Phytolith Analysis and Micromorphology of Neandertal Combustion Features at Roc de Marsal, SW France


Phytolith analysis can be used to investigate the relationship between hominins, plants, and environmental change. It has proven useful in understanding specific hominin behaviors (e.g., use of fire and fuel composition), and diachronic changes in plant species for paleoenvironmental reconstructions. The integration of phytolith analysis with soil micromorphology allows for an identification of the ways phytoliths were deposited in archaeological sites, and addresses both site formation processes and diagenesis. This combination of analytical techniques can also be used to better relate phytolith assemblages to other archaeological datasets and to hominin behavior. This poster presents an integrated phytolith and geoarchaeological study of plant remains and sediments from Roc de Marsal, a Middle Paleolithic cave in southwest France. Phytoliths have been recovered from the site, recording changes in both plant species and environmental schemes. We specifically address how the analysis of phytoliths and micromorphological thin sections from fire features can be used to provide a more detailed understanding of Neandertal pyrotechnology and spatial differentiation. We also present samples from throughout the profile to compare diachronic change in both the environment and anthropogenic activities.

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Phytolith Analysis and Micromorphology of Neandertal Combustion Features at Roc de Marsal, SW France. Kristen Wroth, Dan Cabanes, Paul Goldberg, Vera Aldeias, Dennis Sandgathe. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398097)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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