New study on Neanderthal occupations in the Sierra de Madrid

The researchers of the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH) Laura Sánchez-Romero, Alfredo Pérez-González and Theodoros Karampaglidis have just published a new paper in the journal Trabajos de Prehistoria on the occupation and activities carried out by groups of Neanderthals at the Navalmaíllo site in the municipality of Pinilla del Valle, near Madrid.

This is a study of the temporariness of the occupational processes of the Paleolithic sites, applying archaeostratigraphic and spatial analysis methods, which has enabled the time distribution of the remains excavated since 2002 throughout the area of Neanderthal occupation to be known.

“We've been able to identify at least two moments for the occupation of the karstic rockshelter of Navalmaíllo, separated by a period when it was abandoned, and there wasn't just one intensive occupation as had been thought initially”, explains Sánchez-Romero.

To identify the levels of occupation and their three-dimensional projection, SIG analysis and 3D techniques were applied, as well as studies known as lithic refits, where lithic elements are assembled to reveal the chipping sequence, to test the integrity and synchrony of the deposit.