Dissecting Middle Palaeolithic Palimpsests at El Salt and Abric del Pastor (Alcoy, Spain)

Our lab members are currently carrying out geoarchaeological work at the Middle Palaeolithic sites of El Salt and Abric del Pastor (Alcoy, Spain). We are focusing on finding ways to dissect the cumulative archaeological palimpsests found at these sites through a microcontextual approach. We seek to test the feasibility of merging different sources of microstratigraphic data (mainly from micromorphology, FTIR, GC-MS and phytolith analysis) and integrating it with other sources of archaeological and paleoecological information including spatial analysis (GIS) of the archaeological remains, RMU (Raw Material Unit) analysis of the lithic assemblages, zooarchaeological data, anthracological data and data on microfauna.

Approaching "human time" (as opposed to geologic time) is a big challenge in Archaeology. Nevertheless, as archaeometric techniques develop and become more accessible we have the opportunity to obtain multiple lines of evidence, and the potential of narrowing our scales of observation become greater. In our view, three of the key ingredients are: good fieldwork, microstratigraphic analysis and good integration of different sources of data.