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Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 2375–2383 | Cite as

Micro-PIXE studies on prehistoric chert tools: elemental mapping to determine Palaeolithic lithic procurement

  • Marta Sánchez de la TorreEmail author
  • Anikó Angyal
  • Zsófia Kertész
  • Stéphan Dubernet
  • François-Xavier Le Bourdonnec
  • Enikő Papp
  • Zoltán Szoboszlai
  • Zsófia Török
  • Ákos Csepregi
  • Zita Szikszai
Original Paper
  • 203 Downloads

Abstract

This paper contributes to an understanding of the distances and choices involved in raw material procurement strategies by Upper Palaeolithic communities through a Pyrenean geo-archaeological case study. Methodologically, it involved using Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) with a focused proton beam to determine the concentration and distribution of elements in geological samples from three natural primary outcrops belonging to two geological formations outcropping in the French side of the Pyrenees. While it was not possible to distinguish the formation through reference to major and minor elements, some variations were revealed at the trace elemental level. With the aim to determine if these elements were associated with the Si matrix or to a specific inclusion, elemental maps were acquired, and the elemental composition of the identified inclusions were also determined. These chemical signatures were then compared to those generated from archaeological artefacts from sites in northern Spain as a means of reconstructing the catchment areas used by prehistoric groups for their chert procurement. The results indicate the existence of trans-Pyrenean long distance procurement strategies during the Magdalenian (13,700 to the 18,800 cal BP).

Keywords

Micro-PIXE Chert Provenance Mapping 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Authors are indebted to Drs. X. Mangado, J.M. Fullola, O. Mercadal, P. Utrilla and C. Mazo for allowing the analysis of archaeological samples from Parco Cave, Montlleó open-air-site and Forcas I Shelter. Authors are indebted to Dr. Tristan Carter for the English revision of the manuscript.

Funding information

This study is financially supported by the Access to Research Infrastructures activity in the Horizon 2020 Programme of the EU (IPERION CH Grant Agreement n. 654028) for projects ChertPixe (The geochemical characterisation of chert by PIXE: a key to understand human mobility in the Pyrenees during the Prehistory) and ChertPixe 2.0 (Characterising the geochemical features of Magdalenian chert tools by PIXE. Tracing prehistoric human mobility in the Pyrenees) (MR: M. Sánchez de la Torre). M. Sánchez de la Torre was also funded by a postdoctoral grant from the Initiative d’Excellence de l’Université de Bordeaux and a Prestige - Marie-Curie (PRESTIGE-2016-2-0022) and now is funded by a postdoctoral Juan de la Cierva contract from the Spanish Government (FCJI-2016-27911).

Supplementary material

12520_2018_668_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (56 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 56 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Sánchez de la Torre
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Anikó Angyal
    • 4
  • Zsófia Kertész
    • 4
  • Stéphan Dubernet
    • 2
  • François-Xavier Le Bourdonnec
    • 2
  • Enikő Papp
    • 4
  • Zoltán Szoboszlai
    • 4
  • Zsófia Török
    • 4
  • Ákos Csepregi
    • 4
  • Zita Szikszai
    • 4
  1. 1.Dpto. Ciencias de la Antigüedad (PPVE)Universidad de ZaragozaZaragozaSpain
  2. 2.IRAMAT-CRP2A (UMR 5060), CNRS/Université Bordeaux Montaigne, Maison de l’ArchéologiePessacFrance
  3. 3.SERP-Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Institute for Nuclear ResearchHungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA Atomki)DebrecenHungary

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