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Comptes Rendus Palevol
Volume 14, n° 5
pages 411-422 (juillet 2015)
Doi : 10.1016/j.crpv.2015.03.010
Received : 20 November 2014 ;  accepted : 18 Mars 2015
Lighting the dark: Wood charcoal analysis from Cueva de Nerja (Málaga, Spain) as a tool to explore the context of Palaeolithic rock art
Éclairer l’obscurité : analyse de charbon de bois de Cueva De Nerja (Málaga, Espagne) comme outil pour l’exploration du contexte de l’art pariétal paléolithique

Ma Ángeles Medina-Alcaide a, , José Luis Sanchidrián Torti b, Lydia Zapata Peña a
a UPV/EHU, Geography, Prehistory and Archaeology, University of the Basque Country, C/Tomás y Valiente, 01006 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain 
b Geography and Territory Sciences, University of Cordoba UCO, Pl/Cardenal Salazar, 14071 Cordoba, Spain 

Corresponding author.

This study examines 100 charred plant macroremains from the inner galleries of Cueva de Nerja in order to better understand the context of Palaeolithic rock art and obtain information about possible lighting systems. The remains were retrieved on the surface, very close to Palaeolithic cave paintings, and also from inside possible points of fixed lighting. The predominant wood-type is Pinus sp., especially Pinus tp. sylvestris/nigra . The taphonomic alterations recorded are attributable to the combustion process (vitrification and cracks), the possible gathering of dead wood (fungal hyphae/mycelia), the use of branches and twigs (reaction wood) and the burning of resinous taxa (resin marks). The identification of a vegetative bud of Pinus sylvestris furnishes information about the use of tree branches, as well as the time of year at which the Cueva de Nerja may have been frequented by prehistoric groups.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Cette étude examine 100 macrovestiges de plantes carbonisées provenant des galeries intérieures de Cueva De Nerja, afin de mieux comprendre le contexte de l’art pariétal paléolithique et d’obtenir des informations sur les possibles systèmes d’éclairage. Les restes ont été récupérés en surface, très près des peintures paléolithiques de la caverne, et également à l’intérieur des possibles lieux d’éclairage fixe. Le type de bois prédominant est Pinus sp., particulièrement Pinus tp. sylvestris/nigra . Les altérations taphonomiques enregistrées sont attribuables au processus de combustion (vitrification et fissures), à un possible ramassage de bois mort (hyphes/mycéliums de champignons), à l’utilisation de branches et de brindilles (bois de réaction) et à la combustion de taxons résineux (marques de résine). L’identification d’un bourgeon végétatif de Pinus sylvestris documente l’utilisation de branches d’arbre, ainsi que l’époque au cours de laquelle la Cueva de Nerja a pu être fréquentée par les groupes préhistoriques.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Keywords : Wood charcoal analysis, Taphonomy, Inner archaeological context, Parietal art, Upper Palaeolithic

Mots clés : Anthracologie, Taphonomie, Contexte archéologique interne, Art pariétal, Paléolithique supérieur

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