The cave acknowledged as Cova Gran (Avellanes-Santa Linya, Noguera) preserves plenty of vestiges within just its sediments, which lets researchers to reconstruct above 50,000 many years of background of all those living in the Pre-Pyrennean region (Lleida province), from the Neanderthals to the the initially Homo sapiens as effectively as the hunther-gatherer-way of living to the initially farmers and herders.
The study crew at the Centre for the Research of Archaeological Heritage of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (CEPARQ-UAB) researching the Cova Gran given that 2002 has identified continues to be dating back again from 45,000 to 4,000 many years in the past. But no bones of those residing there experienced at any time been found. Right up until very last year’s dig campaign, in which the skeletal stays of a human, in partial anatomic relationship, ended up located two meters beneath ground in a lateral excavation location. A locale in which researchers would not have imagined getting these sorts of remains.
The set ofrecovered remains, which has been produced community today, corresponds to a girl who has been supplied the title of “Linya, the woman from Noguera”. The bones include two femurs, one of them linked to the pelvis, as perfectly as the prolonged bones of the upper extremities (hummerus, radius/cubitus) and lower extremities (tibia and fibula), the metapodia and various phalanges. The cranium and axial skeleton (vertebrates and ribs), despite the fact that current, had little illustration.
The courting of the stratum in which the remains had been observed and the relationship of one particular of the bones have narrowed down the period of time in which she lived to all around 14,350 and 14,100 a long time in the past, which corresponds to the end of the Upper Paleolithic interval, which also corresponds to the close of the Pleistocene.
“The continues to be of Linya open up a new door that delivers us nearer to exploring the instances in which she died, but also facts about her lifetime and that of those she lived with in the location. And at the identical time, she is a crucial figure in studying about the anatomy and genetic heritage of hunter-gatherer societies at the end of the Pleistocene in the northeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula”, highlights Rafael Mora, Chair Professor at the UAB Section of Prehistory and researcher at the CEPARQ. “The combination of various paleoanthropological, forensic, genomic and archaeological analyses currently underway will deliver indicators which will enrich and rectify the present-day standpoint of a discovery we only have preliminary information on thanks to the digs we are conducting”.
The condition of conservation of the bones has designed it required to use stabilizing and preservation processes in sights of upcoming reports. These processes are being carried out now at the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES).
Put in a natural receptacle
The stays were uncovered inside of what is viewed as to be a organic receptacle, delimited by a variety of blocks of significant proportions fallen from the rockshelter. Researchers are currently investigating no matter whether the extremities have been moved to the cubicle, whilst the axial skeleton and cranium had been safeguarded below these massive rocks. What researchers have been in a position to identify is that the locale is exactly where the man or woman was lain after she was dead. In accordance to the position of the femurs, she was lain immediately on the ground in a supine posture. The to start with paleoanthropological characterization conducted signifies that the pelvic girdle corresponds to an grownup feminine, quite possibly of modest stature.
The skeleton appeared at the foundation of an archaeological sequencing of 7 consecutive archaeological ranges containing an abundance of lithic equipment,faunal and carbon remains, all of which issue to the use of the internet site as a dwelling house. But the mattress on which the overall body was lain did not incorporate any of people aspects. Currently, the investigation team is searching for doable funerary offerings, which had been extremely prevalent in the burials of Homo sapiens. The sediment of the place marked out by the huge blocks is now staying sampled to get well micro residue that could point out that the system was covered with animal skins or plant fibers. This would justify the way the system was lain on the ground, with out the have to have of digging a burial house.
“We are aware of the need to have to be cautious when affirming that this is an intended burial site”, researcher at the CEPARQ Jorge Martinez-Moreno factors out. He goes on to say that, “mortuary practices among hunter-gatherers issue to distinct possibilities, ranging from an intentional burial to a secondary burial, the burial of aspect of the body, cannibalism, or an accidental demise. We will need to consider these eventualities based on the results of what we dig up in the place in which these continues to be appeared”.
Carbon-14 relationship employing fragments of the carbon located in the archaeological degrees in which the stays appeared show that the sediment was fashioned in less than a millennium, from all-around 14,400 to 13,500 many years ago. The clarification for why this sediment grew so a lot, and which was accompanied by the detachment of various substantial blocks from the cave’s cornice, is becoming analyzed by means of the geomorphology and content that make up this part of the mountain’s slope.
