Variability in the use of macro-tools during the Mesolithic of Northeastern Iberia
Susana Alonso  1, *@  , Manuel Vaquero  1, 2@  , Josep Maria Gené  1, *@  
1 : Universitat Rovira i Virgili
2 : Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES)
* : Auteur correspondant

Macro-tools constitute an important part of the Mesolithic assemblages from the beginning of the Holocene. In this category we include both worked cobbles and cobbles intentionally transported and used without being previously modified. Despite its importance, the study of these macro-tools has generally received little attention from researchers. This contrasts with the remarkable presence of these artifacts and with their great variability at different levels (morphology, raw material, size, use). In addition, they often represent the main component of the assemblages in terms of weight, with what this implies concerning the cost associated with their transport and use.

Our objective is to analyze the role of macro-tools in the technical behavior of Mesolithic populations of northeastern Iberia. As a case study, we will present the macro-tools found at the Abric Agut site (Capellades, Barcelona, Spain). The Abric Agut sequence has been dated between ca. 12,000 and 10,000 years cal BP and corresponds to the Mesolithic Macrolithic, a technological facies very well represented in the whole of Iberia at the beginning of the Holocene and defined by the expedient nature of the knapping and tool manufacture strategies. The stigmas of use documented in the Abric Agut macro-tools indicate a wide variety of uses in essential domestic activities associated with subsistence. It is difficult to discern if this diversity of functions responds to the multifunctional character of these artifacts or to the successive reuse of these elements throughout the formation of the level. We must keep in mind that, due to their size, some of these artifacts could be considered as site furniture. We propose the technical and functional study of these artifacts, and the identification of different moments of use, as a diagnostic element in the identification of tasks.

The use of macro-tools in expedient technical contexts is fundamental to identify the subsistence activities of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. In addition, we think that these artifacts can play an essential role in the cultural characterization of the populations from the beginning of the Holocene, especially in relation to the use of macro-tools in the immediately preceding moments. With this objective, we will make a comparison with the macro-tools found in the Molí del Salt (Vimbodí i Poblet, Tarragona, Spain), a late Upper Paleolithic site dating from ca. 15,000 to 13,000 years cal BP.


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