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Palaeolithic creation and later visits of symbolic spaces: radiocarbon AMS dating and cave art in the Sala de las Pinturas in Ojo Guareña (Burgos, Spain)

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Abstract

The comprehensive study of spaces decorated during the Palaeolithic is able to obtain information about visits to the sites and their uses. However, it is essential to determine the temporal relationship between the different forms of archaeological evidence and not assume their synchronicity with the parietal art. Therefore, numerical dates are necessary. 14C-AMS dates for the art and other evidence in the Sala de las Pinturas in Ojo Guareña Cave have documented discontinuous human visits to the site from ~ 13,000 to ~ 1000 cal BP, in the course of at least five phases. This new information implies the observation and probably the use of the Palaeolithic art by farming communities after its creation by hunter-gatherers. The fact that decorated caves were used repeatedly adds a new dimension to the study of Palaeolithic art, which may have been reused in a time after it was produced, and underscores the need to date archaeological events to understand the degree of synchronicity and/or diachronicity of the human actions.

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Acknowledgements

The Junta de Castilla y León authorised the archaeological study with the Ojo Guareña Dating Project. The Fundación Atapuerca reached an agreement with the Junta de Castilla y León enabling this work to be carried out. The Deputation of Burgos and the Grupo Espeleológico Edelweiss are thanked for their unending support and for funding three of the dates published here. Marco Vidal is thanked for his specific collaboration in the fieldwork and collection of samples.

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This study was funded by Junta de Castilla y León (research project Ojo Guareña Dating Project).

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Ortega-Martínez, A.I., Martín-Merino, M.Á. & García-Diez, M. Palaeolithic creation and later visits of symbolic spaces: radiocarbon AMS dating and cave art in the Sala de las Pinturas in Ojo Guareña (Burgos, Spain). Archaeol Anthropol Sci 12, 240 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-020-01208-w

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