Variation in lithic technological strategies among the Neanderthals of Gibraltar.

PLoS ONE. 2013;8(6):e65185 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0065185


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Journal Title: PLoS ONE

ISSN: 1932-6203 (Online)

Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

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Ceri Shipton

Christopher Clarkson

Marco Antonio Bernal

Nicole Boivin

Clive Finlayson

Geraldine Finlayson

Darren Fa

Francisco Giles Pacheco

Michael Petraglia


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Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

THE EVIDENCE FOR NEANDERTHAL LITHIC TECHNOLOGY IS REVIEWED AND SUMMARIZED FOR FOUR CAVES ON THE ROCK OF GIBRALTAR: Vanguard, Beefsteak, Ibex and Gorham's. Some of the observed patterns in technology are statistically tested including raw material selection, platform preparation, and the use of formal and expedient technological schemas. The main parameters of technological variation are examined through detailed analysis of the Gibraltar cores and comparison with samples from the classic Mousterian sites of Le Moustier and Tabun C. The Gibraltar Mousterian, including the youngest assemblage from Layer IV of Gorham's Cave, spans the typical Middle Palaeolithic range of variation from radial Levallois to unidirectional and multi-platform flaking schemas, with characteristic emphasis on the former. A diachronic pattern of change in the Gorham's Cave sequence is documented, with the younger assemblages utilising more localized raw material and less formal flaking procedures. We attribute this change to a reduction in residential mobility as the climate deteriorated during Marine Isotope Stage 3 and the Neanderthal population contracted into a refugium.