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2019-12-19 17:09:08   •   ID: 2141

Lower Paleolithic from Valley of Miñor (Val Miñor), Galicia, Spain

Figure 1
This is an impressive heavy (2,6 kg) Quartzite"Chopper / Core" (ca 16 cm diameter) from Val Miñor, found during the 1950ies by the Writer and Archaeologist Pedro Diaz Alvarez, together with other Chopper / Chopping tools and simple flakes. Pedro Diaz Alvarez mainly worked in Galicia during the 1950ies.

Figure 2
At his time "archaic tools" in the North-West of the Iberian Peninsula came from open-air sites at the terraces of the Miño river, Val Miñor and in the littoral high terraces.

Nevertheless, records were not always homogeneous and did not came from stratigraphic context. Anyhow eminent reserchers such as Breuil were convinced, that these artifacts were from lower Pleistocene.

Wil Roebroeks and Thijs van Kolfschoten, during the 1990ies pleaded for a stringent and critical assessment of suggested early Pleistocene sites in Europe and concluded, that there was no evidence for a settlement of Europe by Humans prior to 500 k.a.

Figure 3
During the coming decades, this paradigm faded away, mainly because in South Europe (Italia, Iberian Peninsula) in-situ ensembles with Early to Early Middle Pleistocene Archaeological materials were detected.

One of the most important Early Paleolithic ensembles in central Span are documented at Sima del Elefante-one of the archaeo-palaeontological sites of Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain).

Figure 4
The importance of the Atapuerca complex in the context of the Early and Middle Pleistocene human occupation of Europe can hardly be overestimated.

The lower levels of at Sima del Elefante (Units TE-TE14) are an essential reference for understanding the early stages of the colonization of Europe. The TE9c level has provided stone tools (Mode 1), faunal remains, and human fossils dated to 1, 22 Ma.

Levels TD6 in the Gran Dolina cave at Atapuerca, on the other hand, represent a remarkable intense occupation, with features of a base camp, including human remains of "H. antecessor" dated dated by biostratigraphy, paleomagnetism and ESR to an age of 0,8-0,9 Ma.

Figure 5
In Fuente Nueva 3 and Barranco León 5 (Granada) faunal remains and lithic Mode-1 artifacts with a chronology of 1,3 million were subsequently described.

It is probable, that the relationship between the Early and Middle Pleistocene human settlements was discontinous with marked technological and behavioral differences.

We don't know not a single in-situ early Pleistocene or even early middle Pleistocene site in N/W- Spain, despite intensive field work that has been performed during the last 15 years (see attached files).

In Galicia, for example in the Monforte Basin and Chopping Tools are mostly associated with Handaxes and the use of Quartzite is common. If Mode 1 artifacts are part of the initial settlement of N/W-Iberia or are simply part of an Acheulian remains unclear.

In so far the Archaeological record in this region did not change since Pedro Diaz Alvarez times. Absolute dates are still missing and Mode-1 artifacts could be either 1,2My old or even considerably younger perhaps -300 k.a. old.

Importantly the artifact, shown in this post has no similarity to the local Holocene "Asturian" see here: 1309 , but resembles the heavy duty component of the Middle and High Terraces of the Garonne and Tarn valley and last but not least resembles the Pebble tools from Terra Amata (Nice; France) and may indeed be very old.