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      Two SE Spanish Middle Palaeolithic Sites with Neanderthal Remains: Sima de las Palomas del Cabezo Gordo and Cueva Negra del Estrecho del Río Quípar (Murcia province)

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      Internet Archaeology

      Council for British Archaeology

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          Abstract

          This article presents preliminary findings from excavations at two recently-discovered cave sites in Murcia (SE. Spain) with Neanderthal hominid skeletal remains, middle palaeolithic tools, and early Upper Pleistocene faunal remains. The sites are in contrasting environments, the shaft of Sima de las Palomas being near the coast whereas the Cueva Negra rock-shelter is in the hinterland. The origins and development of the field research project are outlined with special reference to strategical and methodological considerations. Cueva Negra has afforded half-a-dozen adult Neanderthal teeth and the shaft of a forearm bone. Sima de las Palomas suffered damage from nineteenth-century mining that exposed an 18-metre-high column of breccia in a natural shaft, and geophysical determinations suggest that it spans a period from roughly 125,000 to 50,000 BP. Adult and juvenile Neanderthal teeth and bones have been excavated at the top of the column and many others have been found sifting mine rubble both outside the cavern and on the floor inside, some of which have characteristics that are more in keeping with pre-Neanderthal morphology.

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          Most cited references 15

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          Energy source, protein metabolism, and hunter-gatherer subsistence strategies

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            The holocene- and upper pleistocene pollen record from Padul (Granada, Spain): A new study

             A. Pons,  M. Reille (1988)
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              The Sima de los Huesos crania (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain). A comparative study.

              The Sima de los Huesos (Sierra de Atapuerca) cranial remains found up to and including the 1995 field season are described and compared with other fossils in order to assess their evolutionary relationships. The phenetic affinities of the Sima de los Huesos crania and a large sample of Homo fossils are investigated through principal component analyses. Metrical comparisons of the Sima de los Huesos and other European and African Middle Pleistocene fossils with Neandertals are performed using Z-scores relative to the Neandertal sample statistics. The most relevant cranial traits are metrically and morphologically analyzed and cladistically evaluated. The Sima de los Huesos crania exhibit a number of primitive traits lost in Upper Pleistocene Neandertals (especially in the braincase, but also in the facial skeleton), as well as other traits that are transitional to the Neandertal morphology (particularly in the occipital bone), and features close to what is found in Neandertals (as the supraorbital morphology and midfacial prognathism). Different combinations of primitive and derived traits (shared with Neandertals) are also displayed by the other European Middle Pleistocene fossils. In conclusion, the Sima de los Huesos sample is evolutionarily related to Neandertals as well as to the other European Middle Pleistocene fossils. In our opinion, all the European Middle Pleistocene fossils belong to the Neandertal lineage, and none can be included in an Afroeuropean common ancestor of Neandertals and modern humans.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Internet Archaeology
                IA
                Council for British Archaeology
                13635387
                1998
                1998
                :
                : 5
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Universidad de Murcia, Spain
                Article
                10.11141/ia.5.5
                © 1998

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

                Product
                Self URI (journal page): http://intarch.ac.uk/

                Pre-history, Early modern history, Archaeology, Anthropology, Ancient history, History

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