Diet breadth in the Middle Stone Age: Evolutionarily important?

The Middle Stone Age (MSA, ca. 300,000 to 30,000 years ago), is a crucial period in terms of the emergence of our species. During this period anatomically Modern Humans evolved and spread out of Africa. A recent study published in Current Anthropology (free access) provides a new perspective on this phenomenon through an investigation of subsistence practices…

Identifying the provenance of ‘ochre’ used by late Neanderthals at Les Bossats (Northern France)

The recently discovered open-air site of Les Bossates (Ormesson, northern France) has a rich archaeological sequence, including a late Mousterian assemblage which has been TL dated to around 47,000 years ago. As reported elsewhere, this assemblage is characterised by discoidal flaking and a large number (77) of red and yellow iron oxide-rich rocks. These fragments…

A GIS approach to changes in site location and visibility across the Magdalenian and Azilian in Spain

The importance of the visibility of, and from, an archaeological site has mainly been researched in relation to megalithic monuments and fortified settlements. Few studies have tried to unravel the importance of visibility for hunter-gatherer site locations. A new study, published in Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, addresses this issue for the Late Palaeolithic in Cantabrian…

A (re)touchy subject: Using bone to shape stone during the Middle Palaeolithic

The use of organic materials, such as bone, wood and antler, has been identified throughout various Lower, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic contexts. Through detailed archaeological investigations and experimental approaches it is has been demonstrated that these objects were frequently used to shape and retouch lithic artefacts. New research published in Quaternary International provides the first…