Source Themes

Territoriality and the organization of technology during the Last Glacial Maximum in southwestern Europe

Climate changes that occurred during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) had significant consequences in human eco-dynamics across Europe. Among the most striking impacts are the demographic contraction of modern humans into southern refugia and the potential formation of a population bottleneck. In Iberia and southern France transformations also included the occurrence of significant technological changes, mostly marked by the emergence of a diverse set of bifacially-shaped stone projectiles. The rapid dissemination of bifacial technologies and the geographical circumscription of specific projectile morphologies within these regions have been regarded as evidence for: (1) the existence of a system of long-distance exchange and social alliance networks; (2) the organization of human groups into cultural facies with well-defined stylistic territorial boundaries. However, the degree and modes in which cultural transmission have occurred within these territories, and how it may have influenced other domains of the adaptive systems, remains largely unknown. Using southern Iberia as a case-study, this paper presents the first quantitative approach to the organization of lithic technology and its relationship to hunter-gatherers’ territorial organization during the LGM. Similarities and dissimilarities in the presence of morphological and metric data describing lithic technologies are used as a proxy to explore modes and degrees of cultural transmission. Statistical results show that similarities in technological options are dependent on the chronology and geographical distance between sites and corroborate previous arguments for the organization of LGM settlement in Southern Iberia into discrete eco-cultural facies.

Short-Term Occupations in Paleolithic Archaeology

This edited book aims to provide a new perspective on the identification and interpretation of short-term occupations in Paleolithic Archaeology.The volume includes contributions with a particular focus on the definition and identification of short-term occupations in Paleolithic contexts, aiming to improve our current knowledge on the topic, both methodologically and interpretatively. The set of chapters coming from a broad spectrum of geographies and chronologies will contribute to the debate on the definition of short-term occupations but also to a better understanding on how past hunter-gatherers communities adapted and moved in different environmental contexts across time. The in-depth examinations of short-term occupations in different chronologies and environments will shed light on an aspect of the behavioral trajectories of the human species in the management of the territory.

Human adaptations to the Last Glacial Maximum

The book assembles new insights into humanity social, cultural and economic developments during the Last Glacial Maximum in Western Europe and adjacent regions. It gathers original, up-to-date research results on the Solutrean techno-complex, reflecting four major fields of research: data from current excavations; analysis of lithic assemblages; new results from studies on climatic conditions and human-environmental interactions; and insights into artistic expressions. New methodological and analytical approaches are applied, providing significant contributions to Paleolithic research beyond the Last Glacial Maximum.

The Role of Lithic Bipolar Technology in Western Iberia’s Upper Paleolithic: the Case of Vale Boi (Southern Portugal)

Scaled or splintered pieces are one of the most common lithic artifact type in Upper Paleolithic assemblages throughout Europe, especially in its westernmost regions. Despite this, and even after one century of being identified, there is still no consensus on how to define, analyze, or interpret these tools. In western Iberia, there is a clear lack of comprehensive studies regarding this type of artifacts at a regional scale. In this paper, we present a first techno-morphological analysis of a sample of scaled pieces from the Upper Paleolithic site of Vale Boi. Our first aim was to build upon existing analytical models in order to identify function and possible reduction strategies for these artifacts. Our second goal was to critically evaluate the role of these artifacts within western Iberia’s Upper Paleolithic. Our results showed that functional identification of scaled pieces is still not clear. By comparing our data with other author’s, we found that current models could not be applied to the archeological record, as the attribute variability is too high. Furthermore, in this region, we found that higher frequencies of bipolar technology can be found related to residential sites due to both functional and cultural patterns. While we still cannot define a specific function for these artifacts (intermediate pieces or wedges for working hard raw materials or cores for the extraction of chips and small bladelets), it is clear that they had a major role in the variability and intensification of resource exploitation during the Upper Paleolithic in western Iberia.