The Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Cova Gran (Catalunya, Spain) and the extinction of Neanderthals in the Iberian Peninsula

Jorge Martínez-Moreno, Rafael Mora, Ignacio de la Torre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The excavations carried out in Cova Gran de Santa Linya (Southeastern PrePyrenees, Catalunya, Spain) have unearthed a new archaeological sequence attributable to the Middle Palaeoloithic/Upper Palaeolithic (MP/UP) transition. This article presents data on the stratigraphy, archaeology, and 14C AMS dates of three Early Upper Palaeolithic and four Late Middle Palaeolithic levels excavated in Cova Gran. All these archaeological levels fall within the 34-32 ka time span, the temporal frame in which major events of Neanderthal extinction took place. The earliest Early Upper Palaeolithic (497D) and the latest Middle Palaeolithic (S1B) levels in Cova Gran are separated by a sterile gap and permit pinpointing the time period in which the Mousterian disappeared from Northeastern Spain. Technological differences between the Early Upper Palaeolithic and Late Middle Palaeolithic industries in Cova Gran support a cultural rupture between the two periods. A series of 12 14C AMS dates prompts reflections on the validity of reconstructions based on radiocarbon data. Thus, results from excavations in Cova Gran lead us to discuss the scenarios relating the MP/UP transition in the Iberian Peninsula, a region considered a refuge of late Neanderthal populations. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-226
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume58
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Archaeo-stratigraphy
  • Cova Gran
  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Middle/Upper Palaeolithic transition
  • Neanderthal extinction

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