Publications by authors named "Dan Cabanes"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Early evidence of fire in south-western Europe: the Acheulean site of Gruta da Aroeira (Torres Novas, Portugal).

Sci Rep 2020 07 21;10(1):12053. Epub 2020 Jul 21.

UNIARQ-Centro de Arqueologia da Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Letras, Universidade de Lisboa, 1600-214, Lisbon, Portugal.

The site of Gruta da Aroeira (Torres Novas, Portugal), with evidence of human occupancy dating to ca. 400 ka (Marine Isotope Stage 11), is one of the very few Middle Pleistocene localities to have provided a fossil hominin cranium associated with Acheulean bifaces in a cave context. The multi-analytic study reported here of the by-products of burning recorded in layer X suggests the presence of anthropogenic fires at the site, among the oldest such evidence in south-western Europe. The burnt material consists of bone, charcoal and, possibly, quartzite cobbles. These finds were made in a small area of the cave and in two separate occupation horizons. Our results add to our still-limited knowledge about the controlled use of fire in the Lower Palaeolithic and contribute to ongoing debates on the behavioural complexity of the Acheulean of Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-68839-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7374095PMC
July 2020

Fire and brief human occupations in Iberia during MIS 4: Evidence from Abric del Pastor (Alcoy, Spain).

Sci Rep 2019 12 4;9(1):18281. Epub 2019 Dec 4.

UDI de Prehistoria, Arqueología e Historia Antigua, Departamento de Geografía e Historia, Facultad de Humanidades, Universidad de La Laguna, La Laguna, Spain.

There is a relatively low amount of Middle Paleolithic sites in Europe dating to MIS 4. Of the few that exist, several of them lack evidence for anthropogenic fire, raising the question of how this period of global cooling may have affected the Neanderthal population. The Iberian Peninsula is a key area to explore this issue, as it has been considered as a glacial refugium during critical periods of the Neanderthal timeline and might therefore yield archaeological contexts in which we can explore possible changes in the behaviour and settlement patterns of Neanderthal groups during MIS 4. Here we report recent data from Abric del Pastor, a small rock shelter in Alcoy (Alicante, Spain) with a stratified deposit containing Middle Palaeolithic remains. We present absolute dates that frame the sequence within MIS 4 and multi-proxy geoarchaeological evidence of in situ anthropogenic fire, including microscopic evidence of in situ combustion residues and thermally altered sediment. We also present archaeostratigraphic evidence of recurrent, functionally diverse, brief human occupation of the rock shelter. Our results suggest that Neanderthals occupied the Central Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula during MIS 4, that these Neanderthals were not undergoing climatic stress and they were habitual fire users.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-54305-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6892787PMC
December 2019

Phytoliths as an indicator of early modern humans plant gathering strategies, fire fuel and site occupation intensity during the Middle Stone Age at Pinnacle Point 5-6 (south coast, South Africa).

PLoS One 2018 4;13(6):e0198558. Epub 2018 Jun 4.

Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The study of plant remains in archaeological sites, along with a better understanding of the use of plants by prehistoric populations, can help us shed light on changes in survival strategies of hunter-gatherers and consequent impacts on modern human cognition, social organization, and technology. The archaeological locality of Pinnacle Point (Mossel Bay, South Africa) includes a series of coastal caves, rock-shelters, and open-air sites with human occupations spanning the Acheulian through Middle Stone Age (MSA) and Later Stone Age (LSA). These sites have provided some of the earliest evidence for complex human behaviour and technology during the MSA. We used phytoliths-amorphous silica particles that are deposited in cells of plants-as a proxy for the reconstruction of past human plant foraging strategies on the south coast of South Africa during the Middle and Late Pleistocene, emphasizing the use and control of fire as well as other possible plant uses. We analysed sediment samples from the different occupation periods at the rock shelter Pinnacle Point 5-6 North (PP5-6N). We also present an overview of the taphonomic processes affecting phytolith preservation in this site that will be critical to conduct a more reliable interpretation of the original plant use in the rock shelter. Our study reports the first evidence of the intentional gathering and introduction into living areas of plants from the Restionaceae family by MSA hunter-gatherers inhabiting the south coast of South Africa. We suggest that humans inhabiting Pinnacle Point during short-term occupation events during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 built fast fires using mainly grasses with some wood from trees and/or shrubs for specific purposes, perhaps for shellfish cooking. With the onset of MIS 4 we observed a change in the plant gathering strategies towards the intentional and intensive exploitation of dry wood to improve, we hypothesise, combustion for heating silcrete. This human behaviour is associated with changes in stone tool technology, site occupation intensity and climate change.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0198558PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986156PMC
January 2019

Precise dating of the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition in Murcia (Spain) supports late Neandertal persistence in Iberia.