A second of ecological transform
The time period in which Linya and her individuals lived was significant in climatic terms. Some 14,700 a long time back, the world’s extremely cold and harsh local climate circumstances attribute of the Previous Glacial Highest (roughly 30,000 to 15,000 decades in the past) suddenly adjusted and in a time period of less than 100 several years, transformed into a new local climate routine very similar to the a person current now. This celebration, recognised as the Bölling/Allerød warming, developing some 14,700 to 12,900 yrs in advance of the current, and was characterised by a rise in temperatures and rainfall, which produced applicable ecological variations.
In spite of the fact that the impact of this party on the Pre-Pyrennees is not considerably regarded, some indicators recovered at the Cova Gran have permitted scientists to analyze this incident. Carbon courting evaluation implies that the human species residing there for the duration of the Past Glacial Optimum only utilized European purple pine (Pynus sylvestris) timber for gasoline. In the sequence now being dug, in which the continues to be of Linya have been discovered, other new taxon’s in addition to purple pine carbon were recognized, these types of the popular juniper (Juniperus), cherry trees (Prunus) and buckthorn (Rhamus catharticus/saxatilis), a established of trees and shrubs belonging to milder climates, various to the harshness of the forests of the Final Glacial Utmost.
Pretty number of remains of Homo sapiens in the Iberian Peninsula
The amount of human stays discovered in the Iberian Peninsula and corresponding to the Upper Paleolithic interval (20,000 to 12,000 years ago) is scarce. In this sense, the Cova Gran will be key to discovering more about their anatomy and in which the Hunter-gatherer societies came from at the end of the Pleistocene.
A current paleogenetic analyze conducted by the Max Planck Institute on remains recovered from the El Mirón Cave in Santander and the Balma Guilanyà rock shelter in Lleida indicates that the genome sequencing of the “Red Girl of El Mirón”, courting back again 20,000 yrs, reveals close ties to human populations of Western Europe. A problem which changes in the stays located at the Balma Guilanyà rock shelter, dating 1,000 a long time later than the stays uncovered at the Cova Gran, in which there is a continuation of genetic markers prevalent to European populations, but also new markers which are existing in the populations of the Italian Peninsula.
As a result, in the interval of 20,000 to 13,000 decades, the genome of Pyrenean populations registers contacts with populations from the Mediterranean. “Maybe the new local climate conditions of the Bölling/Allerød warming facilitated standard contacts between these geographic places?” researchers wonder. “The human remains at the Cova Gran will be critical to assessing the solidity of this exciting intuition”, they position out.
The CEPARQ group is confident that the unexpected discovery of Linya will support to modulate the notions now sustained of the anatomy of all those Homo sapiens, “of whom we have significantly less specific understanding than we do of Neanderthals”, researchers state. They also mention the fact that “the triggers leading to the visual appearance of a space designed by huge blocks will support us in understanding about the actions and choices taken by these individuals relating to a transcendental and popular celebration these kinds of as death: what ritual was followed by these individuals who are aspect of our collective, but are no for a longer period current? The remains of Linya now pose numerous issues, and we hope to resolve them in the coming years”, they conclude.
The archaeological significance of the Cova Gran de Santa Linya
The Cova Gran de Santa Linya, uncovered in 2002, is a internet site measuring more than 2,500 sq. meters, deemed essential to the review of the existence of human beings in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula.
It is 1 of the handful of websites of the Mediterranean region in which vestiges of a instant of “transition” have been uncovered, such as those of the final Neanderthals (roughly 45,000 yrs back) and the visual appearance of fashionable individuals (some 37,000 to 30,000 a long time), their survival throughout the Very last Glacial Highest (20,000 to 15,000 years), and the visual appearance of the to start with farmers and herders (7,000 to 4,000 years ago).
The exploration performed by the CEPARQ-UAB workforce at the Cova Gran de Santa Linya features the monetary support of the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation, the Archaeology and Palaecology Assistance of the Ministry for Society of the Federal government of Catalonia, the Institute for Lleida Scientific tests (IEI) of the Lleida Provincial Council, the Palarq Foundation, the Leakey Basis and the City Council of Les Avellanes i Santa Linya.