Programmes > Par auteur > Corchón Mª Soledad

Management of habitation spaces during Middle Magdalenian. A comparative study of levels from Las Caldas cave
Paula Ortega-Martínez  1, *@  , Mª Soledad Corchón  2@  
1 : MONREPOS Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz (RGZM)
2 : Universidad de Salamanca
* : Auteur correspondant

Traditionally Palaeolithic researches have been based on the study of material objects and rock art. But occupational contexts -cave, rockshelter or open air site- cannot be understood as simple containers of materials. Spatial dynamics, management of living space and even landscape, respond to a tradition and ideas reflected in cultural identity. This research proposes the characterization of Middle Magdalenian social groups through their social organization on the habitat space.

Magdalenian is a well-documented period in the Nalon Basin. This is a region widely occupied from the end of the Pleistocene until the Holocene, proved with the large concentration of Palaeolithic sites: more than 20 caves and rock shelters occupied between the Early Upper Paleolithic and Final Paleolithic. Although the Middle Magdalenian was a brilliant period, it is scarce in levels in Cantabrian region with the exception of Las Caldas cave. Specifically, Las Caldas cave preserves the complete Magdalenian sequence (17 levels) dated between 15 000 and 12500 BP.: the four lower ones correspond to the Lower Magdalenian (XIII-XI). Extending over level X, there is an extensive Middle Magdalenian sequence (IX to IV), a level of transitional characteristics (III), and another five from the Upper and Final Magdalenian in Chamber II (II to I and -I to -III). Analyses considered here are focused on Middle Magdalenian layers (VI-IX) and they are based on another carried out in IX layer (Corchón et al 2016). This is a large sedimentary stratum (60 to 70 cm thick) deposited on a very cold and wet stage (GS-2). The fauna includes cold steppes species hunted, also represented in the portable Art (Rangifer tarandus, mammutus primigenius, Coelodonta antiquitatis) (Corchon 1997). The presence of different layers and a wide stratigraphy confirms the reiterated occupation of this site during ca. 13600 BP

The identification and characterization of the areas of activity documented on the occupation soils let us recognize the custom activities by statistical and GIS methodologies and interpret a functionality. In addition, a comparative analysis of different layers allows us to identify and discern the uses of the spaces in each activity carried out in the site, and also the change processes in this management of the space across the sequence. This space management is undoubtedly more complicated to perceive in small spaces. The patterns of social behavior indicated in larger contexts are constrained in some caves or rockshelter. The habitation space available in Las Caldas cave, barely 12 m2, and the dimensions of the concentrations of materials allows us to recover old axioms on the individual's spatiality and reflect on the social dynamics of the groups that occupied the cavity. Also, the differences in the concentrations along the sequence let us to reflect on social and group patterns in Middle Magdalenian. In this sense, the concept of space and the dynamics of management habitation space allow us to delve into the defining features of the societies that occupied the landscape of Cantabrian region during the Middle Magdalenian.


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