New data for the late Upper Palaeolithic in the Cantabrian region: Arangas Cave (Cabrales, Asturias, Spain)

New data for the late Upper Palaeolithic in the Cantabrian region: Arangas Cave (Cabrales, Asturias, Spain)

Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 29 (2020) 102092 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports jou...

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Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 29 (2020) 102092

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jasrep

New data for the late Upper Palaeolithic in the Cantabrian region: Arangas Cave (Cabrales, Asturias, Spain)

T

Esteban Álvarez-Fernándeza,b, , Miriam Cubasc, María Teresa Apariciod, Marián Cuetoe, Mikelo Elorzaf, Patricia Fernándeze, Sónia Gabrielg, Naroa García-Ibaibarriagah, Rodrigo Porteroa,b, Aitziber Suárez-Bilbaoi, Jesús Tapiaf, Luis C. Teirae, Paloma Uzquianoj, Pablo Ariase ⁎

a

Departamento de Prehistoria, Historia Antigua y Arqueología, Universidad de Salamanca. Calle Cerrada de Serranos s/n, E-37002 Salamanca, Spain Grupo de Investigación Reconocido PREHUSAL-Universidad de Salamanca, Spain University of Oviedo. C. Amparo Pedregal S/N, E-33011 Oviedo, Spain d Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales. C. José Gutiérrez Abascal, n°, 2, E-28006 Madrid, Spain e Instituto Internacional de Investigaciones Prehistóricas de Cantabria, IIIPC (Universidad de Cantabria, Gobierno de Cantabria, Santander), Avda. de los Castros 52, E39005 Santander, Spain f Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi. Zorroagagaina 11, E-20014 Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain g Laboratório de Arqueociências – Direção Geral do Património Cultural, CIBIO-InBIO, UNIARQ. Calçada do Mirante à Ajuda n° 10A, 1300-418 Lisboa, Portugal h Departamento de Geografía, Prehistoria y Arqueología. Facultad de Letras, Universidad del País Vasco UPV/EHU, Calle Tomás y Valiente s/n, E-01006 Vitoria, Spain i Departamento de Estratigrafía y Paleontología, Facultad de Ciencia y Tecnología, Universidad del País Vasco UPV/EHU, Apartado 644, E-48080 Bilbao, Spain j Departamento de Prehistoria, UNED. Calle Mediodía Grande 17, E-28005 Madrid, Spain b c

ARTICLE INFO

ABSTRACT

Keywords: Palaeoenvironment Subsistence practices Upper Palaeolithic Cantabrian Spain

This paper presents new archaeological evidence recorded in the late Pleistocene levels from Arangas cave (Northern Spain). The main goal is to reconstruct the subsistence strategies of the hunter-gatherer groups that occupied the cave between 18,500 and 12,500 cal BP from the integral study of biotic and abiotic remains. Anthracological study reveals that during the Lower Magdalenian (Levels G and F) and Azilian (Level E) daily firewood was collected mainly from species such us as Scots pine nowadays disappeared around the catchment area of the cave or the common oak located in sheltered areas of the hillsides. Faunal remains indicate that the diet was based almost exclusively in the hunting of several ungulates species (red deer, Iberian ibex and chamois). Small vertebrate assemblage is only abundant during the Level G where an open humid and not very cold environment has been inferred. The abiotic evidence is characterized by a lithic assemblage made in local raw materials (above all quartzite). Whereas in the levels dated during the Lower Magdalenian the retouched implements are typologically unrepresentative, in the Azilian level they are more characteristic, above all with the classification of a “thumbnail” end scraper.

1. Introduction

Alzoralas, a tributary of the Deba (e.g. Fernández- Tresguerres, 2004; González Sainz, 2004; Utrilla Miranda, 2004). In the case of Asturias, recent publications have reported the results of interdisciplinary research carried out at sites with late Upper Palaeolithic occupations, located both near the coast and inland. El Cierro Cave is located on the lower part of the valley of the River Sella and contains Magdalenian and Azilian deposits (Álvarez-Fernández et al., this volume). In turn, Las Caldas in the Nalón valley (Corchón Rodríguez, 2017a,b) and Coimbre in the Cares valley (Álvarez-Alonso and Yravedra, 2017) both possess Magdalenian occupations.

A large number of archaeological siteshave been dated to the late Upper Pleistocene in northern Spain. Many of them are attributed to the Magdalenian or Azilian periods and are situated at the lower section of the valleys of the largest rivers (e.g. Tito Bustillo on the River Sella, La Fragua on the Asón, and Ermittia on the Deba), but others are located inland in the middle valleys of the rivers: Cueva Oscura de Ania, in the Nalón valley, Los Azules on the Sella, El Castillo in the Pas valley, El Rascaño by the River Miera and Erralla in the valley of the River ⁎

Corresponding author. E-mail address: [email protected] (E. Álvarez-Fernández).

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102092 Received 1 July 2019; Received in revised form 5 November 2019; Accepted 11 November 2019 2352-409X/ © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Fig. 1. A. Location of Arangas Cave in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. B. Plan of the cave, indicating the position of the area excavated in 2007.

The available evidence for the study of the late Pleistocene occupation of the Sierra del Cuera (Asturias, North Spain) will be presented here based on the archaeological data obtained from Arangas Cave. The main objective of this work is to reconstruct the subsistence strategies of the hunter-gatherer groups that occupied the cave between 18,500 and 12,500 cal BP. This will be approached by the study of the remains found in the excavations carried out in Area E: biotic materials (anthracological and archaeozoological) and abiotic artefacts (lithic assemblage) corresponding to late Upper Palaeolithic occupations (Levels

E, F and G). Comparison with other proximate archaeological sites will enable a better understanding of human subsistence strategies in the late Palaeolithic. 2. Archaeological background Arangas Cave is situated in the parish of the same name, in the municipality of Cabrales (Asturias) (Fig. 1). The caves of Los Canes, Arangas and Tiu Llines, where most of the archaeological excavations

Table 1 Radiocarbon dates obtained in the lower part of the archaeological sequence in Arangas Cave. The dates were calibrated with the IntCal13 curve (Reimer et al., 2013) and OxCal 4.3 (Ramsey, 2001; 2009). 14

LEVEL

Sample

Lab. Cod.

Dates

E F G

2nd Phalanx Capra pyrenaica with cut marks 2nd Phalanx Cervus elaphus with cut marks 2nd Phalanx Cervus elaphus with percussion marks

OxA-36708 OxA-29199 OxA-36709

11,100 ± 50 14,840 ± 65 15,000 ± 70

2

C BP

Dates cal. BP (95.4%)

δ13C

Reference

13,080–12,820 18,260–17,860 18,431–18,000

–22.3 −20.10 −20.9

This work Cueto et al., 2015 This work

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sequence (Fig. 1). The archaeological sequence is formed by the following stratigraphic units: - Level D is the upper layer in the excavated sequence and was identified during the archaeological excavations in the 1990s. The sedimentary matrix was defined as greyish in colour with a loose texture. The archaeological level is 10 cm thick. - The underlying Level E is black in colour with a sandy granulometry and a greasy, loose texture. It displays a clear sedimentary change from Level D. It is 5 cm thick and dips noticeably towards the west. - Level F, dark in colour and 10 cm thick, is characterised by a high density of angular and concreted limestone clasts. - The lowest level in the documented sequence is Level G. With an orangish-brown matrix, it contains a large number of stones and fragments of speleothems. Therefore, the archaeological sequence documented in 2007 differentiated four levels, clearly distinct from one another in their sedimentology and with clear breaks between them. The radiocarbon dates currently available (Table 1) shows the time in which each sedimentary unit formed.

Table 2 Anthracological remains from Levels E, F and G. Level

E

F

G

TAXA

N

%

N

%

N

Juniperus Pinus sylvestris Betula sp. Quercus robur Corylus avellana Salix sp. Sorbus sp. Indet. Total

– 74 – 10 – – – 8 92

– 80.4 – 10.9 – – – 8.67 -

– 45 6 6 1 1 1 10 70

– 64.3 8.6 8.6 1.4 1.4 1.4 14.3 –

4 2 – 2 – – 1 4 13

were carried out between 1985 and 1998, are approximately parallel to one another, on an east–west alignment in a cave system formed in Upper Carboniferous limestone (Arias and Ontañón-Peredo, 1999; Arias and Pérez, 1995). The archaeological sequence in Arangas Cave enabled significant progress in the understanding of Bronze Age farming societies (Arias and Ontañón-Peredo, 1999). However, the levels attributed to the late Pleistocene have only been published in part (Cueto et al., 2015) A small excavation was performed in Arangas in 2007, in Area E, in order to document the archaeological levels in the lower part of the

3. Methodology The excavated Area E of Arangas was measured ca. 1 × 0.70 m in

Table 3 NR, NISP and MNI by taxa (large mammals) in each archaeological level (Juv: juveniles; Ad: Adults; Imm: immatures). Taxa

Bos/bison Cervus elaphus Capreolus capreolus Capra pyrenaica Rupicapra pyrenaica Sus scrofa Canis sp. Subtotal Large size Medium size Indet. Total

Level E

Level F

Level G

Juv

NR

NISP

%

MNI

NR

NISP

%

MNI

NR

NISP

%

MNI

– 20 3 14 13 4 1 55 16 291 780 1142

– 20 3 14 13 4 1 55 _ _ _ 55

– 36.4 5.5 25.5 23.6 7.3 1.8

– 2 1 2 2 2 1 10 _ _ _ 10

4 73 13 89 23 3 _ 205 29 171 605 1010

4 73 13 89 23 3 _ 205 _ _ _ 205

2 35.6 6.3 43.4 11.2 1.5 _

1 3 2 4 4 1 _ 15 _ _ _ 15

1 11 12 43 _ _ _ 67 39 125 274 505

1 11 12 43 _ _ _ 67 _ _ _ 67

1.5 16.4 17.9 64.2 _ _ _

1 2 1 4 _ _ _ 8 _ _ _ 8

_ _ _ 100

_ _ _ 100

_ _ _ 100

E 1 1 – 1 – 3 – – – 3

Ad F

G

E

F

G

E

F

G

1 1 1 1 1 2 – 7 – – – 7

1 1 1 2 – – – 5 – – – 5

– 1 1 1 1 – 1 5 – – – 5

– 2 1 1 1 – – 5 – – – 5

– 1

– – – – 1 1 – 2 – – – 2

– – – – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Fig. 2. Skeletal profiles grouped by taxa and archaeological level from the NISP (see table 3). 3

Imm

2 – – – 3 – – – 3

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Fig. 3. A: impact marks on red deer radius from Level E and an Iberian ibex metatarsal from Level F (it conserves the parasite flake). B: disarticulation marks on an ibex scapula. C: cutmarks on a right humerus of an indeterminate bird from Level F. D: carnivore action on a bone diaphysis from Level F, a humerus from Level E and a rib from Level G; in each case of medium size mammals.

size. The excavation was carried out according to the archaeological strata sub-divided into arbitrary spits, 3 to 6 cm thick, following the different sedimentary layers that were observed. The most representative remains were collected individually and their position was georeferenced. All the sediment was sieved with 1 mm-mesh screens, except for a sample of 10 dm3 from each stratigraphic unit, which was processed by floating in order to recover plant macro-remains, using a sieve of 0.5 mm mesh size. As all the sediment was processed, it was

possible to obtain a large number of biotic materials, mainly remains of fauna and plant macro-remains. Charcoal were systematically recovered by manual flotation of all the sediments collected together with water-sieving and screening of the material according to the standardized methods developed by Anthracology in Iberia (Uzquiano, 1992, 1997; Badal et al., 2003). The charcoal remains were fractured by hand along the three anatomical observation plans: transversal, tangential and radial sections, according 4

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diagnostic elements were made following the general criteria given (van der Meulen, 1973; Heinrich, 1982; Reumer, 1984; Bailon, 1991). The taxonomic classification was in accordance with Wilson (Wilson and Reeder, 2005). The relative ratios of fossil species were established with the NMI. In addition to the mammals, a few remains of molluscs, fish and birds were found and, like the mammals, were classified using reference collections. Information about the biotopes of the different taxa has been taken from specific studies for large (e. g. (Barone, 1966) and small mammals (e. g. Sesé, 2005), marine (e. g. Palacios and Vega, 1997) and terrestrial molluscs (e. g. Welter-Schultes, 2012), fish (e.g. Doadrio, 2002) and birds (e. g. Hoyo et al., 1992–2010). The nomenclature of Fauna Europaea was followed for large mammals, birds and molluscs (Fauna Europaea version 2017.06, Zoological Museum Amsterdam/University of Amsterdam, http://www.faunaeur. org; retrieved 05–06-2019). In the case of small mammals, the work of Wilson and Reeder (2005) has been used, whereas the study of amphibians and reptiles has followed (Speybroeck et al., 2010). Eschmeyer Catalog of Fishes (http://www.calademy.org/scientists/catalog-offishes-classification/) [ref. 5–5-2019] was utilized for the taxonomic classification of fish. Finally, abiotic materials are represented by a scarce lithic assemblage. The lithic assemblage has been classified according to the typelist of D. Sonneville-Bordes and Perrot (1954, 1956a and b). The technological study has followed the chaîne opératoire concept (Creswell, 1976; Lemonnier, 1976; Pelegrin et al.,1988, among others). The different chaînes opératoires can be reconstructed and the strategies to obtain the blanks (flakes and blades) and their use can be determined. Smaller knapping debris was only quantified. Typology and technology are combined with a macroscopic observation of raw materials to identify their provenance and to explore the management strategies.

Table 4 Number of remains with cutmarks from Levels E, F and G in Arangas Cave. Taxon Level E Cervus elaphus Capra pyrenaica Rupicapra pyrenaica Large size Medium size Total Level F Cervus elaphus Capra pyrenaica Rupicapra pyrenaica Large size Medium size Total Level G Capreolus capreolus Capra pyrenaica Large size Medium size Total

Disarticulation

Evisceration

Filleting marks

Skinning

1 1 2 2 6

– – – – 1 1

1 2 1 1 17 22

– – – – 2 2

2 7 – 2 1 12

– – – 1 – 1

6 5 1 6 7 25

– – – 2 – 2

1 1 – – 2

– – – – –

3 9 3 16 31

– – – 1 1

to the features of both non-charred and charred wood Atlases (Schweingruber, 1990; Vernet et al., 2001). The analysis was carried out with a reflected light optical microscope (Olympus BX60) assisted by SEM microscopy in some cases. Nomenclature follows the guidelines in Flora Europaea (Tutin et al., 1964). The archaeofaunal study has followed standard archaeozoological methods (Lyman, 1994) as regards to anatomical and taxonomical classification (Palés and Lambert, 1972; Schmid, 1972). When it was not possible to identify the remains taxonomically, the categories of large mammal (bovines and red deer) and medium-sized mammal (Iberian ibex, roe deer and chamois) were applied. If they could not be included in those categories, the remains were classified as indeterminable. The study of the skeletal profiles has differentiated between cranial and axial skeleton, forelimb and hindlimb. Limb bones that were hard to attribute to either fore or hind leg were included in the category ‘Limb’ (Yravedra and Domínguez-Rodrigo, 2009). Age at death was determined by the criteria of bone fusion (Silver, 1969; Barone, 1976; Reitz and Wing, 2003) and tooth eruption, both in general and for particular species (Hillson, 2005; Klein et al., 1981; Mariezkurrena and Altuna, 1983; Tomé and Vigne, 2003; Pérez Ripoll, 1988; Pérez Barbería, 1994; Bull and Payne, 1982). Finally, to evaluate the taxonomic frequency, NR (Number of Remains), NISP (Number of Identified Specimens) and MNI (Minimum Number of Individuals) have been calculated (Lyman, 1994), by taking into account the most abundant anatomical part, laterality, age and sex. The taphonomic study documented the various alterations. The anthropic marks are fracturation, cutmarks (Potts and Shipman, 1981; Shipman and Rose, 1983; Blumenschine and Selvaggio, 1988; Capaldo and Blumenschine, 1994; Lyman, 1994) and other types of modifications that can be considered as intentional to fabricate artefacts. The degrees of exposure to fire have been analysed following the criteria of Stiner et al. (1995). Marks left by carnivores on bone surfaces have been identified and classified according to their morphology: pits, punctures, scores, furrowing and crenulated edges (Haynes, 1980; Haynes, 1983; Binford, 1981; Selvaggio, 1994). Finally, alterations related to the formation of the archaeological deposit have been considered, such as weathering, precipitation of calcium carbonate, the presence of manganese oxide and post-depositional processes (root marks, trampling, and polish) (Gifford-Gonzalez et al., 1985; Behrensmeyer et al., 1986; Olsen and Shipman, 1988). The small vertebrate material analysed consists of disarticulated skeletal fragments (teeth, isolated mandibles, skull fragments, and postcranial bones). Identifications, based on cranial and post-cranial

4. Results 4.1. Biotic remains 4.1.1. Anthracology Most quantitative information comes from Levels E and F (Table 2) and the latter level displays the greatest floral diversity. Few remains were found in Level G. Pinus sylvestris is the dominant species in the first two levels, followed by Betula, which is only present in Level F. Quercus robur also appears in the three levels. Corylus and Salix are found more discreetly, only in Level F. Finally, Juniperus appears in Level G, together with Pinus sylvestris, Quercus robur and Sorbus. The anthracological sample from that level displays certain floral variety but is very small in quantitative terms. 4.1.2. Large mammals A total number of 1,142 faunal remains were found in Level E (Table 3). Of these, only 4.8% could be anatomically and taxonomically classified, 26.9% were grouped in the categories of large and mediumsized mammal, and 68.3% could not be identified. According to the NISP, the most abundant species is red deer (Cervus elaphus: 36.4%), followed by Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica: 25.5%), chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica: 23.6%), wild boar (Sus scrofa: 7.3%), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus: 5.5%) and an indeterminate canid (Canis sp.) represented by a single remain. In terms of the MNI, the first four species are represented by two individuals, and the roe deer and canid by one adult individual. In this way, ten individuals would have been hunted as prey (five adults, three juvenile, and two immature individuals). As regards the skeletal profiles (Fig. 2), the species with the largest NR are overrepresented by the cranial skeleton because of the large number of teeth per individual. Elements belonging to the axial skeleton only correspond to Iberian ibex, owing to the high fragmentation of both ribs and vertebrae, which hinders their identification. Consequently, nearly all 5

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Fig. 4. Scheme of the extraction from the red deer antler documented in Level F.

least 15 individuals were captured, of which seven were juveniles and five adults. The other three individuals could not be classified in any age group (Fig. 2). The species with the highest NR, Iberian ibex and red deer, are represented by elements from the four anatomical parts although the axial skeleton is the least well-represented because of fragmentation. Remains of the forelimb are the most numerous limb elements, although nearly all the bones of the two species have been documented. As in the previous level, the cranial skeleton is over-represented because of the large number of teeth. Only teeth have been found of the wild boar. For chamois and roe deer, again teeth are the most abundant elements, although some of their limb bones have also been identified. Of the large bovid, only four remains belonging to the limbs have been documented. 505 faunal remains were documented from Level G (Table 3), of which 13.3% were anatomically and taxonomically classified, 32.5%

these elements have been grouped in the general categories of large or medium-sized mammal. Both fore and hindlimbs have only been identified for red deer and chamois, of which the forelimbs are the most numerous. Only fore-limbs have been documented for ibex. Of roe deer, only cranial elements and the hindlimb have been documented, while wild boar is represented by cranial elements and the canid by a phalanx. The sample from Level F consists of 1,010 bone remains (Table 3). Of these, 20.3% were classified anatomically and taxonomically, 19.8% were grouped as large or medium-sized mammals and ca. 60% were not identified. According to the NISP, the best-represented species is Iberian ibex (43.4%), followed by red deer (36%), chamois (11.2%), roe deer (6.3%), large bovid (2%) and wild boar (1.5%). According to the MNI, both ibex and chamois are represented by four individuals, red deer by three, roe deer by two and the bovid and wild boar by one. Thus, at 6

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chamois bones, and on the medium-sized remains. In Level F they appear on ca. 10% of the remains, of red deer, Iberian ibex, chamois and large and medium-sized animals. In Level G they are found on 14.7% of the bones, affecting Iberian ibex, roe deer and large and medium-sized mammals (Table 4 and Fig. 3B and C). The percentages of thermo-altered remains vary from 13.9% in Level E to 1.9% in Level F and 2.8% in Level G. Most of them display brown and black colouring corresponding to Grades 1 and 2 in Stiner and colleagues’ classification (Stiner et al., 1995). Additionally, some of the faunal remains (Level E = 3%; Level F = 6%; and Level G = 2.4%) were affected by the action of carnivores (tooth marks, pits, punctures and digestion marks). They appear on the remains of red deer, Iberian ibex, roe deer, chamois, and large and medium-sized mammals (Fig. 3D). These low percentages in each level suggest that the carnivores’ access to the animal carcasses was secondary. Other modifications observed in the three levels are due to natural agents and postdepositional processes. Root marks always appear in percentages < 20%. The remains have not been significantly modified by sub-aerial processes (< 10 of the NR). The effect of hydric alteration was, however, more significant owing to the precipitation of calcium carbonate (Level E = 11%; Level F = 61.1%; and Level G = 16.4%). Other alterations that have affected the bone assemblage to a more limited extent are rounding and trampling. Two remains from Level F display evidence of technical modification (Cueto et al., 2015). They are the matrix from a red deer antler and a furrowed red deer rib. The former comes from the central part of the antler and includes part of the start of the central tine, which divides the piece into the upper and lower branches (Fig. 4). The tine is broken above its base, but no clear technical marks proving intentionality can be appreciated. The rod or blank was cut out of the internal face of the antler, and goes through the cortical tissue and reaches the internal spongy tissue. Two longitudinal, approximately parallel grooves can be observed, and their separation suggests that the blank that was removed would have been between 25 and 18 mm wide, with a maximum thickness of cortical layer of 8 mm. The groove on the proximal side of the tine is in the form of a single curved line that starts in the lower part of the antler and whose length is interrupted by the size of the fragment that has been preserved. It was made by sawing longitudinally, and the longitudinal striations can be clearly seen in the cortical section, as well as the formation of steps in the contact with the spongy tissue. The deformations in the spongy tissue suggest that wedges were used to remove the blank. The cuts must have been made as a single series of long and continuous incisions adapted to the geometry of the antler. In contrast, the groove on the other side, which is interrupted by a later fracture in the lower part of the antler, appears to have been made by lifting it off or by percussion, which has left a tongue-shaped fracture in the cortical layer. The rib displays a longitudinal groove in its internal side and, like the antler, the length of the incision is interrupted by the size of the fragment that has been preserved (15 cm). This groove did not cut through the compact surface of the bone and follows the centre of the axis of the rib, dividing it into two practically symmetrical halves. It was made by a series of successive incisions and several lines where the cuts strayed from the direction of the groove can clearly be observed. Unlike the usual way of making implements from ribs, this groove suggests that the intention was to divide it longitudinally into two symmetrical parts from its ventral side and not from its cross-section. The other side of the rib does not exhibit any signs of having been worked. The interpretation of these technical marks is difficult as they differ from the known procedures for the fabrication of utensils from ribs (spatulas, bull-roarers, etc.). However, although only a single groove exists, we think that it may have been intended to divide up the rib and then remove pieces for needles. This is because the face that was worked is quite flat and the groove would allow straight fragments to be removed from the angular edges of the rib, where the compact bone is thicker.

Table 5 Small vertebrates from Levels F and G in Arangas Cave. Level F

Level G

Taxon

NISP

NMI

NISP

NMI

Arvicola sp. Chionomys nivalis Apodemus sylvaticus-flavicollis Microtus (Microtus) agrestis Microtus (Microtus) arvalis Microtus (Terricola) sp. Microtus (Alexandromys) oeconomus Pliomys lenki Sorex araneus-coronatus Talpa sp. Rana temporaria-iberica Lacertidae indet. Total

– 1 – – – 1 – 1 – – – – 3

– 1 – – – 1 – 1 – – – – 3

40 2 1 3 96 17 10 1 11 11 5 2 199

26 2 1 2 51 13 7 1 6 5 1 1 116

Table 6 Number of retouched pieces in each level in Arangas Cave. Type

E

F

G

Total

Backed bladelet Endscraper Sidescraper Denticulate Continuously retouched piece Total

1 1 2 1 1 6

— 1 4 1 2 8

1 — — — — 1

2 2 6 2 3 15

Fig. 5. Retouched lithics from Arangas. 1, Level G: backed bladelet from level G; 2 & 3, Level E: backed bladelet and thumbnail endscraper.

were included in the large and medium-sized mammal categories and 54.2% could not be identified. The best represented species in the NISP is Iberian ibex (64.2%), followed by roe deer (17.9%), red deer (16.4%) and large bovid (1.5%). In the MNI, Iberian ibex is represented by four individuals, red deer by two, and roe deer and large bovid each by one adult individual. Therefore, eight individuals belong to game species, five adults and three juveniles. The four anatomical parts have been identified for Iberian ibex and roe deer (Fig. 2), with a predominance of the limbs in both cases. No axial elements have been identified for red deer, and the cranial elements predominate. The large bovid is only represented by a limb bone. The taphonomic study concentrated on recognising anthropic alterations. A high degree of anthropic fragmentation is recorded in the three levels at Arangas, especially in Levels E and F. Impact points are seen on long bone shafts (15 in Level E, 22 in Level F and only three in Level G) and flakes resulting from these impacts have been documented (Fig. 3A). Most of the breaks occurred while the bones were fresh, judging by the large number of oblique fracture angles and spiral and helicoidal breaks in the long bones. This confirms that carcasses were processed by humans. Other types of marks are also related to animal carcass processing: disarticulation, evisceration and filleting. In Level E these have been documented on 8.5% of the remains, on Iberian ibex, red deer and 7

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4.1.3. Small vertebrates The small vertebrate assemblage comprises more than 1,500 identified and unidentified disarticulated bone fragments. Among them, 202 have been identified at genus and/or species level (NISP), representing a total of 119 individuals (MNI) (Table 5). They comprise 11 taxa: Arvicola sp., Chionomys nivalis, Apodemus sylvaticus-flavicollis, Microtus (Microtus) agrestis, Microtus (Microtus) arvalis, Microtus (Alexandromys) oeconomus, Microtus (Terricola) sp., Pliomys lenki, Sorex araneus-coronatus, Talpa sp., Rana temporaria-iberica and Lacertidae indet. All the taxa identified at Arangas have extant representatives, with the exception of P. lenki. There are significant taxonomic differences in the small vertebrates along the stratigraphic sequence. Level G is characterized by a rich and diverse small-mammal assemblage, with a predominance of Microtus (Microtus) arvalis. On the contrary, only three small mammal remains from Level F can be identified at genus and/or species level, each of them belonging to a different species. Noticeable internal variations exist in Level G: Spit 4 is the sublevel with the most identified specimens (95) and minimum number of individuals (50), while the lowest numbers are recorded in Spit 6.

hammerstone. Blade production is limited to two pieces in chert, one in radiolarite, two in quartzite and one in flint. Of 115 remains, the only retouched objects are two sidescrapers, a denticulate and a retouched flake in quartzite, and a backed bladelet and ‘thumbnail’ endscraper in flint. Except for the retouched objects, the flint is of poor quality and the limited blade production is only clearly intuited in some items in chert, flint and radiolarite. Level F yielded a more varied assemblage in terms of raw material types and technical procedures. Quartzite pieces make up over 50% of the assemblage and, as in the other levels, were reduced with centripetal or orthogonal methods, producing numerous cordal and cortical pieces. However, some bladelets were obtained from cores on flakes, where the removals start on one of the edges and tend to extend towards one of the larger faces. In this way, a short series of small elongated blanks are obtained, with thick cross-sections at first and gradually more curved pieces towards the end of the production. Flint reduction oriented eminently towards blade production is seen most clearly in Level F. The presence of cortical products, maintenance pieces and products shows that reduction was carried out in situ using angular blocks obtained from the source and cobblestones. Reduction was unipolar tending to pyramidal, with enveloping faces, with which bladelets < 4–5 cm were obtained. The only blank with simple retouch is a larger blade fragment that was produced off-site. This same procedure is appreciated in rock crystal, although it is a scarcer raw material (seven objects) and was used to produce microblade blanks. In contrast, radiolarite and black chert appear to have been used opportunistically. Laminar flakes were obtained by orthogonal reduction, although some blade blanks were occasionally removed. Despite the clear segmentation of reduction techniques according to raw material types in Level F, the retouched implements are typologically unrepresentative, with five denticulates, one endscraper and two blanks with cursory retouch. Finally, the assemblage from Level G consists of very few small pieces. Unlike in the other levels, quartzite is less abundant than the pairing of flint and chert. Although most of the remains are small (including 16 remains from knapping and retouching), the flint and chert pieces include a backed bladelet, a crest bladelet, a core crest resharpening flake, a cortical bladelet and a microblade. A burin spall and a small flake with flat retouch have also been identified (Fig. 5). In contrast, the quartzite assemblage consists of only three flakes (from unipolar and orthogonal reduction) and seven small remains of knapping waste.

4.1.4. Continental and marine molluscs Only a small number of terrestrial molluscs have been found (NR = 38). No complete shell has been preserved and all the fragments belong to two species: Cepaea nemoralis and Pomatias elegans. C. nemoralis is present in the three levels (Level E: n = 5; Level F; n = 21; Level G: n = 8). The single P. elegans fragment that has been recorded came from Level F. The two species are common and abundant today in the proximities of the cave. The only marine mollusc shell to be documented was in Level F. It is a fragment of the gastropod Patella sp. 4.1.5. Fish The fishbone assemblage is rather small, comprising six identified and unidentified remains found in Levels E (n = 2), F (n = 1) and G (n = 3). The identified elements are two small vertebrae belonging to the Salmonidae family (one caudal vertebra found in Level E, and a precaudal element found in Level G). 4.1.6. Birds Five bird bones were recorded in Levels F and G. A femur of Pyrrhocorax graculus and the shaft of a right humerus from an indeterminate species were found in Level F. The latter bone displays butchery marks on one of its sides (Fig. 3C). Level G yielded a fragment of a Corvidae right scapula from a juvenile individual, a pelvis belonging to the same family, and a distal fragment of a left ulna from a juvenile individual of an indeterminate species.

5. Discusssion The anthracological analysis suggests that at the time of the occupation in Level E, firewood procurement appears to have concentrated on higher altitudes (Pinus) and forested hillsides (Quercus robur), possibly indicating an episode of marked seasonality and short duration. The topography of the region would facilitate the movements to higher altitudes probably related to the hunting of red deer and they would be the catchment areas for firewood. The floral diversity in Level F suggests the daily gathering of firewood from different, but proximate, plant communities, owing to the location of the site in a geographically compartmentalised area. In this way, colonising pioneer species growing in open environments exposed to the dominant winds (Pinus, Betula and Juniperus) are found as well as mesophilous taxa characteristic of more protected forest areas and valleys (Quercus robur, Sorbus, Corylus and Salix). The flora documented in this level suggests the firewood was obtained in a range of altitudes, including valleys and water-courses, hillsides and summits. The fauna hunted in the same level coincides practically with the mobility estimated by the anthracological research, especially in the movements to follow the altitudinal migrations of red deer, the most abundant species in that level. The exploration of hillsides and valleys would coincide with the strategies for hunting ibex and chamois (on crags) and roe deer

4.2. Abiotic remains The lithic assemblage recorded in Levels E, F and G is formed by a total of 232 knapped pieces, two cobbles and an ochre fragment made on raw materials available in the region. The most abundant type in the whole assemblage is quartzite (59.1%), which is predominant in the sequence except in Level G. It is followed by flint (21.6%), dark red radiolarite (6.5%), black chert (7.8%), rock crystal (4.7%), and a single piece of lutite in Level F. Except for the lutite, all the other raw materials appear in different proportions in Levels E and F, whereas only flint, quartzite and black chert are found in Level G. These varieties were used in two general patterns. Quartzite (acquired probably in the river terraces of the Cares) was used to produce large thick flakes with centripetal, unipolar or orthogonal reduction, while the other raw materials were aimed at the production of blades, bladelets and laminar flakes. Retouched artefacts are scarce in all three levels (Table 6). In Level E, quartzite flakes were produced with centripetal debitage to obtain thick blanks, many of them cortical, using a hard 8

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and wild boar (in forests). Level G might suggest a similar pattern to that of Level F, but the low number of samples does not allow that to be corroborated. The anthracological assemblage with the predominance of Pinus sylvestris is characteristic of the late Pleistocene in inland parts of north Spain (Uzquiano, 2014; 2018). The use of Pinus sylvestris in the Lower Magdalenian suggests that firewood was gathered in limestone areas, which are extensive in the Cares valley. This type of management contrasts however with the situation at other Magdalenian sites in the same valley, like Coímbre, and adjacent areas in the east of Asturias (e.g., El Cierro and Cova Rosa) and even in the neighbouring Cantabria (e.g., Altamira, Cualventi and Las Aguas) characterised by the use of firewood resources from siliceous areas, mainly scrubland with Fabaceae, Juniperus and Salix, and only occasionally Pinus (Uzquiano, 2014; 2019). The archaeozoological study of large mammals has revealed a diversified subsistence strategy as none of the species reaches the necessary percentage to represent hunting specialisation in any particular prey, as proposed in some cases for the Upper Pleistocene (Altuna, 1992; Yravedra, 2002). Although there was a preference for animals from the immediate surroundings of the site, the presence of forest species, like roe deer and wild boar, or a more open landscape, like red deer and large bovids, shows that the environment was mixed. The skeletal profiles indicate that the animals most hunted were taken whole to the cave, where they were butchered and consumed. The carcasses were completely used, as evidence of disarticulation, defleshing, evisceration and filleting of the soft parts of the animals has been observed on the remains. The marrow was also used, according to the impact marks and fragmentation patterns that have been documented on the bones. The number of remains with signs of being affected by heat is very small, especially in the Magdalenian levels, although most of the degrees of colouring are compatible with prey being cooked. The age at death of the animals reveals a preference for adult and immature animals. Remains of infantile animals have also been found, but they are insufficient to be able to venture the season in which the site was occupied. However, the evidence of carnivore scavenging observed on the bones, and the remains of an indeterminate canid in Level E, suggest that the cave was not occupied all year and carnivores would have accessed the carcasses when the cave was abandoned by humans. It should also be stressed that osseous elements were used to make bone artefacts. The technical marks on a red deer antler and rib show that blanks were cut from them. Finally, natural agents have also affected the archaeozoological record. The small number of bones with evidence of sub-aerial exposure indicates a rapid sedimentation process and constant humidity and temperature conditions. Water and humidity affected the osseous record and numerous bones are covered by precipitated calcium carbonate or display signs of water action on their surfaces. In the study of the micro-vertebrates, the pattern of temporal changes has been used to reconstruct environmental modifications based on the proportion of species that predominantly occur in wooded habitats and cold environments. Our data suggest a palaeoenvironment composed mainly of open humid habitats. Particularly noteworthy is the low percentage of species associated with forest cover, basically confirmed by the scarce remains of Arbicola sylvaticus-flavicollis. However, the proportion of cold-adapted taxa, as e. g. Microtus (Alexandromys) oeconomus, is not very high, indicating that the environmental conditions could not have been extremely cold. It is evident that Level F marks an inflexion point in species and remains richness. The low representation of small vertebrate remains, especially in Level F, would indicate intense human occupation, since the accumulation of small vertebrate remains in archaeological sites is inversely proportional to human occupation. Considering the chronology of the deposit, the identification of Plyomys lenki among the small vertebrate remains (Levels F and G) is an issue of special concern, as it is unclear when it became extinct. For the moment, the last records of this species would be the mentions at Laminak II and El Mirón (Pemán, 1994;

Cuenca-Bescós et al., 2010), which is perfectly in line with the record from Arangas Cave. Fish remains are very scarce, three belonging to the Azilian level and three to the Lower Magdalenian from different levels. In both periods salmonids have been classified. Predators (including humans, raptors and carnivores) can be responsible for the accumulation of fish remains. In Arangas, taphonomic traits that help distinguish between predators are absent. Salmonids are an important group of both freshwater and anadromous fish distributed throughout the Holarctic region (Sanford, 2000). These are recurrently recorded in Upper Palaeolithic assemblages in North Spain (e.g. Adán et al. 2009; Gabriel, 2017; Roselló, 1992). Within the Salmonidae family, salmon and sea trout display variability in the duration of their stay in a freshwater habitat, while brown trout do not migrate and exhibit a more territorial behaviour. Salmonids from Palaeolithic sites are potentially useful as climate and seasonal markers, although the morphological similarity of salmonid vertebrae limits species identification and interpretation (e.g. Guillaud et al., 2016; Morales-Muñiz, 1984). The only evidence of contacts with the sea is a limpet shell (Patella sp.). Some bird bones documented in Levels F and G, and terrestrial snails (in the three studied levels) complete the collection of animal remains documented at the cave. The lithic assemblage shows that the patterns of the use of quartzite and other raw materials varied in the course of the sequence. The former was worked expediently and abundantly and the edges of the pieces were generally used without retouch. In contrast, the other raw materials were mainly used to obtain laminar blanks, depending on the quality of the material. However, blade reduction strictly-speaking was only used with the best quality materials in Levels F and G and it became less representative in Level E. Most of the retouched tools are typologically undiagnostic as they consist of denticulates, sidescrapers, some endscrapers and pieces with cursory retouch. The most outstanding artefacts are therefore a burin, a possible flake with flat retouch, two backed bladelets and a ‘thumbnail’ endscraper. These traits are consistent with the attribution of the Levels G and F to the Lower Magdalenian (González-Sainz and González-Urquijo 2004; Fontes et al. 2015), and Level E to the Azilian (Fernández-Tresguerres 2004; Straus 2018), as their radiocarbon chronology suggest. It must be highlighted that these two periods are also represented in the neighbouring cave of Los Canes (Arias, 2013), where the lithic assemblage (including tool types characteristic of the two periods) is much more significant (Arias, 2002). 6. Conclusions The results have increased the available information on the human settlement of the Cares valley in the late Upper Pleistocene. The management of firewood was focused mostly on the calcareous substrates that are so common in the area, where pinewood was the main fuel for the domestic hearths. Procurement of firewood from plant communities with different ecologies is characteristic of hunter-gatherer societies in northern Spain, as they were constantly in movement as a form of adaptation to a changing environment. The archaeozoological study has similarly revealed a diversified hunting strategy in which some animal resources were captured on the crags near the cave, while the surrounding valleys and forests were more favourable for hunting deer and wild boar. From the economic point of view, this strategy enabled the maximum use of the prey in the area, thus reducing the costs of seeking, hunting, processing and transporting the hunted animals. It has been claimed that in northern Spain in the Upper Palaeolithic hunting was specialised in two main species: Iberian ibex and red deer, depending on the location of the site (González Sainz, 1992; Altuna, 1995; Yravedra, 2002). Sites with a significant predominance of red deer are located in open valleys favourable for hunting those ungulates, whereas sites with high percentages of Iberian ibex would be situated 9

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near crags or mountainous areas, where this species would have been more abundant; this is the case, for example, of Level 4 from Coimbre Cave during Lower Magdalenian in the Cares Valley (Yravedra et al., 2017). However, a mixed hunting strategy was proposed for the Sella valley, as represented by La Güelga Cave (Menéndez et al., 2005), where, because of its location close to different biotopes, both hunting strategies were employed. Arangas Cave would be a comparable case. The small number of lithic remains and undiagnostic artefacts do not provide much information regarding the periods represented in the Palaeolithic sequence in Arangas Cave. However, the ‘thumbnail’ endscraper in Level E might be indicative of an Azilian occupation (Fernández-Tresguerres, 2004) and this accords with the radiocarbon date for the level and the anthracological evidence. A possible flake with flat retouch in Level G may indicate a Solutrean occupation. However, the absence of a radiocarbon date for the base of Level G (the two bone samples analysed did not yield a result because they lacked collagen) and the limited anthracological information mean that this assignation cannot be taken as definitive.

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Acknowledgements The archaeological fieldwork in Arangas Cave was authorised and partially funded by the Culture and Tourism Department in the Government of the Principality of Asturias. This research was undertaken in the context of the Spanish project HAR2017-82557-P funded by the Programa Estatal de Fomento de la Investigación Científica y Técnica de Excelencia, of the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. References Adán, G.E., Álvarez-Lao, D., Turrero, P., Arbizu, M., García-Vázquez, E., 2009. Fish as diet resource in North Spain during the Upper Palaeolithic. J. Archaeol. Sci. 36, 895–899. Altuna, J., 1992. Asociaciones de macromamíferos del Pleistoceno Superior en el Pirineo occidental y el Cantábrico. In: Cearreta, A., Ugarte, F.M. (Eds.), The late Quaternary in the western Pyrenean region, Servicio Editorial. Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao, pp. 15–28. Altuna, J., 1995. Faunas de mamíferos y cambios ambientales durante el Tardiglaciar Cantábrico. In: Moure, A., González Sainz, C. (Eds.), El Final del Paleolítico Cantábrico. Transformaciones ambientales y culturales durante el Tardiglacial y comienzos del Holoceno en la Región Cantábrica, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander. Álvarez-Alonso, D., Yravedra, J., 2017. La cueva de Coimbre (Peñamellera Alta, Asturias). Ocupaciones humanas en el valle del Cares durante el Paleolítico Superior, Fundación María Cristina Masaveu Peterson, Madrid. Arias, P., 2013. Los últimos cazadores. El Mesolítico asturiano visto desde la cueva de Los Canes, in: Blas Cortina, M.A. (Ed.), De neandertales a albiones: cuatro lugares esenciales de la Prehistoria en Asturias, Real Instituto de Estudios Asturianos, Oviedo, pp. 37-67. Arias, P., 2002. La cueva de Los Canes (Asturias). Los últimos cazadores de la Península Ibérica ante la muerte, Unpublished Report, Santander. Arias, P., Ontañón-Peredo, R., 1999. Excavaciones arqueológicas en la cueva de Arangas (1995-1998). La ocupación de la Edad del Bronce, Excavaciones arqueológicas en Asturias 1995-1998. , Servicio de Publicaciones del Principado de Asturias. Consejería de Cultura., Oviedo, pp. 75-88. Arias, P., Pérez Suárez, C., 1995. Excavaciones arqueológicas en Arangas, Cabrales (19911994). Las cuevas de Los Canes, el Tiu Llines y Arangas, Excavaciones arqueológicas en Asturias 1991-1994., Servicio de Publicaciones del Principado de Asturias. Consejería de Cultura, Oviedo, pp. 79-92. Badal, E., Carrión, Y., Rivera, D., Uzquiano, P., 2003. In: La recogida de muestras en Arqueobotánica: objetivos y propuestas metodológicas (Primer encuentro del Grupo de Arqueobotánica de la Península Ibérica G.T.A.P.I.), Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya, pp. 19–29. Bailon, S., 1991. Amphibiens et reptiles du Pliocene et du Quaternaire de France et Espagne: mise en place et évolution des faunes. Université Paris VII, Paris, pp. 499. Barone, R., 1966. Atlas de mammifères domestiques. Masson, Paris. Barone, R., 1976. Anatomie Comparée des Mammifères Domestiques. Vigot, Paris. Behrensmeyer, A.K., Gordon, K.D., Yanagi, G.T., 1986. Trampling as a cause of bone surface damage and pseudo-cutmarks. Nature 319, 768–771. Binford, L.R., 1981. Bones: ancient men and modern myths. Academic Press, New York. Blumenschine, R.J., Selvaggio, M.M., 1988. Percussion marks on bone surfaces as a new diagnostic of hominid behaviour. Nature 333, 763–765. Bronk Ramsey, C., 2001. Development of the radiocarbon calibration program. Radiocarbon 43, 355–363. Bronk Ramsey, C.B., 2009. Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 51, 337–360. Bull, G., Payne, S., 1982. Tooth eruption and epiphyseal fusion in pigs and wild boar, in:

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