain). Our findings show that the site contains an early Middle Paleolithic assemblage similar to other European early Middle Paleolithic industries, allowing us to evaluate the coexistence of this industrial tradition with the Acheulean technocomplex in southwest Europe. The process of lithic production at Cuesta de la Bajada represents a technology focused on debitage, the application of technical concepts such as ramified production sequences, and the recycling of flakes via the resharpening of tools and exhausted cores. This site was formed around a pond not far from a river and contains remains of large macrofauna other than equids and cervids. Taphonomic analysis highlights the abundance of cut marks on bones, and supports the hypothesis of selective hunting by hominids. The numerical ages derived from the combination of ESR, OSL and AAR dating methods indicate that the archaeological site was very likely formed around the MIS 8-MIS 9. The appearance of Middle Paleolithic industries in Europe could represents the autochthonous development of a technocomplex distinctly different from the Acheulean, characterized by chaînes operatoires of debitage and a progressive increase of Levallois technology and retouched tools. These results suggest that there is a clear coexistence of assemblages with Acheulean and Middle Paleolithic industries during the last third of the Middle Pleistocene at least in the Iberian Peninsula
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