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Analysis of Site Formation and Assemblage Integrity Does Not Support Attribution of the Uluzzian to Modern Humans at Grotta del Cavallo.

Zilhão J, Banks WE, d'Errico F, Gioia P - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: In addition, a major disturbance feature affected the 1960s excavation trench down to Mousterian layer F, this feature went unrecognized until 1964, the human remains assigned to the Uluzzian were discovered that year and/or the previous year, and there are contradictions between field reports and the primary anthropological description of the remains as to their morphology and level of provenience.Given these major contextual uncertainties, the Cavallo teeth cannot be used to establish the authorship of the Uluzzian.Since this technocomplex's start date is ca. 45,000 calendar years ago, a number of Neandertal fossils are dated to this period, and the oldest diagnostic European modern human fossil is the <41,400 year-old Oase 1 mandible, Neandertal authorship of the Uluzzian remains the parsimonious reading of the evidence.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Universitat de Barcelona, Seminari d'Estudis i Recerques Prehistòriques (SGR2014-00108), Departament de Prehistòria, Història Antiga i Arqueologia, Facultat de Geografia i Història, C/ Montalegre 6, 08001 Barcelona, Spain; Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Passeig Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain.

ABSTRACT
Based on the morphology of two deciduous molars and radiocarbon ages from layers D and E of the Grotta del Cavallo (Lecce, Italy), assigned to the Uluzzian, it has been proposed that modern humans were the makers of this Early Upper Paleolithic culture and that this finding considerably weakens the case for an independent emergence of symbolism among western European Neandertals. Reappraisal of the new dating evidence, of the finds curated in the Taranto Antiquities depot, and of coeval publications detailing the site's 1963-66 excavations shows that (a) Protoaurignacian, Aurignacian and Early Epigravettian lithics exist in the assemblages from layers D and E, (b) even though it contains both inherited and intrusive items, the formation of layer D began during Protoaurignacian times, and (c) the composition of the extant Cavallo assemblages is influenced in a non-negligible manner by the post-hoc assignment of items to stratigraphic units distinct from that of original discovery. In addition, a major disturbance feature affected the 1960s excavation trench down to Mousterian layer F, this feature went unrecognized until 1964, the human remains assigned to the Uluzzian were discovered that year and/or the previous year, and there are contradictions between field reports and the primary anthropological description of the remains as to their morphology and level of provenience. Given these major contextual uncertainties, the Cavallo teeth cannot be used to establish the authorship of the Uluzzian. Since this technocomplex's start date is ca. 45,000 calendar years ago, a number of Neandertal fossils are dated to this period, and the oldest diagnostic European modern human fossil is the <41,400 year-old Oase 1 mandible, Neandertal authorship of the Uluzzian remains the parsimonious reading of the evidence.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Grotta del Cavallo and the Uluzzo Bay sites.a. location of Uluzzo Bay on a physical map of southern Italy; b. Satellite view of the Uluzzo Bay (http://www.pcn.minambiente.it/GN/), with indication of the Uluzzian sites discussed in the text; c. the setting of the Grotta del Cavallo (photographed from the West); d. the Grotta del Cavallo entrance; e. the Grotta di Uluzzo entrance; f. the setting of the Grotta di Uluzzo (photographed from the Northwest).
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pone.0131181.g002: Grotta del Cavallo and the Uluzzo Bay sites.a. location of Uluzzo Bay on a physical map of southern Italy; b. Satellite view of the Uluzzo Bay (http://www.pcn.minambiente.it/GN/), with indication of the Uluzzian sites discussed in the text; c. the setting of the Grotta del Cavallo (photographed from the West); d. the Grotta del Cavallo entrance; e. the Grotta di Uluzzo entrance; f. the setting of the Grotta di Uluzzo (photographed from the Northwest).

Mentions: The Grotta del Cavallo (Santa Caterina, Nardò, Lecce; 40°9’19.00” N; 17°57’37.90” E; Fig 2) was first excavated in the early 1960s by Arturo Palma di Cesnola, a leading figure of the Paleolithic Archeology of Italy. Born in Florence in 1928, Palma di Cesnola was appointed Professor of Human Paleontology at the University of Siena in 1968, a post he held until retirement, 30 years later. Early on in his career, he developed an interest in the cave sites of southern Italy that, eventually, led him to the Bay of Uluzzo. Supported by the Florence-based Istituto Italiano di Preistoria e Protostoria and the Provincial Archeological Museum of Lecce, Palma di Cesnola’s work in this area was prompted by a speleologist’s discovery, in 1960, of Middle and Upper Paleolithic stone tools at a number of sites situated around the bay and the adjacent hinterland.


