Middle Palaeolithic technical behaviour: Material import-export and Levallois production at the SU 13 of Oscurusciuto rock shelter, Southern Italy

  • Giulia Marciani Università degli Studi di Ferrara
  • Vincenzo Spagnolo Università degli Studi di Siena
  • Daniele Aureli Università degli Studi di Siena
  • Filomena Ranaldo Università degli Studi di Siena
  • Paolo Boscato Università degli Studi di Siena
  • Annamaria Ronchitelli Università degli Studi di Siena
Keywords: Middle Palaeolithic, Neanderthals, technical behaviour, lithic, southern Italy

Abstract


The Oscurusciuto rock shelter, located in southern Italy (Puglia), has yielded a long Middle Palaeolithic stratigraphy rich in lithic assemblages, fireplaces and faunal remains, attesting Neanderthal occupation during the MIS 3. This paper is focused on the stratigraphic unit 13, consisting of a sandy compact deposit mixed with pyroclastic sediment above a thick level of tephra-US 14, identified as Mt. Epomeo green tuff (dated Ar/Ar ~ 55 ka).

Level 13 represents the first stable human occupation after the deposition of tephra. Our goal was to examine the lithic assemblage of this stratigraphic unit by means of an interdisciplinary approach (technology, RMU, refitting program) in order to identify the economic behaviour and technical strategies of Neanderthals occupying the stratigraphic unit 13 of Oscurusciuto.

The technical strategies applied indicate fragmentation of the reduction processes, as well as probable events of importation and exportation of objects. The lithic material were introduced at different stages of manufacturing. Pieces were introduced in the form of rough objects (pebbles), as well as semi-finished items, and as finished tools. This fragmentation of the chaîne opératoire also demonstrate the palimpsest nature of the level which is made up of different events happening one after another.

The main concept of debitage was Levallois, generally realized on local jasper and siliceous limestone pebbles or cortical flakes. Jasper and siliceous limestone flakes, backed flakes and convergent flakes were the technological objectives of the debitage. A marginal volumetric debitage aimed at producing bladelets was also attested. 

Author Biographies

Giulia Marciani, Università degli Studi di Ferrara

Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici,
Sezione di Scienze Preistoriche e Antropologiche,
Università degli Studi di Ferrara

Department of History, History of Art,
Universitat Rovira I Virgili Tarragona

Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente, UR Preistoria e Antropologia,
Università degli Studi di Siena

Vincenzo Spagnolo, Università degli Studi di Siena
Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente, UR Preistoria e Antropologia
Università degli Studi di Siena
Daniele Aureli, Università degli Studi di Siena

Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente, UR Preistoria e Antropologia,
Università degli Studi di Siena

UMR 7041 ArScAn equipe AnTET
Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense.
21 allée de l’université

Filomena Ranaldo, Università degli Studi di Siena
Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente, UR Preistoria e Antropologia,
Università degli Studi di Siena
Paolo Boscato, Università degli Studi di Siena
Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente, UR Preistoria e Antropologia,
Università degli Studi di Siena
Annamaria Ronchitelli, Università degli Studi di Siena
Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente, UR Preistoria e Antropologia,
Università degli Studi di Siena

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Published
27-Sep-2016
How to Cite
Marciani, G., Spagnolo, V., Aureli, D., Ranaldo, F., Boscato, P., & Ronchitelli, A. (2016). Middle Palaeolithic technical behaviour: Material import-export and Levallois production at the SU 13 of Oscurusciuto rock shelter, Southern Italy. Journal of Lithic Studies, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.2218/jls.v3i2.1414