Phytolith Analysis at Roc de Marsal, SW France

Author(s): Kristen Wroth

Year: 2016


Phytolith analysis at Roc de Marsal, a Middle Paleolithic cave site, SW France, is used to investigate both environmental change and hominin behavior. Specifically, the aims include correlating phytolith types with the microenvironmental context of the site, and how these conditions changed diachronically. We also explore the pyrotechnological skills of Neanderthals at the site, broad patterns of plant acquisition and use, and spatial differentiation. Preliminary analysis of phytolith samples collected in previous years demonstrated diachronic change in phytolith assemblages, differences in plant matter concentrations in three main zones, and behavioral clues (e.g., use of wood/bark as fuel and over representation of specific grass types). This poster presents a synthetic study of previously collected samples with the analysis of new, high resolution material collected in 2015. The present study includes 1) assessing whether phytolith deposition was due to natural forces or Neanderthal action; 2) mapping phytolith concentrations across specific levels, as well as diachronically to more specifically assess spatial patterning; 3) comparing phytolith assemblages with known combustion features and artifact concentrations; and 4) combining phytolith data with other lines of evidence to understand key ecological shifts and how plant remains tie into the larger picture of Neanderthal action at RDM.

Cite this Record

Phytolith Analysis at Roc de Marsal, SW France. Kristen Wroth. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405410)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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