Here we present the results of a microcontextual analysis of purported combustion features recovered from Middle and Upper Paleolithic occupations at the cave site of Fumane, Italy. Our analyses, which integrate micromorphology with organic petrology, show that only a few of the features represent primary, intact hearths; some of them show evidence for various phases of anthropogenic reworking, either through trampling or sweeping and dumping. Several of the features are multi-layered and reflect a complex formation history of various activities related to combustion and site maintenance. Many appear to be the remnants of occupation horizons only partially preserved and peripherally related to combustion. Within several of the intact hearths from the Mousterian, we were able to identify variable fuel sources in different features, implying a degree of flexibility in the fuel-selection strategies of the Neanderthal occupants of Fumane. In this study we design a classification system of the anthropogenic features and also conduct a spatial analysis, through which we can infer diachronic patterns in the frequency and intensity of site occupation and the spatial distribution of activities. We note a decrease in frequency of combustion features throughout the Mousterian which continues into the Uluzzian. The features associated with the Protoaurignacian occupation, in contrast with those from the Mousterian, are multi-layered and well-defined. We argue that these trends, which correspond with other trends in artefact frequency, imply changes in the settlement dynamics of the site during the transition from the last Neanderthal occupation of the cave to the arrival of modern humans.

Middle and Upper Paleolithic occupations of Fumane Cave (Italy): a geoarchaeological investigation of the anthropogenic features

Peresani M.
Ultimo
Conceptualization
2023

Abstract

Here we present the results of a microcontextual analysis of purported combustion features recovered from Middle and Upper Paleolithic occupations at the cave site of Fumane, Italy. Our analyses, which integrate micromorphology with organic petrology, show that only a few of the features represent primary, intact hearths; some of them show evidence for various phases of anthropogenic reworking, either through trampling or sweeping and dumping. Several of the features are multi-layered and reflect a complex formation history of various activities related to combustion and site maintenance. Many appear to be the remnants of occupation horizons only partially preserved and peripherally related to combustion. Within several of the intact hearths from the Mousterian, we were able to identify variable fuel sources in different features, implying a degree of flexibility in the fuel-selection strategies of the Neanderthal occupants of Fumane. In this study we design a classification system of the anthropogenic features and also conduct a spatial analysis, through which we can infer diachronic patterns in the frequency and intensity of site occupation and the spatial distribution of activities. We note a decrease in frequency of combustion features throughout the Mousterian which continues into the Uluzzian. The features associated with the Protoaurignacian occupation, in contrast with those from the Mousterian, are multi-layered and well-defined. We argue that these trends, which correspond with other trends in artefact frequency, imply changes in the settlement dynamics of the site during the transition from the last Neanderthal occupation of the cave to the arrival of modern humans.
2023
1, 4. Marcazzan D.; Miller, C. E.; Ligouis, B.; Duches, R.; Conard, N. J.; Peresani, M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2488877
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