Analysis of Site Formation and Assemblage Integrity Does Not Support Attribution of the Uluzzian to Modern Humans at Grotta del Cavallo.

Zilhão J, Banks WE, d'Errico F, Gioia P - PLoS ONE (2015)

Grotta del Cavallo and the Uluzzo Bay sites.a. location of Uluzzo Bay on a physical map of southern Italy; b. Satellite view of the Uluzzo Bay (http://www.pcn.minambiente.it/GN/), with indication of the Uluzzian sites discussed in the text; c. the setting of the Grotta del Cavallo (photographed from the West); d. the Grotta del Cavallo entrance; e. the Grotta di Uluzzo entrance; f. the setting of the Grotta di Uluzzo (photographed from the Northwest).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4495988&req=5

pone.0131181.g002: Grotta del Cavallo and the Uluzzo Bay sites.a. location of Uluzzo Bay on a physical map of southern Italy; b. Satellite view of the Uluzzo Bay (http://www.pcn.minambiente.it/GN/), with indication of the Uluzzian sites discussed in the text; c. the setting of the Grotta del Cavallo (photographed from the West); d. the Grotta del Cavallo entrance; e. the Grotta di Uluzzo entrance; f. the setting of the Grotta di Uluzzo (photographed from the Northwest).
Mentions: The Grotta del Cavallo (Santa Caterina, Nardò, Lecce; 40°9’19.00” N; 17°57’37.90” E; Fig 2) was first excavated in the early 1960s by Arturo Palma di Cesnola, a leading figure of the Paleolithic Archeology of Italy. Born in Florence in 1928, Palma di Cesnola was appointed Professor of Human Paleontology at the University of Siena in 1968, a post he held until retirement, 30 years later. Early on in his career, he developed an interest in the cave sites of southern Italy that, eventually, led him to the Bay of Uluzzo. Supported by the Florence-based Istituto Italiano di Preistoria e Protostoria and the Provincial Archeological Museum of Lecce, Palma di Cesnola’s work in this area was prompted by a speleologist’s discovery, in 1960, of Middle and Upper Paleolithic stone tools at a number of sites situated around the bay and the adjacent hinterland.

Bottom Line: In addition, a major disturbance feature affected the 1960s excavation trench down to Mousterian layer F, this feature went unrecognized until 1964, the human remains assigned to the Uluzzian were discovered that year and/or the previous year, and there are contradictions between field reports and the primary anthropological description of the remains as to their morphology and level of provenience.Given these major contextual uncertainties, the Cavallo teeth cannot be used to establish the authorship of the Uluzzian.Since this technocomplex's start date is ca. 45,000 calendar years ago, a number of Neandertal fossils are dated to this period, and the oldest diagnostic European modern human fossil is the <41,400 year-old Oase 1 mandible, Neandertal authorship of the Uluzzian remains the parsimonious reading of the evidence.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Universitat de Barcelona, Seminari d'Estudis i Recerques Prehistòriques (SGR2014-00108), Departament de Prehistòria, Història Antiga i Arqueologia, Facultat de Geografia i Història, C/ Montalegre 6, 08001 Barcelona, Spain; Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Passeig Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain.

ABSTRACT
Based on the morphology of two deciduous molars and radiocarbon ages from layers D and E of the Grotta del Cavallo (Lecce, Italy), assigned to the Uluzzian, it has been proposed that modern humans were the makers of this Early Upper Paleolithic culture and that this finding considerably weakens the case for an independent emergence of symbolism among western European Neandertals. Reappraisal of the new dating evidence, of the finds curated in the Taranto Antiquities depot, and of coeval publications detailing the site's 1963-66 excavations shows that (a) Protoaurignacian, Aurignacian and Early Epigravettian lithics exist in the assemblages from layers D and E, (b) even though it contains both inherited and intrusive items, the formation of layer D began during Protoaurignacian times, and (c) the composition of the extant Cavallo assemblages is influenced in a non-negligible manner by the post-hoc assignment of items to stratigraphic units distinct from that of original discovery. In addition, a major disturbance feature affected the 1960s excavation trench down to Mousterian layer F, this feature went unrecognized until 1964, the human remains assigned to the Uluzzian were discovered that year and/or the previous year, and there are contradictions between field reports and the primary anthropological description of the remains as to their morphology and level of provenience. Given these major contextual uncertainties, the Cavallo teeth cannot be used to establish the authorship of the Uluzzian. Since this technocomplex's start date is ca. 45,000 calendar years ago, a number of Neandertal fossils are dated to this period, and the oldest diagnostic European modern human fossil is the <41,400 year-old Oase 1 mandible, Neandertal authorship of the Uluzzian remains the parsimonious reading of the evidence.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus