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Lithic tools from Arago cave, Tautavel (Pyrénées-Orientales, France): behavioural continuity or raw material determinism during the Middle Pleistocene?

Authors
Journal
Journal of Archaeological Science
0305-4403
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
31
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2003.07.008
Keywords
  • Arago Cave
  • Middle Pleistocene
  • Lithic Tools
  • Raw Material Procurement Strategies
Disciplines
  • Archaeology
  • Earth Science
  • Ecology
  • Geography

Abstract

Abstract Arago cave at Tautavel (Pyrénées-Orientales, France) is one of the earliest known Middle Pleistocene sites in the Pyrenees. The cave contains a long stratigraphic sequence including over twenty archaeological levels, which have yielded abundant bone and lithic remains, including nearly 100 hominid remains. The vast quantity of lithic material is comprised of diverse raw materials, including quartz, quartzite and flints, from both local and distant sources. This raw material diversity makes it possible to establish links between the mechanical properties of the different rock types, the distances separating the sources from the site, technological behaviour and tool types. Moreover, the long chronological sequence reflecting climatic fluctuations and different assemblage types makes Arago cave a privileged site for assessing the influence of environmental factors and assemblage types on certain aspects of prehistoric Man's behaviour during the Middle Pleistocene. Through a detailed lithological, technological and typological study of one aspect of the lithic assemblage, the flake tools, this paper aims to bring to light the factors determining stone tool production at Arago cave during the Middle Pleistocene.

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