Trapped in terms - the Protoaurignacian and early Aurignacian of Northern Spain


57th Annual Meeting of the Obermaier Society at Heidenheim 2015. Special Session on Symbolic
communication and modern culture

Yvonne Tafelmaier* (Mettmann) – Trapped in terms - the Protoaurignacian and early Aurignacian of Northern Spain

Beyond doubt the appearance of the Aurignacian marks a turning point in the history of human evolution. By stressing the techno-typological differences, the Proto-Aurignacian on the one hand and the early Aurignacian on the other hand are said to reflect two different routes of dispersal of Homo sapiens into Europe (e.g. Otte 2007). Some researchers claim a diachronic emergence, with Proto-Aurignacian assemblages preceding Aurignacian 1 occupations. Thereby the latter is believed to represent an adaptive shift of the eco-cultural niche accompanied by technological changes as a response to the climatic deteriorations of the HE4 event (Banks et al. 2013). A prerequisite for this approach is a secure attribution of the considered inventories.
A study of Aurignacian 0 & 1 lithic assemblages from Labeko Koba (layers VII, VI, and V), Ekain layer IXb (both Basque Country / Spain), and Arbreda H (Catalonia / Spain) with special focus on laminar blank production has been conducted. In addition to the empiric data secondary data on Proto-and early Aurignacian assemblage variability have been acquired. Significant overlaps with regard to technological as well as typological aspects became apparent. Both the typological (Laplace 1966) as well as the technological definition (Teyssandier et al. 2010) proved to be insufficient to clearly differentiate the two "entities". Numerous assemblages exist that yield characteristics of both phases. Therefore a cultural interpretation featuring different technological traditions is rejected (Teyssandier 2006). In contrast, it is proposed to consider Aurignacian 0 and 1 occupations as more complex adaptive manifestations drawing upon a common technological repertoire.

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