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The TD6 level lithic industry from Gran Dolina, Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain): production and use.

Technological analysis of lithic artefacts recovered at the Aurora stratum of Atapuerca-TD6 shows that this Lower Pleistocene assemblage is similar to Mode I Technology (=Oldowan tradition) documented at many African sites. Diachronic comparison of the different levels of Gran Dolina allows us to conclude that this particular form of early European technology lacks the production of big flakes to manufacture large tools such as bifaces and cleavers. Rather, it is characterized by the presence of small artefacts, including flakes, denticulates, notches, and side-scrapers, many of which bear use-wear traces of butchery and woodworking. The dominant production technique is orthogonal, which is also reflected in the core recovered at the slightly older level of TD4. The raw materials also found in the Middle Pleistocene occupations at Atapuerca, though with significant proportion differences, have a local origin and include varieties of flint, quartzite and sandstone as well as limestone and quartz. TD6 small artefacts were made from most of these, although the retouched pieces seem to have been preferentially made of the best quality flint, i.e., Cretaceous flint, pointing to the existence of differential use of lithic material, and therefore, some degree of planned knapping behaviour. Most of the "chaînes opératoires" or reduction sequences took place inside the cave, although some artefacts, elaborated on Cretaceous flint, seem to have been retouched off site, possibly near the supply sources.[1]


  1. The TD6 level lithic industry from Gran Dolina, Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain): production and use. Carbonell, E., García-Antón, M.D., Mallol, C., Mosquera, M., Ollé, A., Rodríguez, X.P., Sahnouni, M., Sala, R., Vergès, J.M. J. Hum. Evol. (1999) [Pubmed]
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