June 14, 2012

Cantabrian rock art competes for the title of earliest on Earth

Latest dating of calcite layers on top of rock art from several caves from Cantabria (Northern Iberia) suggest that they could host the oldest rock art on Earth and that this one is extremely old, almost from the earliest possible presence of Homo sapiens (anatomically modern humans) in the area.


Paleolithic cave art is an exceptional archive of early human symbolic behavior, but because obtaining reliable dates has been difficult, its chronology is still poorly understood after more than a century of study. We present uranium-series disequilibrium dates of calcite deposits overlying or underlying art found in 11 caves, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites of Altamira, El Castillo, and Tito Bustillo, Spain. The results demonstrate that the tradition of decorating caves extends back at least to the Early Aurignacian period, with minimum ages of 40.8 thousand years for a red disk, 37.3 thousand years for a hand stencil, and 35.6 thousand years for a claviform-like symbol. These minimum ages reveal either that cave art was a part of the cultural repertoire of the first anatomically modern humans in Europe or that perhaps Neandertals also engaged in painting caves. 

I have been checking a database (direct download) recommended by John Hawks and Millán Mozota and the dates I find are all Archaic Aurignacian and not anymore Mousterian for the relevant dates, at least for El Castillo cave:

  • Latest Mousterian: 45.5 Ka calBP (42.1 Ka BP, uncalibrated C14)
  • Earliest Aurignacian: 44.7 Ka calBP (41.1 Ka BP, uncalibrated C14) [but see comments on the nature of this "Aurignacian"]

They really leave the Neanderthal possiblity in the unlikely zone... unless you think that Archaic Aurignacian or even Aurignacian in general is the creation of Homo neanderthalensis. 

The also mentioned Altamira and Tito Bustillo caves do not seem to have any date before Solutrean or Magdalenian respectively, nor evidence of Mousterian presence either (I checked other sources as the database only reaches back o c. 50 Ka).

El Castillo rock art (several periods) - source

It is worth reminding however that rock art from Australia depicting the long-gone Genyornis giant duck is probably older than this European art and without any reasonable doubt was made by Homo sapiens.

However there is rock art from Nerja (Andalusia, Southern Iberia) that is dated to c. 43 Ka BP, being in fact older than the mural art from Cantabria. In this case the likelihood of it being Neanderthal-made is quite greater because there is no evidence for Aurignacian in the area until c. 29 Ka BP (raw C14) and no dates from Nerja (unspecific culture but probably Aurignacian from regional context) until c. 25.6 Ka BP (raw C14) or c. 29.6 Ka BP calibrated.

These contradictions between quite older rock art ages than occupations documented from digs should be of some concern but no idea how the contradiction may be solved.

The famous ochre bisons of Altamira are still from the Magdalenian period anyhow, even if much of the rock has been revised towards older dates in the area.

Update (Jun 15): Pileta includes now a video of the presentation of the study in Spanish language (scroll down).

Update (Jun 16): I strongly recommend any interested reader to take a look at the comments section. Prehistorian and Neanderfan Millán Mozota makes many most interesting comments on the chronology and arguable Transitional Aurignacian nature of layer 18 from El Castillo cave.

Update (Jun 19): Jean Clottes and others question the certainty of the dating method.


  1. They said the oldest art is represented by hands and red dots. If they really think the artists were in fact neanderthal, they could analyze these hands: there might be some differences between neanders and moderns, right?

    1. Good idea. Not sure if we can spot any differences but there may be some.

  2. Theorically, than could work. There are some slight but significative differences between bot populations fingers, i think.
    And, by the way: Yes, I recommend that C14-dating database that you mentioned.
    Yet, I dont support to use the data uncritically.
    I dont share the cultural interpretation of some (Castillo) C14-dated layers. Specifically Castillo 18 (a, b, c, d) from recent excavations, is not a real aurignacian, at least as I understand aurignacian. Neither Protoaurignacian, ofc. Anad, in my opinion,
    Aurignacian Alpha layer from Hugo Obermaier's 1900s-1910s excavations is not equivalent to Level 18 from more recent excavations.

    1. Whatever the case it is important to realize that by 40,8 calBP, other Cantabrian caves like Morín also begin to show Aurignacian-like technologies (Proto-Aurignacian, I think), while in not so distant places like Isturitze (44.3), the North Catalan caves (43.8), La Rioja (41.8), Asturias (41.5) and Dordogne (41.3), this change towards Aurignacian or Aurignacian-like techno-cultures happens in the intermediate period.

      It is at the very least intriguing that El Castillo is precisely the only Cantabrian cave to have something not Mousterian in that period (call it whatever you want: it is not Mousterian, a very different tech) and the cave where the earliest rock art is found in the area. I don't believe in coincidences, you know.

      Now, one can maybe speculate with Neanderthal conceptual influence, maybe with an (undocumented) hybrid population or whatever... But there is no evidence or indication linking this art with Mousterian or any of the other Neanderthal techs, like Chatelperronian.

      And there is that giant duck from Australia that is not Neanderthal-made for sure and is most likely to be older.

    2. Lets say before hand that: I dont think the new datations are pointing the first cantabrian parietal art as of Neandertal facture.

      My preliminary opinion is that a few paintings could hipotetically be of Neandertal facture (from the capabilities point of view). But, at this time, i consider it quite remote, i prefer a more conservative approach.

      In fact, that they are of neanderthal facture will probably be the conclusion of El Castillo team (I foresee...).

      That is the logical follow-up of El Castillo diggers, you can deduce it from their earlier papers. I can tell you that right now.

      Lets see what they have been saying last decade: They say that the level 18 is exactly what they call "Transitional Aurignacian" (which is NOT Early Aurignacian nor Protoaurignacian, either for them or for any other scholar). "Transitional Aurignacian", from F. Bernaldo de Quirós, J. M. Maillo [et al.] point of view (also probably A. Arrizabalaga adheres) is a cultural context based on mousterian technology and typology.
      So, your afirmation that El Castillo older "Aurignacian" is a very different tech other than mousterian is not really supported by them).
      Me, i just agree with them in one basic point: 90% of their "Transitional Aurignacian" is of Mousterian and Neanderthal nature. I fact, i think it is of 100% this nature, and it has no correlations to real Protoaurignacian and real Early Aurignacian.

      I think your ideas are suggestive, but in this case your proposal is on a lose-lose situation: If you accept the Aurignacian adscription of Level 18, that only can reasonably done following Castillo's team argumentation about the "Transitional Aurignacian" (wich is the only minimally plausible reason to call this level "Aurignacian").
      Yet, if you do not accept this "Transitional Aurignacian" model, then there's no reason to sustain that there's Aurignacian culture in level 18.

      Returning to the new art datations, i think the paintings are still, probably, and depise the huge press release, of Upper Paleolitic chronology (maybe the older ones could be Aurignacien (contemporaries to lvl 16) or, who knows, even from final Mousterian (contemporaries of level 18).

      But we need to analyze and rework the correlation of atm-different-not-comparable different datation methods (C14 AMS on archaeological layers, C14 AMS on art, new C14 AMS ultrafiltration pre-treatment, new datation procedure for art presented today, etc...). I think we'll find, at the end of this research beggining, a more plausible and reasonable chronological frame that the speculations we all are issuing right now.

    3. I think that there is a cloud of Aurignacoid techologies derived from either West or South Asian mode 4 technologies since c. 50 Ka BP uncalibrated (probably first South Asian - Patne, Bhimbetka - because there are some isolated findings that can be older than 100 Ka BP - Patpara).

      Imagining that Aurignacoid industries could be derived from Mousterian (which is what El Castillo researchers are proposing, right?) is so wrong in all aspects, so Eurocentric, so out of line with the overall understanding of modern human expansion... not anymore possibly linked to Neanderthals but tangentially.

      Yet, if you do not accept this "Transitional Aurignacian" model, then there's no reason to sustain that there's Aurignacian culture in level 18.

      I imagine that if they call it "Archaic Aurignacian" it is because it resembles other Aurignacian sets. At the very least I imagine it has blade tech, what is already non-Mousterian. I'd need of course to know the matter in more detail to judge - any suggested reading?

      I have no reason at all to imagine that something they call "Archaic Aurignacian" has any correlation with Mousterian in any case: Mousterian does not have blades.

      I think we'll find, at the end of this research beggining, a more plausible and reasonable chronological frame that the speculations we all are issuing right now.

