Early Levallois and the beginning of the Middle Paleolithic in central Italy.

PLoS ONE. 2017;12(10):e0186082 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0186082


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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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Sylvain Soriano
Paola Villa


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Abstract | Full Text

In the second half of the 19th century Pleistocene faunas were discovered in two sites, Sedia del Diavolo and Monte delle Gioie, contained in deposits of the Aniene River in the area of Rome (Latium, Italy). Fieldwork by A.C. Blanc in the late 1930's proved the association of fauna and lithic industry within fluvial deposits interbedded with volcanoclastic layers. A human femoral diaphysis and a metatarsal were later identified in the faunal assemblage from Sedia del Diavolo and evaluated as Neandertal. The lithic assemblages from these two sites were the basis of the definition of the Protopontinian by M. Taschini, which she viewed as a late Middle Pleistocene industry very similar to the later, Upper Pleistocene Pontinian industries, thought to be characteristic of the Latium Mousterian. The chronostratigraphic framework of the Aniene river deposits has been recently updated and the lithic assemblages from these two sites are now confidently dated between 295 and 290 ka, close to the transition from MIS 9 to MIS 8. They fit chronologically between the industries of layers m and d from Torre in Pietra, a site 26 km northwest of Rome. The presence of the Levallois debitage is indisputable yet it occurs within an original technical context, different from what is known in other early occurrences of the Levallois. The date confirms the proposed chronology for the early Levallois in Europe. More importantly these two assemblages demonstrate that this technology can emerge in more diversified contexts than usually described. This suggests that its dispersal in Europe may have been rapid.