With its ≈12 m of archaeological deposit encompassing 80 k years, Grotta di Fumane (Veneto, Italy) has a central role in Eurasian prehistory. Particularly, it is one of the few sites bearing witness to a key moment in human evolution: the Transition between the Middle and the Upper Palaeolithic, linked to the Neanderthals demise and Homo sapiens arrival in Europe.
Its geographical position, on the fringes of the Eastern Po plain, probably makes it one of the first Italian region to be colonised by Homo sapiens during the expansion into the Peninsula. These human groups left many traces on site; not only lithics and bones of exploited animals, but also a large assemblage of marine shells used as ornaments and plentiful traces of ochre (red colourant), which was used also for creating one of the first European paintings.
My PhD project deals with detecting technical traditions in early Upper Palaeolithic along the Eastern Trajectory, hence, it was significant to include Fumane’s (Proto)Aurignacian lithic assemblage. Therefore, in August I travelled to Italy and recorded a large sample of the most indicative stone artefacts of the complex A1-A2, the first Upper Palaeolithic layers dated between 41-40 ka cal BP. The copious and high-quality material has been analysed through the chaîne opératoire approach, to investigate the variety of methods applied. After a thorough comparison with the two other study sites, Româneşti-Dumbrăviţa (Banat, Romania) and Al-Ansab (Petra, Jordan), it will reveal further insights in the technical behaviour that accompanied Homo sapiens into Europe.
I warmly thank Prof. Peresani and his team for hosting me, research at Grotta di Fumane can be followed at https://grottadifumane.eu/en/.
Text: Jacopo Gennai
Jacopo Gennai is PhD candidate in the B1 project and is currently analysing the stone artefacts from the site Ansab.
|Blades and bladelets prismatic core
Photo: Jacopo Gennai