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Raw material procurement and land use in the northern Mediterranean Arc: insight from the first Proto-Aurignacian of Riparo Mochi (Balzi Rossi, Italy)

Abstract : This study aims to provide a general model of one of the settlement/mobility dynamics adopted by human groups during the very early Upper Palaeolithic in Western Europe. Two lithic assemblages-coming from the base of the Proto-Aurignacian layer (Unit G) and from the top of the semi sterile Unit H-located in the east sector (1959 excavation) of the well-known Italian prehistoric key-site, Riparo Mochi (Grimaldi caves, Balzi Rossi) have been dated to about 41 500 calBP. Both assemblages are analyzed from a petrographical, technological, and functional perspective. The data suggest the existence of a large territory from the Rhone valley to central Tyrrhenian Italy where the earliest Proto-Aurignacian human groups developed their adaptations, moving raw material inside a system of long-distance mobility. Moreover, the archaeological evidence provides different chronological frames of human behavior; accordingly, the first Proto-Aurignacian human groups, while crossing the Liguro-Provençal Arc, gathered and used available resources in a similar way, but with different intensity and effectiveness in time. Two interpretations are possible: either this change in the raw material spectrum reflects a difference in the role played by the Riparo Mochi site within the territory or it documents populations who were better organised to supply rocks of greater suitability.
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Stefano Grimaldi, Guillaume Porraz, Fabio Santaniello. Raw material procurement and land use in the northern Mediterranean Arc: insight from the first Proto-Aurignacian of Riparo Mochi (Balzi Rossi, Italy). Quartär, 2014, 61, pp.113 - 127. ⟨10.7485/QU61_06⟩. ⟨halshs-02517745⟩

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