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Assessing site formation and assemblage integrity through stone tool refitting at Gruta da Oliveira (Almonda karst system, Torres Novas, Portugal): A Middle Paleolithic case study

Deschamps, Marianne ; Zilhão, João Petraglia, Michael D. (editor)

PLoS ONE, 2018, Vol.13(2) [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    Assessing site formation and assemblage integrity through stone tool refitting at Gruta da Oliveira (Almonda karst system, Torres Novas, Portugal): A Middle Paleolithic case study
  • Autor: Deschamps, Marianne ; Zilhão, João
  • Petraglia, Michael D. (editor)
  • Assuntos: Research Article ; Social Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Earth Sciences ; Social Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Social Sciences ; Earth Sciences ; Social Sciences ; Earth Sciences ; Earth Sciences ; Earth Sciences ; Social Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Earth Sciences ; Social Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Earth Sciences
  • É parte de: PLoS ONE, 2018, Vol.13(2)
  • Descrição: We use stone tool refitting to assess palimpsest formation and stratigraphic integrity in the basal units of the Gruta da Oliveira archeo-stratigraphic sequence, layers 15–27, which TL and U-series dating places in late Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 or early MIS 4. As in most karst contexts, the formation of this succession involved multiple and complex phenomena, including subsidence, bioturbation, carnivore activity and runoff as agents of potential post-depositional disturbance. During phases of stabilization, such as represented by layers 15, 21 and 22, the excavated area was inhabited and refits corroborate that post-depositional displacement is negligible. Layers 23–25 and 16–19 correspond to subdivisions that slice thick geological units primarily formed of material derived from the cave’s entrance via slope dynamics. Refit links are consistent with rapid fill-up of the interstitial spaces found in the Karren-like bedrock (for layers 23–25), or left between large boulders after major roof-collapse events (for layers 16–19). Layers 26 (the “Mousterian Cone”) and 27 are a “bottom-of-hourglass” deposit underlying the main sedimentary body; the refits show that this deposit consists of material derived from layers 15–25 that gravitated through fissures open in the sedimentary column above. Layer 20, at the interface between two major stratigraphic ensembles, requires additional analysis. Throughout, we found significant vertical dispersion along the contact between sedimentary fill and cave wall. Given these findings, a preliminary analysis of technological change across the studied sequence organized the lithic assemblages into five ensembles: layer 15; layers 16–19; layer 20; layers 21–22; layers 23–25. The lower ensembles show higher percentages of flint and of the Levallois method. Uniquely at the site, the two upper ensembles feature bifaces and cleavers.

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