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On the Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Mediterranean Lower Paleolithic Sites: A Geoarchaeological Perspective

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Paleoanthropology of the Balkans and Anatolia

Part of the book series: Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology ((VERT))

Abstract

Lower Paleolithic evidence from the Mediterranean region holds a prominent position in discussions about the earliest peopling of Europe. Most studies examining patterns of human occupation focus on purported behavioral capacity, habitat preference, and environmental tolerance of different hominins. This chapter employs a geoarchaeological perspective through the examination of landscape dynamics as a complementary approach. In this context, Lower Paleolithic records of the Mediterranean and the Balkans are reviewed with an emphasis on the geomorphological settings of the best-studied sites. Since most of the oldest, well dated and primary-context material occurs in open-air sites situated in basins, the last part of the chapter explores how basin dynamics could have conditioned the preservation and accessibility of artifact-bearing strata. Spain, Italy, and Greece are used as case-studies and a conceptual model is proposed as a means to assess possible patterned relationships of site locations. A “basin model” offers a working hypothesis for evaluating site distributions and outlines first steps towards a geosciences-based methodology, which can be used to locate new sites.

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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the editors for inviting me to contribute to this volume and for their help in the reviewing process. Moreover, I warmly thank R. Dennell and two anonymous reviewers for helping me to improve the manuscript. Thanks are also due to P. Karkanas and M. Skourtsos for productive discussions on the basin model. Finally, I wish to acknowledge the financial support of the ERC Starting Grant Project PaGE (No. 283503).

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Tourloukis, V. (2016). On the Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Mediterranean Lower Paleolithic Sites: A Geoarchaeological Perspective. In: Harvati, K., Roksandic, M. (eds) Paleoanthropology of the Balkans and Anatolia. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-0874-4_18

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