Key External Project Partners

  • Almudena Estalrrich (Goethe University Frankfurt)
  • Domingo Carlos Salazar Garcia (University of Cape Town)

Project Funding

This project is funded by the Max Planck Society and the University of Cape Town.

Diet and Human Adaptation to the Expansion of Forests during the Early Holocene

Dietary resource intensification with high plant use is characteristic of Mesolithic subsistence. Yet, there is little information on when this pattern arose. Using multidisciplinary techniques, this project is assessing if this pattern coincides in Iberia with dramatic climatic warming at the terminal Pleistocene.
The spread of forests in the Bølling-Allerød has often been credited with abrupt cultural change. Zoom Image
The spread of forests in the Bølling-Allerød has often been credited with abrupt cultural change.

Cueva de la Paloma in coastal Iberia (Asturias, Spain) is a cave with Upper Palaeolithic (Magdalenian and Azilian) deposits. It is an important site as it spans an era that witnessed rapid environmental transformation at the end of the Younger Dryas from steppe tundra to temperate pine and birch forest. To survive on the diminishing open country resources, foragers must have radically changed their subsistence strategies. Faunal remains hint at a growing pressure on animal resources at this time, but it is unclear if forest vegetal foods contributed to a subsistence reorganisation. The project involves integrating dental calculus analysis to reconstruct plant consumption with dental microwear and isotopic analysis to reconstruct total diet.

Substance change during the Pleistocene and Holocene Transition is indicated by diversification of foraging tool kits, for example bone harpoon points. Zoom Image
Substance change during the Pleistocene and Holocene Transition is indicated by diversification of foraging tool kits, for example bone harpoon points.

Related Publications

Aura, J. Emili, Valentı́n Villaverde, Manuel González Morales, Cesar González Sainz, João Zilhão, and Lawrence G. Straus. 1998. The Pleistocene–Holocene transition in the Iberian Peninsula: continuity and change in human adaptations." Quaternary International 49: 87-103.

Schmidt, I., Bradtmöller, M., Kehl, M., Pastoors, A., Tafelmaier, Y., Weninger, B., & Weniger, G. C. 2012. Rapid climate change and variability of settlement patterns in Iberia during the Late Pleistocene. Quaternary International, 274, 179-204.

 
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