Chert from the Vegamián Formation: A new raw-material supply source in the Cantabrian Mountains (NW Spain) during prehistory

  • Diego Herrero-Alonso Universidad de Salamanca
  • Antonio Tarriño-Vinagre Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH) Burgos
  • Ana Neira-Campos Universidad de León
  • Natividad Fuertes-Prieto Universidad de León
Keywords: lithic raw materials, methodology, Carboniferous ‘Black chert’, Mesolithic, Cantabrian Mountains

Abstract


This work provides the keys to the mineralogical and geochemical characterization of black chert from the Vegamián Fm. This formation crops out throughout the whole of the Cantabrian Zone (of Palaeozoic age), one of the geological zones of the Cantabrian Mountains (NW Spain). The geographical distribution of this formation is very wide, surfacing in the provinces of León, Asturias, Palencia and Cantabria.

This variety of chert had been included within the group generically known as ‘black chert’, a macrogroup including different types of chert that appear in different Palaeozoic formations in the area and which share a characteristic black colour at the macroscopic level. The characterisation presented here has enabled us to distinguish it from other varieties. In this study, Vegamián chert has been divided into two different groups depending on their textural, mineralogical, geochemical and thermal propierties. Type 1, the most suitable for knapping, is characterized by high content in silica (>97%), laminated matrix and, occasionally, ghost of radiolarians.  

In addition, the characteristics specific to this chert make it suitable for lithic knapping processes. To confirm its use by prehistoric populations, this chert will be compared to that found in two Mesolithic sites, the caves of La Uña and El Espertín (León, south versant of the Cantabrian Mountains), the raw materials from which are currently under study.

Author Biographies

Diego Herrero-Alonso, Universidad de Salamanca
Universidad de Salamanca
Salamanca
Spain
Antonio Tarriño-Vinagre, Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH) Burgos
Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH) Burgos
Burgos
Spain
Ana Neira-Campos, Universidad de León
Área de Prehistoria
Universidad de León
León
Spain
Natividad Fuertes-Prieto, Universidad de León
Área de Prehistoria
Universidad de León
León
Spain

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Published
15-Sep-2016
How to Cite
Herrero-Alonso, D., Tarriño-Vinagre, A., Neira-Campos, A., & Fuertes-Prieto, N. (2016). Chert from the Vegamián Formation: A new raw-material supply source in the Cantabrian Mountains (NW Spain) during prehistory. Journal of Lithic Studies, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.2218/jls.v3i2.1449