Lithic artifacts and bone tools from the Lower Palaeolithic site Marathousa1, Megalopolis, Greece: Preliminary results

Here we present the ‘Abstract‘ of the corresponding paper by Vangelis Tourloukis, Nicholas Thompson, Eleni Panagopoulou, Domenico Giusti, George E. Konidaris, Panagiotis Karkanas, Katerina Harvati.


The technological systems and subsistence strategies of Middle Pleistocene hominins in South-East Europe are insufficiently understood due to the scarcity of well-preserved, excavated assemblages. In this paper, we present first results from the study of the lithic and bone artifacts unearthed at the Lower Palaeolithic site Marathousa 1(MAR-1), Megalopolis, Greece. The context of the site represents a depositional environment close to a lake-shore, where rapid burial in a very fine-grained matrix ensured extraordinary conditions for preservation. Lithicartifacts occur in spatial and stratigraphic association with remains of the elephant Palaeoloxodon antiquus as well as other mammals. Bones, including those of elephants, show clear anthropogenic flaking scars, cut-marks and fracture patterns indicating deliberate breakage and modification by early humans. The MAR-1 lithic assemblage is composed of small-sized debitage, retouched tools, a few small and exhausted cores, as well as a large number of debris and retouch products, such as chips and resharpening flakes. Currently, there are noindications of Acheulean bifacial debitage, large cutting tools are missing, and a key aspect of the material refersto its ‘microlithic’ character. The scarcity of cores and primary flakes indicates a fragmented reduction sequenceand complex discard patterns that require further investigation. On the basis of the on-going analysis of lithicmaterial from three field seasons, we discuss aspects of assemblage composition and the role of raw materialtypes, the main technological and typological traits of the industry, as well as the potential contribution of theMAR-1 assemblage in broader discussions about Middle Pleistocene lithic techno-complexes and subsistencestrategies in Eurasia. Finally, we briefly present a small sample of bone artifacts, which suggest that hominin exploitation of the animal carcasses was not restricted to marrow extraction and bone processing for nutritional needs, but included also the knapping of bones, potentially with the aim of using the knapped products as tools.The MAR-1 archaeological record compares well with other important Eurasian sites yielding ‘small tool as-semblages’, such as Ficoncella, La Polledrara, Bilzingsleben, Schöningen and Vértesszőlős, some of which, likeMAR-1, have provided evidence of elephant or other mega-fauna exploitation.



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