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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

Vertical distribution of diagnostic lithics in layers D and E of Grotta del Cavallo.For carinated scrapers/cores, tools made on Aurignacian blades, and Dufour bladelets, only those illustrated in refs. [19,21,23] and whose typological classification is corroborated by the associated description have been counted. The numbers for lunates are drawn from p. 55 of ref. [23] and subsume the three items assigned to level E-II/I classified under the Laplacian categories Gm 2 (triangles) and Gm 6 (trapeze). Counts for “endscrapers” on lastrine (locally available thin plaques of siliceous limestone) are based on the text, figures and tables in refs. [21,23].
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pone.0131181.g006: Vertical distribution of diagnostic lithics in layers D and E of Grotta del Cavallo.For carinated scrapers/cores, tools made on Aurignacian blades, and Dufour bladelets, only those illustrated in refs. [19,21,23] and whose typological classification is corroborated by the associated description have been counted. The numbers for lunates are drawn from p. 55 of ref. [23] and subsume the three items assigned to level E-II/I classified under the Laplacian categories Gm 2 (triangles) and Gm 6 (trapeze). Counts for “endscrapers” on lastrine (locally available thin plaques of siliceous limestone) are based on the text, figures and tables in refs. [21,23].

Mentions: The vertical variation of these tool categories across the main subdivisions of Palma di Cesnola’s “Uluzzian” sequence is provided in Fig 6. Despite the overlap in microlithic types, it is clear that the layer D assemblage is distinct; it is not just that items of clear Aurignacian affinities such as those discussed above appear for the first time, but, more importantly, that the kinds of items defining the Uluzzian at the site—the lunates and the tools made on lastrine—all but disappear.


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)

Vertical distribution of diagnostic lithics in layers D and E of Grotta del Cavallo.For carinated scrapers/cores, tools made on Aurignacian blades, and Dufour bladelets, only those illustrated in refs. [19,21,23] and whose typological classification is corroborated by the associated description have been counted. The numbers for lunates are drawn from p. 55 of ref. [23] and subsume the three items assigned to level E-II/I classified under the Laplacian categories Gm 2 (triangles) and Gm 6 (trapeze). Counts for “endscrapers” on lastrine (locally available thin plaques of siliceous limestone) are based on the text, figures and tables in refs. [21,23].
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0131181.g006: Vertical distribution of diagnostic lithics in layers D and E of Grotta del Cavallo.For carinated scrapers/cores, tools made on Aurignacian blades, and Dufour bladelets, only those illustrated in refs. [19,21,23] and whose typological classification is corroborated by the associated description have been counted. The numbers for lunates are drawn from p. 55 of ref. [23] and subsume the three items assigned to level E-II/I classified under the Laplacian categories Gm 2 (triangles) and Gm 6 (trapeze). Counts for “endscrapers” on lastrine (locally available thin plaques of siliceous limestone) are based on the text, figures and tables in refs. [21,23].
Mentions: The vertical variation of these tool categories across the main subdivisions of Palma di Cesnola’s “Uluzzian” sequence is provided in Fig 6. Despite the overlap in microlithic types, it is clear that the layer D assemblage is distinct; it is not just that items of clear Aurignacian affinities such as those discussed above appear for the first time, but, more importantly, that the kinds of items defining the Uluzzian at the site—the lunates and the tools made on lastrine—all but disappear.

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