The Mousterian site of Roca San Miguel (Arén, Huesca, Spain). Geomorphological, chronological, and paleoenvironmental context from the Penultimate to the Last Glacial Cycle.
Peña-Monné, J.L., Montes, L., Sampietro-Vattuone, M.M., Domingo, R., Medialdea, A., Bartolomé, M., Rubio Fernández, V., García Giménez, R., Turu, V., Ros, X., Baró, P., Bernal-Wormull, J.L., Edwards, R.L., 2021.The Mousterian site of Roca San Miguel (Arén, Huesca, Spain). Geomorphological, chronological, and paleoenvironmental context from the Penultimate to the Last Glacial Cycle. Quaternary Research (2021), 1-20.
The Roca San Miguel (RSM) archaeological site was occupied during Mousterian times. Here we present a geoarchaeological and paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the site. Five stratigraphic units (A to E) formed by different archaeological levels are identified. Three optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages show that Unit A dates to between 169.6 ± 9.1 and 151.9 ± 11.1 ka, during the penultimate glacial period (PGP), and contains numerous signs of recurring hearths. Unit B is unexcavated. Unit C dates to between 118.9 ± 11.5 and 103.4 ± 6.9 ka (late Eemian–marine isotope stage (MIS) 5d) and shows an abundance of lithic remains as well as some faunal elements. Unit C is covered by Unit D, which incorporates materials moved downslope, and is dated at 81.2 ± 4.7 ka. These OSL ages concur with U/Th ages (129.3 ± 1.5 and 123.6 ± 0.6 ka) derived from a flowstone covered by both -C and Dpost-flowstone units. Finally, Unit E covers the archaeological site, which was partially eroded during MIS2. The robust and well-constrained chronology of the RSM site and surroundings enables the establishment of its evolutionary model from the PGP to the last glacial cycle. The RSM site is the oldest Neanderthal occupation accurately dated in the Pre-Pyrenean region.