Multi-Tiered Proveniencing Analysis of Early Holocene Radiolarite Artifacts from Northern Spain


Radiolarite is a fossil-rich derivative of biogenic chert found in isolated geologic formations across northern Spain. This inconsistent presence on the landscape has often led archaeologists to misidentify it with other siliceous rock types. However, as the proveniencing of lithic raw materials increase in Spain, archaeologists are becoming more aware of radiolarite and its possible unique technological, typological, and social significance in prehistoric cultures.

This paper will present the results of a multi-tiered analytical program that combines the results of macroscopic, petrographic, and geochemical analyses to characterize and compare natural and human altered radiolarite samples from the northern coast of Asturias, Spain. Natural radiolarite source areas were identified, sampled, and analyzed from the montane and coastal region of eastern Asturias. Using the same analytical techniques, these results were compared to radiolarite artifacts originating from the Early Holocene assemblages in the El Mazo rockshelter site located in proximity to the identified source areas.

By establishing the geographic presence and geologic characterization of radiolarite, archaeologist will have new empirical data in which to help define how hunter-gatherer-fisher cultures: 1) organized stone procurement strategies, 2) moved and settled across the landscape, and 3) utilized stone material in a sociocultural context.

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Cite this Record

Multi-Tiered Proveniencing Analysis of Early Holocene Radiolarite Artifacts from Northern Spain. John Rissetto, Giancarlo Pepponi, Igor Gutiérrez-Zugasti, Rossana Dell’Anna, David Cuenca-Solana. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395612)


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min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;