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'Last Neanderthal technology' shows species had trouble before modern humans reached Europe

That’s why researchers are so excited about what’s just been discovered during archaeological excavations near the coast of what is now Spain’s Basque Country. IE’Report of the discovery here. We caught up with the lead author to learn how the findings fit into the bigger picture.

Archaeologist Joseba Rios Garizer says Internet Explorer The site would have been six miles from the coast when Neanderthals lived there.

“These people were taking advantage of this location because it was so close to a source of flint that was of very high quality. say.

While excavating the site known as Arambartsa II, Rios-Garaizar and his colleagues found over 5,000 blades and fragments “broken during the manufacturing process.”

What they didn’t find was evidence that Neanderthals lived in the exact places where they did their work (archaeologists usually limit their excavations to small patches). and few signs of a fire were found.

“It’s like Flint’s workshop,” he says. They found a lot of evidence that the Neanderthals who worked there were at the cutting edge of Stone Age technology.

A group of Neanderthals had a unique tool-making style

Archaeologists call them “stone tools,” but the tools used by Neanderthals and other extinct humans are surprisingly sophisticated.

“It’s really clear that there was a social organization behind the production of stone tools,” says Rios-Garaizar. “This meant that there was a technical standard for how things were done. These people were making things in a precise way. We applied and made what we wanted, which means there was a learning and educating process: Nappers learned how to do things from other Nappers,” he says.

'Last Neanderthal technology' shows species had trouble before modern humans reached Europe

primitive ax

During the Middle Paleolithic (a broad period that began 300,000 years ago and ended just 30,000 years ago), Neanderthals used stones to knock flakes of flint off larger pieces to cut and scrape them. I made a tool for He’s not the only way to do this, but some approaches work, others don’t. Various groups of Neanderthals used “many different systems” to make these flaky tools, but the underlying technology was “the basis of their industry.”

Specifically, however, different groups used different techniques.

“If you compare the Middle Palaeolithic in the Iberian Peninsula, France, Germany, Eastern Europe and Italy, they are different in some ways, even though they appear similar. [in others]’ says Rios-Garaizar. “You can see that the Neanderthals had different cultural traditions. They dispersed the groups [across space and time] via Eurasia. ”

These unique tool-making traditions provide archaeologists with a rare opportunity to understand how Neanderthals lived in groups. One of the best ways to understand how these groups are related is to analyze the techniques used to create the tools called “technocomplexes”.

“There is something called a certain culture in the Paleolithic period, not a civilization, but a culture,” he says. These groups “shared the same technological choices, the same lifestyle, and maybe even genes. They shared materials, knowledge and other kinds of things,” he says.

Archaeological records show that as technological innovations emerged, they spread within groups, sometimes from one group to another.

“At various times during the Middle Paleolithic period, several inventions and innovations were introduced into [a] also in the group [groups in] different parts of Europe,” says Rios-Garaizar. It means that there was “a cultural transmission, and perhaps an exchange of knowledge, between groups.”

In this way, several important technologies spread to the Neanderthal world. This includes the use of glue, certain bone tools, reddish pigmented ocher, and flint napping methods.

The 5,000 artifacts Rios-Garaizar and his colleagues uncovered in excavations offer tantalizing clues as to when and how the last of these technological innovations spread across the continent.

Chatel Peronian Was Neanderthal’s Last Great Invention – Possibly

In the 1840s, workers building a railroad at Châtelperron, France, dug several caves that later archaeologists discovered contained remains of tools that differed significantly from other Neanderthal stone tools. discovered. For many archaeologists, including Rios-Garaizar, these finds indicate that “something changed at the end of the Middle Paleolithic.”

“In the middle of France, some Neanderthals started changing their technique. They put flakes aside and started making blades,” he says.

The difference between the two types of artifacts is obvious to the trained eye.

“The flakes are more or less square, and can have different edges. Blades, on the other hand, are longer. “You can retouch them and give them different shapes, but what you get is something more or less standardized in terms of morphology,” he says.

The blades and other artifacts found with them are so distinctive that archaeologists refer to this style, and possibly the group that made them, as Châtel-Peronian.

There is a lively debate among archaeologists as to who exactly Chatel-Peronian was. French cave tools were found near Neanderthal skeletal fossils, and most scholars attribute the technology to Neanderthals. However, some believe that Châtelperron-era tools were anatomically modern humans, or at least influenced by the Neanderthals who made such tools.

Archaeologists have found Châtelperonian artifacts at sites throughout France and northern Spain, allowing leading researchers like Rios Gallisar to see “territories stretching from the Paris Basin to the northern Iberian Peninsula”. I was.

If the Châtelperronians-were-Neanderthals team is right, the technology is particularly attractive. Because this technology appears to be the last wave of innovation to reach Neanderthal Europe.

“After the Châtel-Peronian, anatomically modern humans entered Europe and occupied the whole land. [continent]The Neanderthals simply disappeared. So this is the last Neanderthal technology,” he says. More recent artifacts are anatomically conclusively the product of modern humans.

The last few thousand years of Neanderthals were perhaps more tumultuous than researchers previously thought

Aranbaltza II is the newest of the three sites within tens of feet of each other. The oldest ruins are about 100,000 years old, and the middle ruins are about 50,000 years old. For Rios-Garaizar and his colleagues, his 43,000-year-old Chatelperonian remains found at the latest site are anatomically linked to Neanderthals as modern humans slowly began to conquer Europe. It’s important because it provides valuable insight into what was happening.

They found the remains of Châtel Peronian, a few layers above the remains of the next oldest site. Separating the two caches is an “archaeologically barren” layer of Earth. This suggests that the inhabitants of Châtel-Peronia were an entirely different group than the Neanderthals who had lived there before. The technology is so different that the earlier groups don’t seem to have any influence on the more recent ones.

“I think we have reasonably proven that the Neanderthals disappeared from this area that had been occupied for thousands of years. [sat] empty for at least 1,000 years [before] Other Neanderthals came. ”

The researchers are taking it as evidence that Neanderthals were already going through “some kind of demographic crisis” before anatomically modern humans arrived in Europe, he said. Says, “Perhaps there was a problem with obtaining resources, animals, food, or materials.”

A long period of high quality flint used by several groups of Neanderthals over the years [was not present] This, he says, is further evidence that he suspected “untangled networks created by Neanderthals that probably began 50,000 years ago.”

If Neanderthals had already faced massive catastrophe, it might not have been so difficult for anatomically modern humans to find a foothold in Europe.

“This empty space must have helped modern humans invade. [the continent] Wipe out the Neanderthals quickly, or [breed] Form a new group with them. [why they] It’s not completely gone,” he says.

“Perhaps the situation was very complicated, but we are saying that … Neanderthals were experiencing demographic problems before modern humans arrived in Western Europe.”


Multiple factors have been proposed to explain the extinction of Neanderthals. 50 and 40 kyr BP. Central to these debates is the identification of a new techno-cultural complex that coincided with the demise of Neanderthals in Europe. One such complex is the Châtel-Peronian, which extends from the Paris Basin to the Northern Iberian Peninsula between 43,760 and 39,220 BP. This study presents the first open-air Châtelperron site on the Northern Iberian Peninsula, Arambartsa II. The technical features of its stone tools do not show a link to previous Middle Paleolithic technology in the region, and chronological modeling suggests that the region’s most recent Middle Paleolithic and Châtelperronian ages are the same. reveals the gap between We interpret this as evidence that Neanderthals became locally extinct and were replaced by other Neanderthal groups from southern France, suggesting that local extinction episodes occurred during the course of Neanderthal disappearance. It shows how it played its role.