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2016-06-17 03:52:42   •   ID: 1417

Levallois- Mousterian in S-Italy

Figure 1
Figure 1 shows two Quina scrapers and three retouched and elongated Levallois products from the Gargano and from Venosa (Basilicata). While the Gargano has been introduced during earlier posts - the Basilicata also known as Lucania is a region in the south of Italy, bordering on Campania to the west, Apulia (Puglia) to the north and east, and Calabria to the south/west.

Figure 2
The Levallois-based artifacts come from a surface site in the Gargano. Two of them are pretty blade based and have affinity to the late Mousterian in N-Italy immediately before the arrival of AMH (Figure 2).

New excavations in N and S-Italy have shown, that the evolution of the Italian Middle Paleolithic follows in large lines the evolution of this complex in S-France.

At the Grotta di Fumane, an important site in northern Italy, which has been extensively explored over the last two decades a succession of Mousterian- Uluzzian-Protoaurignacian and Aurignacian (and early Aurignacin parietal paintings  and an ochered shell in the late Mousterian !) was documented and extensively dated (http://www.ice-age-europe.eu/visit-us/network-members/fumane-cave.html).

The 12 m thick sedimentary sequence are related to repeat and complex human occupations. The earliest assemblages record the almost exclusive use of the Levallois method (MIS 5-4) for the production of flakes with unidirectional and centripetal recurrent modalities.

The first striking technological replacement occurs in BR6, up to BR3, where there is a complex of layers with the infrequent occurrence of bones, flakes and scrapers, made with a method closely resembling the Quina technique (MIS4).

Further evidence of variability in lithic technology is provided by the re-appearance of the Levallois technology during MIS3, in layer A11 – although here focused more on blades than flakes – and by the Levallois/Discoid alternance throughout the transect from A10V to A5-A6 (MIS3).

Guado San Nicola (Monteroduni, Molise) was recently dated to the MIS 11-10 boundary (see comments) by the 40Ar/39Ar method and provided an ensemble of Levallois products within an Acheulean context. This is older than the recently reported "earliest Levalloisian from Eurasia" at Nor Geghi 1, Armenia (OIS10/9e boundary). Nor Geghi 1, Armenia, was recently reported being the earliest site with synchronic use of bifacial and Levallois technology outside Africa. Units 5 to 4 at this site are correlated with late OIS 10/early OIS 9e, whereas Units 3 to 2 with OIS 9e (335 to 325 k.a.)

In North Italy the oldest Levalloisian was reported from  San Bernardino Cave (MIS8/7 boundary). Although the Levallois method was suggested to be absent in S-Italia during MIS5-3, stratified sites with Levallois based ensembles and absolute dates have been excavated during the last two decades, contradicting the view, that the Italian South did not share the technical and cultural innovations in the rest of Europe.

The Levallois technique during the last interglacial/glacial cycle (MIS5 and later) is now well established, especially in Puglia.  For example, the layer B of the Grotta Bernardini which recently was dated to a period just after 108 k.a. shows basically a Levallois mode of lithic production, as the industry  of  the G layer  at Grotta Romanelli  (MIS 4/3) and corresponding strata of the  Grotta Titti.