The University of Arizona

The Radiocarbon Chronology of El Mir?n Cave (Cantabria, Spain): New Dates for the Initial Magdalenian Occupations

Lawrence Guy Straus, Manuel R Gonz?lez Morales


Three additional radiocarbon assays were run on samples from 3 levels lying below the classic (?15,500 BP) Lower Cantabrian Magdalenian horizon in the outer vestibule excavation area of El Mir?n Cave in the Cantabrian Cordillera of northern Spain. Although the central tendencies of the new dates are out of stratigraphic order, they are consonant with the post-Solutrean, Initial Magdalenian period both in El Mir?n and in the Cantabrian region, indicating a technological transition in preferred weaponry from foliate and shouldered points to microliths and antler sagaies between about 17,000?16,000 BP (uncalibrated), during the early part of the Oldest Dryas pollen zone. Now with 65 14C dates, El Mir?n is one of the most thoroughly dated prehistoric sites in western Europe. The until-now poorly dated, but very distinctive Initial Cantabrian Magdalenian lithic artifact assemblages are briefly summarized.

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