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This hybrid dissertation explores how hunter-gatherer groups who lived during the Initial and Lower Magdalenian archaeological periods (c.17-14,000 uncal. BP) adapted their lithic technological organization to environmental complexity in the Vasco-Cantabrian region of north coastal Spain. Four manuscripts that examine aspects of Last Glacial hunter-gatherer adaptations are presented in this dissertation. The first three have been published or are in press in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, Journal of Archaeological Science, and Quaternary International. The last is a completed manuscript that is under review by the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. The first paper focuses on how archaeologists examine prehistoric transitions using a case study from Urtiaga cave, Giup\xfazcoa. This case demonstrates that lithic maintenance was a significant factor in Initial Magdalenian landscape-level adaptations. The second paper summarizes the lithic and osseous industries (the latter studied by L. Straus), recovered from the El Mirón cave and demonstrates the sites importance as a Lower Magdalenian residential site in central Cantabria. The third manuscript explores hunter-gatherer lithic conveyance patterns based on four sites in central Cantabria (Altamira, El Juyo, El Rascaño, and El Mirón) and proposes that the Lower Magdalenian groups who occupied these sites shared an economic territory that expanded from Cantabria into western Navarra. Local raw material conveyance shows that shifting environmental zones was an important factor in how groups mover through the diverse Cantabrian landscape. The fourth manuscript investigates how Lower Magdalenian groups procured raw materials using a mathematical model that predicts toolstone production efficiency. Using samples from the same four central Cantabrian contexts, the paper explores the relationships among toolstone efficiency, lithic procurement, and Last Glacial mobility. Each case study presented as part of this dissertation contributes to archaeological understanding of how human groups adapted--particularly through technological management and movement--to the complex environments of north coastal Spain during the early Magdalenian period.


Upper Paleolithic, Magdalenian, Vasco-Cantabrian Spain, Lithic Technology, Technological Organization, Mobility, Mathematical Modeling, Human Behavioral Ecology

Project Sponsors

National Science Foundation American Association for University Women UNM Latin American and Iberian Institute UNM Office of Graduate Studies UNM Office of Career Services UNM Graduate and Professional Student Organization UNM Fund for Stone Age Research UNM Department of Anthropology

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Jones, Emily

Second Committee Member

Huckell, Bruce

Third Committee Member

Boone, James

Fourth Committee Member

Surovell, Todd

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Anthropology Commons