Abrigo del MolinoAbri archaeology E -4.141098, N 40.951899
DescriptionThe Abrigo del Molino archaeological site is located in the valley of the Eresma river, near Segovia in central Spain. It consists of a shallow cave of fluvio-karstic origin, which has been completely filled with detrital deposits. This fully fossilized rockshelter was sectioned longitudinally in the early 1980s by tunnels for Segovia's municipal drainage system and a significant part of the site was destroyed, although its existence remained unnoticed. Abrigo del Molino was discovered in April 2012, within the framework of the ‘First Settlers of Segovia’ research project (http://www.primerospobladoresdesegovia.com/; https://www.facebook.com/primerospobladoresdesegovia), funded by the Junta de Castilla y León.
Excavation started in July 2013, with four archaeological campaigns carried out to date (2013-2016), directed by David Álvarez-Alonso, María de Andrés-Herrero, Julio Rojo and Andrés Díez-Herrero. This project counts with the collaboration of CRC 806 “Our Way to Europe” members for the micromorphological analyses, OSL and radiocarbon dating.
Geo-archaeological interpretation of the genesis of these deposits differentiates three groups: a lower group with sandy loams and fine sands interbedded with pebble and gravel layers, deposited respectively by palaeofloods and slope contributions; a middle group with massive silt and grain-supported boulders, formed by alternating contributions from the overlying slope, karst mudflows and rockfalls from the shelter roof; and an upper group of silt cemented by carbonates, final backfill alteration and degradation of the host rock. The techno-typological characteristics of the lithic assemblage confirm the existence of Mousterian levels at the site presenting the occupation by Neanderthal groups for the first time in karstic environments in the northern Iberian plateau, the southern part of the Duero basin.The importance of Abrigo del Molino lies not only in its geographical location, in an area lacking previous evidence of Mousterian occupations in karst environments, but also in the exceptional preservation of the site. In addition, it is perhaps the most complete of the scarce chronostratigraphic sequences for analysing MIS 3 in the inland Iberian Peninsula