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The depositional environments of Schöningen 13 II-4 and their archaeological implications

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Geoarchaeological research at the Middle Pleistocene site of Schöningen 13 II-4, often referred to as the

    Speerhorizont, has focused on describing and evaluating the depositional contexts of the well-known

    wooden spears, butchered horses, and stone tools. These finds were recovered from the transitional

    contact between a lacustrine marl and an overlying organic mud, originally thought to be a peat that

    accumulated in place under variable moisture conditions. The original excavators proposed that hominin

    activity, including hunting and butchery, occurred on a dry lake shore and was followed by a rapid

    sedimentation of organic deposits that embedded and preserved the artifacts. Our geoarchaeological

    analysis challenges this model. Here, we present evidence that the sediments of Schöningen 13 II-4 were

    deposited in a constantly submerged area of a paleolake. Although we cannot exclude the possibility that

    the artifacts were deposited during a short, extreme drying event, there are no sedimentary features

    indicative of surface exposure in the sediments. Accordingly, this paper explores three main alternative

    models of site formation: anthropogenic disposal of materials into the lake, a geological relocation of the

    artifacts, and hunting or caching on lake-ice. These models have different behavioral ramifications

    concerning hominin knowledge and exploitation of the landscape and their subsistence strategies.

UOW Authors


  •   Stahlschmidt, Mareike C. (external author)
  •   Miller, Christopher E. (external author)
  •   Ligouis, Bertrand (external author)
  •   Goldberg, Paul (external author)
  •   Berna, Francesco (external author)
  •   Urban, Brigitte (external author)
  •   Conard, Nicholas J. (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Stahlschmidt, M. C., Miller, C. E., Ligouis, B., Goldberg, P., Berna, F., Urban, B. & Conard, N. J. (2015). The depositional environments of Schöningen 13 II-4 and their archaeological implications. Journal of Human Evolution, 89 71-91.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84940706738

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/5127

Number Of Pages


  • 20

Start Page


  • 71

End Page


  • 91

Volume


  • 89

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom

Abstract


  • Geoarchaeological research at the Middle Pleistocene site of Schöningen 13 II-4, often referred to as the

    Speerhorizont, has focused on describing and evaluating the depositional contexts of the well-known

    wooden spears, butchered horses, and stone tools. These finds were recovered from the transitional

    contact between a lacustrine marl and an overlying organic mud, originally thought to be a peat that

    accumulated in place under variable moisture conditions. The original excavators proposed that hominin

    activity, including hunting and butchery, occurred on a dry lake shore and was followed by a rapid

    sedimentation of organic deposits that embedded and preserved the artifacts. Our geoarchaeological

    analysis challenges this model. Here, we present evidence that the sediments of Schöningen 13 II-4 were

    deposited in a constantly submerged area of a paleolake. Although we cannot exclude the possibility that

    the artifacts were deposited during a short, extreme drying event, there are no sedimentary features

    indicative of surface exposure in the sediments. Accordingly, this paper explores three main alternative

    models of site formation: anthropogenic disposal of materials into the lake, a geological relocation of the

    artifacts, and hunting or caching on lake-ice. These models have different behavioral ramifications

    concerning hominin knowledge and exploitation of the landscape and their subsistence strategies.

UOW Authors


  •   Stahlschmidt, Mareike C. (external author)
  •   Miller, Christopher E. (external author)
  •   Ligouis, Bertrand (external author)
  •   Goldberg, Paul (external author)
  •   Berna, Francesco (external author)
  •   Urban, Brigitte (external author)
  •   Conard, Nicholas J. (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Stahlschmidt, M. C., Miller, C. E., Ligouis, B., Goldberg, P., Berna, F., Urban, B. & Conard, N. J. (2015). The depositional environments of Schöningen 13 II-4 and their archaeological implications. Journal of Human Evolution, 89 71-91.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84940706738

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/5127

Number Of Pages


  • 20

Start Page


  • 71

End Page


  • 91

Volume


  • 89

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom