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Early European Mode 2 and the stone industry from the Caune de l'Arago's archeostratigraphical levels “P

Early European Mode 2 and the stone industry from the Caune de l'Arago's archeostratigraphical levels “P
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  Early European Mode 2 and the stone industry from the Caune de l’Arago’sarcheostratigraphical levels ‘‘P’’ Deborah Barsky a , * , Henry de Lumley b a Centre Europe´en de Recherches Pre´historiques de Tautavel (CERPT), Ave. Le´on Gre´ gory, 66720 Tautavel, France b De´ partement de Pre´histoire du Muse´um National d’Histoire Naturelle, UMR 7194 du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut de Pale´ontologie Humaine,Fondation Albert I  er  Prince de Monaco, 1 rue Rene´ Panhard, 75013 Paris, France a r t i c l e i n f o  Article history: Available online 16 December 2009 a b s t r a c t The stratigraphical complex of the Caune de l’Arago cave site (France, Pyre´ne´es-Orientales) has beensystematically excavated for over 40 years. In 1981, foraging in the deposits revealed a 15 m thickQuaternary infill with artefacts present throughout the stratigraphy; all the way down to the basalstalagmitic floor (0.69 Ma). The infill, most of which is correlated to MIS 14, 13 and 12, has yieldednumerous distinct occupation floors, exceptionally rich stone implements and animal fossils, while someof the levels have also yielded hominin remains attributed to  Homo heidelbergensis . Over the years,intensive interdisciplinary studies have contributed to defining the characteristics of these MiddlePleistocene occupations. Recently, excavations have reached the so-called ‘‘P’’ levels, attributed to a seriesof occupation floors accumulated during short-term stays by hominin groups during a cold, dry phase of MIS 14. Artefact bearing levels are found intercalated between archeologically sterile sediments, rela-tively rich in carnivore remains. Among the numerous large Pleistocene mammals identified in the ‘‘P’’levels, horse, reindeer and bison are most frequent in artefact yielding floors, while argali (brought intothe cave by carnivores), bear and panther remains are common in intercalating levels. The study of the‘‘P’’ levels’ stone assemblage provides new information about raw material selectivity, technologicalbehaviour and typological characteristics for one of the oldest known Western European Mode 2industries. It is interesting to consider the precise handiwork and care with which raw materials wereselected for the confection of the fine quality instruments typical of the ‘‘P’’ levels’ assemblages, whoseAcheulian character is underlined by a relative abundance of symmetrical and remarkably well-workedhandaxes. The ‘‘P’’ levels industries seem to bear witness to long-acquired technological capacities,inherited perhaps from earlier African or Eurasian populations.   2009 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rights reserved. 1. Site context and introduction TheCaunedel’AragocavesiteinsouthernFrance,nearthetownof Perpignan (Fig. 1), has been systematically excavated for morethan 40 years now and is a model for defining the some charac-teristics of Middle Pleistocene cave habitats. Important climaticfluctuations have been recorded within the cave’s thick andcontinuous stratigraphical sequence, which covers a period fromMIS 14 through 5 (0.69–0.9 Ma; Yokoyama and Nguyen, 1981;Yokoyama et al., 1985; Lumley et al., 1984; Falgue`res et al., 2004;Table 1). These changes are translated by the rich large and smallmammal diversity revealed in the different levels excavated so far.While some levels comprise species typical of harsh climaticconditions and a steppe like environment, such as reindeer, muskox and even arctic fox, other levels include fallow or red deer,translating more clement temperatures and a forested environ-ment (Moigne et al., 2006). This mosaic of climate change is alsorepresented in levels with fauna typical of drier conditions anda more open environment, such as rhinoceros or horse. Largeherbivore carcasses were brought into the cave by humans andtheir bones often show traces of human intervention such as cutmarks and systematic breakage whose interpretation reveals thecharacteristics and evolution of hunting and butchering techniquesover time. Excavations have thus far explored nearly 7 m of deposits, with more or less continuous and cyclical human occu-pations whose type and duration translate surprising diversity.These levels have been the object of ongoing interdisciplinarystudies whose results contribute to the understanding of MiddlePleistocene hominin behaviour in Southern Europe’s Mediterra-nean basin (Barsky, 2001; Barsky and Gre´goire, 2001; Barsky and *  Corresponding author. Tel.:  þ 33 4 6829 4740; fax:  þ 33 4 6829 4766. E-mail address:  dbarsky@hotmail.fr (D. Barsky). Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Quaternary International journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/quaint 1040-6182/$ – see front matter    2009 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2009.12.005 Quaternary International 223-224 (2010) 71–86  Fig.1.  View of the Gouleyrous Gorges and the Verdouble River. The Caune de l’Arago cave site is visible nestled in the cliff (porch visible to the right) some 100 m above the riverbed. (cliche´ Denis Dainat, C.E.R.P. Tautavel).  Table 1 Synthetic log showing radiometric dates, stratigraphic units, sedimentology, climate, dominant species hunted and habitat type, in the of the Caune de l’Arago cave deposits(Yokoyama and Nguyen,1981; Yokoyama et al.,1985; Moigne,1983; Lumleyet al.,1984; Perrenoud,1993; Falgue`res et al., 2004; Moigne et al., 2006; Fei, 2007; Gre´goire et al.,2008).Radiometric dating Units Levels Sedimentology Climate Dominant species Habitat typeOSI 5 StratigraphicUnit V A and B Stalagmitic floorsbetweenarcheologicallevelsAlternate temperatehumid and coolphasesHorse, red deer, argali Shorts stays, bivouacs104–151 Ka StratigraphicUnit IV C Stalagmitic floorsbetweenarcheologicallevelsAlternate temperate,humid with cool, dryphasesHorse, red deer, argali Shorts stays, bivouacs215–229 Ka273– > 350 KaStalagmitique floor byESR, U/Th > 350 KaQuartz dated byESR 430  85 KaStratigraphicUnit IIID Coarse, layeredsandsCold and dry Cervids dominant, argali,horse, fallow deerSeasonal habitat withspecies-specific huntingE Coarse, layeredsandsCold and dry Argali dominant, horse,red deer, thar, bison,musk oxSeasonal habitat withspecies-specific huntingF Coarse, layeredsandsVery cold and drywith strong windsArgali dominant, thar,red deer, horse, reindeer,chamoisSeasonal habitat withspecies-specific huntingARAGO XXI Hominid skulldirectly dated by spectrometrygamma 455 þ indet./  210 KaFG Coarse, layeredsandsCold and dry Musk-ox, argali, horse Shorts stays, bivouacswith species-specifichuntingG Gravel withsilty-sandmatrixFresh to cold and dry Horse, bison, rhinoceros,reindeer, red deer, argali,thar, musk-oxLong term stays withnon-species-specifichunting > 350 < 690 Ka StratigraphicUnit IIH1, 2,3 Clay with silty-sand Temperate and humid Red deer, fallow deer Seasonal habitatI1, 2 Fallow deer, red deer Seasonal habitat J Red deer, fallow deer,argaliSeasonal habitatStratigraphicUnit IK Layered sands Cold and dry withstrong windsReindeer Selective hunting haltL Selective hunting haltM to O Horse, reindeer, bison Shorts stays, bivouacsP Horse, reindeer, bison,argali, bear, pantherShorts stays, bivouacsLower stratigraphiccomplex (not yet excavated)Stalagmitic floor datedby ESR to 690 Ka Y D. Barsky, H. de Lumley / Quaternary International 223-224 (2010) 71–86 72  Lumley, 2004, 2005; Lumley and Barsky, 2004; Lumley et al., 2004;Barsky et al., 2005; Gre´goire et al., 2006).Ongoing excavations in Stratigraphical Unit I have recentlyreached the so-called ‘‘P’’ levels, rich in faunal remains associatedwith stone artefacts, including many configured tools, notablyfinely retouched points and relatively numerous handaxes. The ‘‘P’’levels represent a series of at least four successive occupationfloors,wherethinlayersofartefactswereaccumulatedduringwhatappear to have been relatively short-term stays by small groups of hominin hunters (bivouacs). The aim of this paper is to presentapreliminaryanalysisoftheculturalremainsandsitecontextofthe‘‘P’’ levels, the oldest yet reached by excavations in Unit I of theMiddle Stratigraphical Complex. An age of around 0.57 Ma may beproposed for these levels through climatic correlation with radio-metricdatesof thebasalstalagmiticfloor(Table 1; 0.69 Ma,Lumley et al., 1984).The artefact bearing floors are intercalated between archeo-logically sterile levels rich in carnivore remains. Sedimentologicalanalysis (Amharref, 2003) shows that the deposits are essentiallycomposed of sands blown into the cave by strong north-easterlywinds during this cold, dry phase of MIS 14 and disposed in regularhorizontal beds. The faunal spectrum so far identified in the ‘‘P’’levels includes  Ursus deningeri, Cuon priscus, Vulpes vulpes, Lynxspelaeus, Panthera cf. pardus, Equus mosbachensis, Stephanorhinushemitoechus, Bison  sp.,  Ovis ammon antiqua, Hemitragus bonali,Rangifer tarandus, Cervus elaphus  (Moigne et al., 2006; Filoux,2007; Filoux and Moigne, 2007). Amongst the latter, horse (28%),reindeer (20%) and bear (28%) remains are most frequent. Bearremains in anatomical connection belonging to at least 14 indi-viduals were found next tothe cave walls, suggesting that they haddied there during hibernation. Although carnivore fossils show notraces of human intervention, horse, reindeer, bison and red deerbones do show marks of intense butchery. On the other hand,small bovid bones (argali and thar) show traces of carnivoreintervention only (Rivals et al., 2006). The cave thus served alter-nately as a bear den or lair for other carnivores and also as a livingspace for short-term occupations by groups of Paleolithic hunters(Quile`s et al., 2004).The human cultural record represented by stone industries isveryrichattheCaunedel’Arago(globalassemblagenearly150,000 in situ  stone artefacts), with nearly 8000 stone implements so farattributed to the ‘‘P’’ levels. Interdisciplinary studies underwayshould allow more precise definition of the vertical and laterallimits of each occupation floor using transversal and lateralprojectionsofartefactstovisualizetheirspatialdistribution,aswellas sedimentological data. Results presented here are preliminaryand some of the quantitative data may vary from the initial study(Barsky and Lumley, forthcoming) with the growing precision of archeostratigraphical attributions for the artefacts. 2. Raw materials and assemblage composition: diversity andselectivity  With more than 100 different rock types, the Caune de l’Aragostone artefact assemblage is exemplary for its raw material diver-sity. Petrographical analysis (Wilson, 1986; Gre´goire, 2000) hasrevealed that Middle Pleistocene hominins covered large distancesto obtain fine quality rocks for making their tools. In comparativelyearlier sites attributed to the Mode 1 techno-complex in Africa andEurasia, raw materials were mainly collected from local or at leastnearby sources, generally situated not more than around 10 kmaway from the sites. With a few exceptions, procurement patternsat earlier Mode 1 yielding sites demonstrate that raw materialexploitation was generally geared towards one or two main rocktypes and assemblages showcomparatively low diversity. The longand continuous archaeological record at the Caune de l’Aragoallows observation of stone procurement behavioural tendenciesover time while placing raw material diversity within a moregeneral framework of global typological norms.From most frequent to scarcest in the ‘‘P’’ levels, rock types are:milky (vein) quartz, translucent quartz, metamorphic (and other)schist, quartzite, sandstone quartzite, silicious sedimentary (flint, jasper, lydian), sandstone, limestone, lava and gneiss (Table 2;Fig. 2). The uniqueness of the ‘‘P’’ levels’ assemblages lies in therelative scarcity of local milky vein quartz whose frequency attainsnearly90%inotherlevelshigherupinthestratigraphy(LumleyandBarsky, 2004). In the ‘‘P’’ levels, rocks better suited for pre-determined flake production were favoured, such as translucentquartz, quartzite, sandstone quartzite and flint. As a result, angularfragments are relatively rare compared with flakes. Metamorphicschist was also largely exploited, although the exact frequency of this rock is difficult to ascertain given its poor conservation in thecave. Stone implements in other rock types are, however, excep-tionally well conserved.Lookingatrawmaterialprocurementpatterns,someinterestingobservations are to be made. Nearly 90% of the industry was madefrom local raw materials collected in nearby river alluvia (mainlyquartz, metamorphic schist and sandstone quartzite pebbles). Poorqualitysiliceous sedimentaryrocks availablefromdiverselocationssituated from 5 to 10 km away are poorly represented (only 0.3%).Considering the more exotic raw materials, quartzite, blue trans-lucent quartz and jasper were brought from alluvia located at least15 km away in a south-easterly direction, while fine quality flintwas also brought into the cave from sources situated nearly 30 kmaway in a north-easterly direction. Given the short-term characterof the ‘‘P’’ level accumulations, how might the presence of exoticrock types coming from sources so far away from the cave inoppositedirectionsbeexplained?Itappearsunlikelythathomininswould travel to and from the cave over such long distances just toobtain fine quality materials for making a few flakes or tools.Instead, several groups of hominins may have visited the cavern,coming from different locations around the site, perhaps to meetfor hunting or reproductive purposes. If it is assumed that nomadicgroups occupying this part of Mediterranean Europe at the timewere probably composed of only a few individuals, it is to beremembered that, in order to maintain diversity in a gene pool,exchange between groups is necessary and even vital for survival.Such behaviour, often translated into ritual meetings betweentribes, is a well known phenomenon in surviving and historicallydocumented nomadic populations.Global lithic type distribution (Fig. 3) shows that non-modifiedlarge ( > 2 cm long) and smaller flakes are most numerous. Smallflakes found during sieving doubles their relative frequency whichis an interesting characteristic of the ‘‘P’’ levels’ assemblages. Thespatialdistributionofsmallflakesontheoccupationfloorsisratherenigmatic as may be observed within single metre squares verylargerawmaterialdiversity.Someofthesesmallflakesresultsurelyfrom the production of small retouched tools, while others wereaccidentally or intentionally produced from cores. The industriesare generallysmall in size and configured tools were finelyworked.Small retouched implements largely dominate among configuredtools, and the relative scarcity of pebble tools which are otherwisewell represented in most levels is underlined. Finely worked han-daxes are the hallmark of the ‘‘P’’ level assemblages.Various types of points, mostly in quartz, quartzite or flint,dominate largely among the small retouched tools. While quitecommon in other levels, multi-purpose tools (various tool typespresent on a single support) are rare in the ‘‘P’’ levels. The tools aresmall and differ from the larger, rather robust tools common inStratigraphic Unit III. D. Barsky, H. de Lumley / Quaternary International 223-224 (2010) 71–86  73   Table 2 Different raw materials according to typological category and the source location distance for the Caune de l’Arago’s ‘‘P’’ levels’ assemblages.SourcelocationQuartz ¼ 62.4% Silicious crystalline ¼ 14.8% Sedimentary ¼ 4.3% Metamorphic ¼ 12.6%Eruptive ¼ 0.3%Silicious sedimentary ¼ 5.6%Total/%Local Local Min 15 km Tothe SELocal Min 15 km tothe SELocal Local Local Local Local Local  w 30 km tothe NEMin 15 kmto the SEDiverselocations 5 to10 km awayLocalType Milky filonianquartzTranslucentquartzBlue translucentquartzQuartzite Fine greyquartziteSandstonequartziteSandstone Limestone Schiste,micaschisteGneissLavaFlint Jaspe Flint SilicioussedimentaryWhole and brokenpebbles > 4 cm10 2 1 2 5 5 28 5 1 59 0.8Percussioninstruments2 1 1 2 3 9 0.1Angular fragments > 2 cm555 127 16 9 13 34 36 7 6 1 2 6 2 1 3 818 10,6Angular fragments < 2 cm587 137 18 5 1 13 24 15 4 4 6 814 10.5Flakes > 2 cm 749 496 60 83 219 293 106 9 103 11 10 119 12 7 17 2294 29.7Retouch flakes 978 654 54 54 107 140 67 4 7 9 3 147 7 6 23 2260 29.3Blades 5 6 1 6 5 1 1 7 1 2 35 0.5Cores 73 27 11 5 17 11 7 1 9 1 8 1 3 3 177 2.3Retouched tools 134 110 7 17 54 29 13 2 8 2 31 5 1 7 420 5.4Handaxes 1 2 4 4 1 13 2 4 1 32 0.4Worked pebbles 2 1 2 1 1 7 0.1Indeterminateschiste799 799 10.3Total 3096 1561 168 178 423 537 260 69 955 22 21 326 27 20 61 7724 100%% 40.1 20.1 2.2 2.3 5.5 7.0 3.4 0.9 12.3 0.3 0.3 4.2 0.3 0.3 0.8 100% D  .B  a r  s  k    y  ,H  . d   e L   u m l    e   y   /    Q  u a  t   e r  n a r   y I    n t   e r  n a  t   i    o  n a  l   2  2   3  -2  2  4    (   2   0  1   0    )    7  1  – 8   6   7  4    Becked tools are frequent and notches were also made neardistal extremities in order to achieve points, taking advantage of adjacent fractures or pointed flake tips to create hooked points(Fig. 4). There are also more classic and very typical pointed tools,such as Tayac and Quinson points and  proto-limaces . Scrapers(nearly 50% of the retouched tools) are almost always adjacent toa naturally converging edge; thus contributing to the creation of a point. The tools’ pointed extremities often show traces of usewear such asflat inverseretouchand manyof thepointedtipshavebeenbrokenoff(boththetipsandthebrokenpointbases are foundin the assemblage).While notches are common, true denticulates are rare (with theexception of Tayac points). There are a few very small  perçoirs  butno borers. End scrapers are quite frequent and show standardizedmorphology. They were almost always fashioned on thick milkyvein quartz supports.Concerning retouch, some tools show Quina or demi-Quinatechnique, although edges are not very thick. Such pieces do nottherefore appear to be the result of sharpening but rather of shaping. Other tools with flat invasive retouch and very regularedges were shaped using a soft percussion instrument. Otherunexpected characteristics often associated with more recent Fig. 2.  Global raw material frequency and procurement distances for the Caune de l’Arago’s ‘‘P’’ levels assemblages. Raw material’s frequency has been calculated using the numberof pieces  > 2 cm present in the assemblage. The large majority of these raw materials come from local sources, mainly the Verdouble river alluvia. Fig. 3.  Global lithic type distribution and relative configured tool frequency for the Caune de l’Arago’s ‘‘P’’ levels’ assemblages. Compared with occupation floors higher up in thestratigraphy, handaxes are well represented. The frequency of flakes relative to angular fragments is also distinctive of these levels and is likely related to raw material quality andthe dominance of discoidal flaking techniques. D. Barsky, H. de Lumley / Quaternary International 223-224 (2010) 71–86  75
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