In autumn 2012, colleagues from the geochronology lab (project F2) and members of the C1-team visited several rock shelter sites in Spain.

In cooperation with the working group of João Zilhão (ICREA, University of Barcelona), we revisited the nearby sites Cueva Antón and Finca Doña Martina and extracted samples for luminescence dating from the main sediment profiles. These sites include several Middle and Upper Palaeolithic layers and may provide new evidence for the transition from the Middle to the Upper Palaeolithic in the Murcia area. Dating of the sequences so far relied on the radiocarbon method, but cross-dating and temporal extension beyond the limits of radiocarbon dating is needed to verify chronological estimates.

At the rock shelter La Güelga in Asturias, we met Mario Menéndez (UNED, Madrid) and his team for investigations of key sections of this site. The cultural sequence consists of Mousterian layers followed by Aurignacian and possibly Châtelperronian ones. The upper part of the sequence is said to show a stratigraphic inversion, since Châtelperronian layers are usually found below Aurignacian material. Dating of the sediment by luminescence methods is not feasible, because all layers are very rich in stones. However, a better understanding of sediment accumulation and alteration is needed to solve the complex stratigaphic situation and to verify or falsify the putative Châtelperronian – Aurignacian interstratification. We therefore took a series of sediment monoliths for the preparation of thin sections. By micromorphological investigations we expect to better understand site formation processes and finally the stratigraphy at this important site in north-western Spain.

 

 

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(A) The fluvial sequence at Cueva Antón with yellow cups of samples for luminescence dating; (B) The site Finca Doña Martina; (C) The La Güelga site located in the rainy mountains of Northern Spain; (D) Interior profile of La Güelga with preparation of sediments monoliths for micromorphological studies.
Photos: A and B courtesy of João Zilhão, C and D by Gerd-Christian Weniger

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