Heliyon 2017 Nov 16;3(11):e00435. Epub 2017 Nov 16.

Universidad de Murcia, Área de Antropología Física, Facultad de Biología, Campus Universitario de Espinardo, 30100 Murcia, Spain.

The late persistence in Southern Iberia of a Neandertal-associated Middle Paleolithic is supported by the archeological stratigraphy and the radiocarbon and luminescence dating of three newly excavated localities in the Mula basin of Murcia (Spain). At Cueva Antón, Mousterian layer I-k can be no more than 37,100 years-old. At La Boja, the basal Aurignacian can be no less than 36,500 years-old. The regional Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition process is thereby bounded to the first half of the 37th millennium Before Present, in agreement with evidence from Andalusia, Gibraltar and Portugal. This chronology represents a lag of minimally 3000 years with the rest of Europe, where that transition and the associated process of Neandertal/modern human admixture took place between 40,000 and 42,000 years ago. The lag implies the presence of an effective barrier to migration and diffusion across the Ebro river depression, which, based on available paleoenvironmental indicators, would at that time have represented a major biogeographical divide. In addition, (a) the Phlegraean Fields caldera explosion, which occurred 39,850 years ago, would have stalled the Neandertal/modern human admixture front because of the population sink it generated in Central and Eastern Europe, and (b) the long period of ameliorated climate that came soon after (Greenland Interstadial 8, during which forests underwent a marked expansion in Iberian regions south of 40°N) would have enhanced the "Ebro Frontier" effect. These findings have two broader paleoanthropological implications: firstly, that, below the Ebro, the archeological record made prior to 37,000 years ago must be attributed, in all its aspects and components, to the Neandertals (or their ancestors); secondly, that modern human emergence is best seen as an uneven, punctuated process during which long-lasting barriers to gene flow and cultural diffusion could have existed across rather short distances, with attendant consequences for ancient genetics and models of human population history.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2017.e00435DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5696381PMC
November 2017

Early Upper Paleolithic chronology in the Levant: new ABOx-SC accelerator mass spectrometry results from the Mughr el-Hamamah Site, Jordan.

J Hum Evol 2015 Aug 12;85:157-73. Epub 2015 Jun 12.

Department of Anthropology, Emory University, 207 Anthropology Building, 1557 Dickey Dr., Atlanta, GA, 30322, USA.

Methodological developments and new paleoanthropological data remain jointly central to clarifying the timing and systemic interrelationships between the Middle-Upper Paleolithic (MP-UP) archaeological transition and the broadly contemporaneous anatomically modern human-archaic biological turnover. In the recently discovered cave site of Mughr el-Hamamah, Jordan, in situ flint artifacts comprise a diagnostic early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) assemblage. Unusually well-preserved charcoal from hearths and other anthropogenic features associated with the lithic material were subjected to acid-base-wet oxidation-stepped combustion (ABOx-SC) pretreatment. This article presents the ABOx-SC accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates on nine charcoal specimens from a single palimpsest occupation layer. Date calibration was carried out using the INTCAL13 radiocarbon calibration dataset. With the bulk of the material dating to 45-39 ka cal BP (thousands of years calibrated before present), the Mughr el-Hamamah lithic artifacts reveal important differences from penecontemporaneous sites in the region, documenting greater technological variability than previously known for this time frame in the Levant. The radiocarbon data from this EUP archaeological context highlight remaining challenges for increasing chronological precision in documenting the MP-UP transition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.04.008DOI Listing
August 2015

Understanding fossil phytolith preservation: the role of partial dissolution in paleoecology and archaeology.

PLoS One 2015 20;10(5):e0125532. Epub 2015 May 20.

Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 76100, Israel.

Opaline phytoliths are important microfossils used for paleoecological and archaeological reconstructions that are primarily based on relative ratios of specific morphotypes. Recent studies have shown that phytolith assemblages are prone to post-depositional alteration involving partial dissolution, however, the manner in which partial dissolution affects morphotype composition is poorly understood. Here we show that morphotype assemblages from four different plant species subjected to controlled partial dissolution are significantly different from the original assemblages, indicating that the stability of various morphotypes differs, mainly depending on their surface area to bulk ratios. This underlying mechanism produces distorted morphotype compositions in partially dissolved phytolith assemblages, bearing vast implications for morphotype-based paleoecological and archaeological interpretation. Together with analyses of phytolith assemblages from a variety of archaeological sites, our results establish criteria by which well-preserved phytolith assemblages can be selected for accurate paleoecological and archaeological reconstructions.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0125532PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4439089PMC
February 2016