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Evidence of human presence found in Atapuerca since 1.2 million years

Burgos / The remains found on the TD8 level of the Gran Dolina have allowed documenting for the first time human presence in the Sierra de Atapuerca in a time band between 500,000 and 600,000 years, of which there was no evidence until now, which confirms the uninterrupted occupation in Atapuerca over 1.2 million years.

The appearance of two quartzite utensils -a flake and a carved edge- have been key to understanding the sequence of this continuous human presence at the Gran Dolina site, as explained by the three co-directors on the balance of the excavation period this Thursday Eudald Carbonell, Juan Luis Arsuaga and José María Bermúdez.

With this finding, it can be affirmed that it has been a key campaign for the understanding of the sequence of human occupation of that site, since data have been provided on a relatively unknown phase throughout Western Europe, and with undeniable scientific interest, since the Lack of other sites in Europe with similar characteristics do not allow comparing the remains found with others.

It is the one located between the intense occupations documented in Unit TD6 (900,000 years old) and those that correspond to the great impact registered in the Sierra de Atapuerca at moments of the Achelense (represented in the site by Unit TD10, from about 450,000 years ago).

The Sima de los Huesos

On the other hand, in the Sima de los Huesos, despite the low intensity of work that has been due to the halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, a fragment of an occipital has been found that points to being skull 10, dated more 400,000 years old.

From the coordination of the Site they have reported that every year since 1983 at least one human remains has been found, so they consider that the discovery of the occipital has been important due to the short time it has been to work.

The Galería de las Estatuas and Cueva Mayor

As for the Statues Gallery, the great novelty this year is the excavation of the entrance mouth that was closed more than 50,000 years ago.

Juan Luis Arsuaga stressed that Cueva Mayor wants to maintain the magic of a not so humanized area and that is why the excavations that have been carried out have less impact.

There has been found a porcupine jaw, a relatively rare animal in the record of the final Pleistocene, having been located in less than 10 sites throughout the Iberian Peninsula.

“They are like when the neardentals lived,” Arsuaga insisted, highlighting the two environments that can be found in Atapuerca, one more humanized and the other corresponding to the part of the Sierra that has had practically no incidence and where nature stands out.

Cueva Fantasma

In Cueva Fantasma, fossils of all kinds have continued to be extracted, although there is still a diachronic sequence that allows dating the times they belong to.

At level 26, a large concentration of archepaleontological elements from horses, foxes and rabbits has been found, as well as Musterian technology industries that also show human presence by the neardentals.

For his part, the Minister of Culture of Castilla y León, Javier Ortega, explained that the Board has invested more than seven million euros in the protection and dissemination of deposits in the Sierra de Atapuerca.

The counselor has highlighted that Atapuerca is a point of connection between multiple actors, an example of collaboration between state, regional administrations, and also local, foundations, diverse universities, researchers, volunteers and the general public. (July 24, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)

(Automatic translation)

The related news on video (July 2018):

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