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Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 10, Issue 8, pp 2027–2046 | Cite as

The chert abundance ratio (CAR): a new parameter for interpreting Palaeolithic raw material procurement

  • María Soto
  • Bruno Gómez de Soler
  • Josep Vallverdú
Original Paper

Abstract

Raw material provenance and procurement studies are an essential research line to infer landscape exploitation, mobility dynamics and territorial management among prehistoric hunter-gatherer groups. This paper proposes an original and intuitive method, the chert abundance ratio, aimed at quantifying lithic resource occurrence in the landscape while considering the geological natural factors of an area (chert-bearing formation extent, thickness, occurrence index, size and chert content). The resource availability can be statistically compared to any archaeological assemblage distribution to define the procurement strategies, whether generalist or selective, and the mobility patterns. The study area, the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula, focused in the Prades Mountains, represents a regional scenario with high chert disposal shared by several Late Upper Palaeolithic occupations. The discrimination of the procurement areas is used as a parameter for outlining the foraging radius and the territorial range, contributing to an understanding of several aspects of the settlement, such as site functions, occupation length or intensity and group size.

Keywords

Chert abundance ratio Lithic raw materials Procurement strategies Foraging radius NE Iberian Peninsula Late Upper Palaeolithic 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors want to thank all the directors and people involved in the fieldwork of the studied sites and sincerely thank Juan I. Morales, Palmira Saladie and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments in order to improve the manuscript. This research has been supported by Catalonian Government, under Archaeological and Palaeontological Quadrennial Projects 2014/100574, 2014/100575, research group SGR2014-901 (AGAUR) and the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain, under projects HAR2013-41197-P, CGL2016-80000-P and CGL2015-65387-C3-1-P (MINECO/FEDER).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Soto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bruno Gómez de Soler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Josep Vallverdú
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.IPHES. Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució SocialTarragonaSpain
  2. 2.Àrea de PrehistòriaURV, Universitat Rovira i VirgiliTarragonaSpain

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