Neanderthal communities in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula: taphonomic and zooarchaeological study of the Mousterian site of Jarama VI (Guadalajara, Spain)

Abstract

The Mousterian site of Jarama VI (Guadalajara, Spain) has three archaeological levels corresponding to the final Middle Palaeolithic. Taphonomic and zooarchaeological analyses have determined important changes in the functionality of the site in relation to the species consumed and the nutrients that were sought. The first occupations consisted of a long-term residential camp with consumption and meat and skin treatment actions at different seasons in a cold environment. Level 2 represents an occupation focused on the casual exploitation of plant resources with minimal hunting of animals in summer and autumn. Last, level 1 corresponds to a hunting site focused on the capture and processing of ungulates from the end of spring to summer. The study of bone material at this settlement suggests that Neanderthal communities in the centre of Iberia changed their subsistence strategies over time according to cultural rather than climatic patterns.

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Acknowledgements

This study was carried out under the project “Prehistoric Research on the Upper Jarama Valley (Valdesotos, Guadalajara, Spain)” authorized by the Autonomous Government of Castilla–La Mancha (Spain) and directed by J.F.J.P. We thank to J. Benyei and P. Smith for the language revision. A.J.R. has a research and teaching staff in training contract (PDIF) at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).

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Romero, A.J., Carlos Díez, J., Arceredillo, D. et al. Neanderthal communities in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula: taphonomic and zooarchaeological study of the Mousterian site of Jarama VI (Guadalajara, Spain). Archaeol Anthropol Sci 11, 1713–1725 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-018-0625-7

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Keywords

  • Taphonomy
  • Zooarchaeology
  • Neanderthal
  • Mousterian
  • Middle Palaeolithic
  • Subsistence strategies
  • Hunting