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2020-02-10 13:54:29   •   ID: 2150

The Proto-Aurignacian: an independent Technocomplex ?

Figure 1
Figure 1 shows long and straight Dufour bladelets from S/W-France, which are suggested to characterize the Proto-Aurignacian (Aurignacian 0).

Figure 2 displays several Carinated Pieces from the Vezere Valley (Abri Cellier) for the production of twisted Lamelles, typical for an early Classic Aurignacian.

The Proto-Aurignacian on the one hand and the early Aurignacian on the other hand are said to reflect two different techno-typological entities and reflect two different routes of dispersal of Homo sapiens into Europe.

While the Proto-Aurignacian spread via the Near East to Europe via a Mediterranian route, the Classic Early Aurignacian is suggested to have entered Europe via the Danube corridor.

The Protoaurignacian technological signature is said to lie in the production of blades and bladelets within a single and continuous stone knapping sequence. Both products are thus obtained from the same core as the result of its progressive reduction.

The Aurignacian on the other hand shows a dissociated productions, that means that two independent chaînes opératoires to produce blades and bladelets. The bladelets were detached from carinated cores.

Figure 2
Wherever found, we observe a diachronic pattern, with Proto-Aurignacian (Aurignacian 0) assemblages preceding Early Aurignacian (Aurignacian 1) occupations. Both technocomplexes precede the Heinrich-4 Event.

But is this paradigma correct?- I was always confused about the "Proto-Aurignacian" at Fumane and Abri Mochi (Balzi Rossi), where Carinated pieces were incorporated into the Proto-Aurignacian strata. A secondary mixing or an Archaeological reality?

Yvonne Tafelmaier, in her thesis has published detailled data about the topic.

"A study of Aurignacian 0 and 1 lithic assemblages from Labeko Koba (layers VII, VI, and V), Ekain layer IXb (both Basque Country / Spain), and Arbreda H (Catalonia / Spain) with special focus on laminar blank production has been conducted.

In addition to the empiric data secondary data on Proto-and early Aurignacian assemblage variability have been acquired. Significant overlaps with regard to technological as well as typological aspects became apparent. Both the typological (Laplace 1966) as well as the technological definition (Teyssandier et al. 2010) proved to be insufficient to clearly differentiate the two "entities".

Numerous assemblages exist that yield characteristics of both phases. Therefore a cultural interpretation featuring different technological traditions is rejected (Teyssandier 2006). In contrast, it is proposed to consider Aurignacian 0 and 1 occupations as more complex adaptive manifestations drawing upon a common technological Repertoire

Therefore it seems reasonable to conclude that both entities were the emanation of one larger technocomplex that spread over Europe at ca 40 k.a. BP.

Suggested Reading:

Tafelmaier, Yvonne: Technological variability at the beginning of the Aurignacian in Northern Spain Implications for the Proto- and Early Aurignacian distinction / Wissenschaftliche Schriften des Neanderthal-Museums ; 9 - 2017

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