Researchers Examined Ancient Hearths And Redefined Their Understanding Of Neanderthal Behavior In The Process

Gorodenkoff - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

A team of researchers discovered six Neanderthal hearths at a Paleolithic site in Spain called El Salt.

The hearths were formed over 200 to 240 years and were most likely created decades apart from each other.

The technique the researchers used to analyze the hearths has been described as a significant archaeological development that could help reveal more about the behaviors of prehistoric humans.

Establishing the timeline of human activity during the Paleolithic period, or Old Stone Age, has been one of the most difficult tasks for archaeologists to figure out.

The Paleolithic period goes all the way back to about three million years ago, when stone tools were first used, and lasted until around 12,000 years ago.

It is a challenge because dating techniques have many limitations. For example, radiocarbon techniques are unable to date samples older than 50,000 to 60,000 years. Other approaches can produce results that are off by several thousand years.

“Although it has been proposed that Paleolithic hunter-gatherers were highly mobile, key aspects of their lifestyle, such as the time between camps and the size of traveling groups, remain unclear,” wrote the authors of the study.

“Complexity in the formation of Paleolithic sites makes it difficult to single out human occupation episodes and resolve the time between them.”

To address this issue, a research team led by Ángela Herrejón-Lagunilla of the University of Burgos in Spain examined 52,000-year-old hearths at El Salt by conducting archaeostratigraphic analyses.

Gorodenkoff – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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