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The Acheulean Technocomplex of the Iberian Atlantic Margin as an Example of Technology Continuity Through the Middle Pleistocene

Abstract

This article provides a synthesis of the Middle Pleistocene hominin record of West Iberia, which comprises sites displaying abundant concentrations of large flake Acheulean (LFA) assemblages, as well as isolated examples of Early Middle Palaeolithic (EMP) technology. These sites typically have age ranges spanning marine isotopic stages (MIS) 11–6, within the second half of the Middle Pleistocene, and are primarily located in fluvial environments related to the main regional river basins. The LFA sites display extensive occurrences of handaxes and cleavers on flake blanks (detached from large cores), with a large number of knapping remains, such as flakes or small-medium cores, showing simple reduction patterns. Over the identified age range of these sites, especially during the MIS 9–6 interval, we observe constant technological stability, without strong variations over time, and independent of the functionality of individual sites. These fixed technological and behavioural patterns reinforce the African affinities of the southwestern European Acheulean, in contrast to Acheulean assemblages identified in the northernmost areas of Europe.

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Acknowledgements

All authors collaborate within the framework of the project Miño/Minho, Os primeiros habitantes do Baixo Minho. Estudo das ocupações pleistocénicas da região. The authors appreciate the work of Raquel Rojas Mendoza in the drawing of lithic industry of the As Carvalhas site. All the authors thank the organizers of the session XIV-4 at the XVIII UISPP Conference (Paris, France), Roxane Rocca, Jordi Serangeli and Vincent Lhomme, for the invitation to participate in this special issue, and we thank the anonymous reviewers and the Editor in Chief (Shannon McPherron) for their constructive comments and suggestions, which helped to improve this paper.

Funding

E.M.Q. is funded by Post-Doc Xunta de Galicia Grant ED481B-2018/063. M. Demuro is funded by Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award DE160100743, and L.J.A. is funded by ARC Future Fellowship project FT130100195. M. Duval is funded by ARC Future Fellowship Grant FT150100215.

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This article belongs to the Topical Collection: In the shadow of the biface. Complexity of Middle Pleistocene technical systems in Europe

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Méndez-Quintas, E., Santonja, M., Arnold, L.J. et al. The Acheulean Technocomplex of the Iberian Atlantic Margin as an Example of Technology Continuity Through the Middle Pleistocene. J Paleo Arch 3, 918–943 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41982-020-00057-2

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Keywords

  • Middle Pleistocene
  • Lower Palaeolithic
  • Large flake Acheulean (LFA)
  • Early Middle Palaeolithic (EMP)
  • West Iberia