The Oscurusciuto rock shelter, located in the Ginosa ravine (Taranto, Apulia), is a very important site for the understanding of Neandertal subsistence and settlement strategies in Southern Italy. The deposit, about 6 m thick and with a base of 60 m2 , is made up of several levels Middle Palaeolithic in age (fig. 1). The series so far investigated (between SU 1 and SU 15) ranges between 42,724±716 cal BP (Beta 181165 AMS) (SU 1) and 55 ± 2 kyrs (40Ar/39Ar) (SU 14 – tephra identified as the Mount Epomeo Ischia green tuff; Allen et alii 2000). Such a chronological interval is crucial in European prehistory as it falls upon the period of disappearance of Homo neanderthalensis and of the dispersal of the first groups of Anatomically Modern Humans. Excavations and studies on the Oscurusciuto Shelter are being led by the Unità di Ricerca di Preistoria e Antropologia of the Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente of the University of Siena (Boscato, Ronchitelli 2008; Villa et alii 2009; Boscato et alii 2011; Ronchitelli et alii 2011; Spagnolo et alii 2015). The study comprises: taxonomic and taphonomic investigations on faunal remains, analysis of lithic production through a technological and techno-functional approach, micromorphological analyses of hearths and assessment of the spatial meaning of these features. The aim of this work is to individuate, from a diachronic point of view, the continuities and discontinuities inside the lithic techno-complexes, the site space management and the mobility patterns within the territory. Such objectives are reached by a multidisciplinary approach. The different datasets which have been gathered are statistically elaborated within a GIS platform in order to determine the modalities of space management. The different datasets which have been gathered are statistically elaborated within a GIS platform in order to determine the modalities of space management. The application of the RMU method (lithic raw material units), on technological and spatial bases, allows the recognition of single activities (Marciani 2013; Spagnolo 2013; Spagnolo et alii 2015). This research comprises the integrated study of the lower section of the series so far investigated in the Shelter: SU 15, SU 14, SU 13 and SU 11. These stratigraphic units are particularly interesting for the reconstruction of Neandertal behaviour, given that each of them shows peculiarities in terms of structural elements, spatial management, type of occupation and lithic production systems. SU 15 is a living floor in which a phase of abandonment is recorded and is sealed by the deposition of the SU 14 tephra. This surface is characterized by stone alignments which define two possible structures. SU 14 (fig. 2) is an almost sterile layer about 60 cm thick, made of volcanic ashes. Traces of a short frequentation can be seen only few centimetres under the top of the layer. SU 13 is a short palimpsest which represents the first stable re-colonization of the site after the environmental impact created by volcanic ash deposition. In this layer, 10 aligned hearths were found which divide up the site into areas devoted to different activities. The overlying SU 11 is a palimpsest about 30 cm thick, characterized by the superimposition of tens of hearths. The results of these studies will bring important and useful advances in research on the behavioural and settlement features of Neandertals, particularly at this time when there are many Italian and international projects which face these questions by means of different and innovative approaches.
|Titolo:||Continuities and discontinuities at the Oscurusciuto rock shelter (Ginosa, Taranto). The last Neanderthals in Southern Italy|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.5 Abstract in rivista|
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