      I hope so. I still find the Archaic Aurignacian of El Castillo in line with other Archaic Aurignacian, Proto-Aurignacian and even Aurignacian I from the sub-Pyrenean area, from Catalonia to Asturias and from Dordogne to La Rioja.

    4. First: Mousterian does have blades in many places. Both Levallois blades and Upper Paleolithioc style blades. Yet, we can agree that it has not Aurignacian blades with characteristic Aurignacian stept retouch. Also, there's not typical blade technology on [cantabric area] final Mousterian.

      Second, the only Aurignacian (really) typical items in level 18 of El Castillo are a few blades and tools that, in fact, they do not came from Level 18 (a level defined by V. Cabrera in the 80s and digged on recent excavations).
      Those scarce Aurignacian blades and tools came from "Aurignacian Delta" from H. Obermaier "belle epoque", a level that doesn't exists any more (thousands of m3 were emptied in those "faraonic" old diggings). "A. Delta" might be part of what they nowadays call Level 16; OR it could have been another small, horizontally limited, level, just lying on the topo of level 18 or even 17 (an almost esterile layer). Yet, the diggers of El Castillo they think that Aurignacian Delta = Level 18, son they built that "Transitional Aurignacian" model.

      [Searching for some El Castillo Transitional Aurignacian references right now].

    5. You must mean flakes (as in Levallois flake, "lasca", Levallois point, never heard of Levallois blade or bladelet = "hoja", "hojita"). For example, Kambiz explains here the difference: blades have almost parallel sides while Levallois flakes have one flat and one convex side instead.

      Yet, the diggers of El Castillo they think that Aurignacian Delta = Level 18, so they built that "Transitional Aurignacian" model.

      I can understand that. It would really declare the Archaic Aurignacian of El Castillo null and void, at least re. the dates.

      Anyhow, how can they have a reliable C14 date for a level it does not exist anymore?

      What's your opinion on the Archaic Aurignacian of the Catalan caves (L'Arbreda, Abric Romaní and the rest)? The dates are very early as well and, if related at all, it could indirectly support the Archaic Aurignacian of El Castillo, right?

    6. That text you cite it is a huge misconception of blade, flake concepts, etc and their existence or inexistence in MP and UP. It is compleely outdated.

      There's a quite extensive bibliography about both Levallois blade production and volumetric blade production (aka UP style) in MP Middle East and Europe.

      Even at the very Wikipedia you can find an Aucheulean Levallois blade-core


      More examples here: http://books.google.es/books?id=bI-egtJvrn8C&dq=Levallois+lame&hl=es&source=gbs_navlinks_s

      The Levallois blades are tipically more straight, a bit broader, and usually more slim that volumetric EUP blades (Like Aurignacian ones). Quite a number of diferent blade productions strategies within Levallois method have been described by (mainly) french technologists. I challenge you search about it because there's a huge bibliography in french about those issues, and even some books and papers in english, like the one i referenced.
      The bibliography about UP style blade production during MP is more specific, but you can start here, reading Bourguignon & Ortega's abstract and references:


    7. >>>>Anyhow, how can they have a reliable C14 date for a level it does not exist anymore?

      The Level 18 from el Castillo it is probably the best dated level in the world, at least from the OIS3 time frame. BUT the only correlation of Level 18 (for me Mousterian, for them, Transitional Aurignacian) with the Aurignacian of Obermaier's "Delta" is made using bibliography and old drawings and photograpies of "belle epoque" (1900s-1910s) works.

  3. Sorry, it is Aurignacian Delta, not Alpha.

  4. I thought you might like this:


    1. Neanderthals definitely painted and used symbolism, even if it can be speculated that it was an AMH influence. Less clear is if they made mural art in Europe specifically before Homo sapiens. But for this the cave of Nerja is a more radical candidate than El Castillo, which at the best is too borderline to be suggestive.

  5. El Castillo references:

    Check José-Manuel Maíllo-Fernández's profile at Academia.edu, he has 13 papers, most of them related to MP-UP Transition in Cantabrian Iberia.

    Of particular interest might probably be the one entitled: "The Transitional Aurignacian and the Middle-Upper Palaeolithic Transition Model in Cantabrian Iberia" with F. Bernaldo de Quirós.

    And probably the one entitled: "The Middle-Upper Palaolithic Transition in the Cantabrian Region: a Mosaic Model".

    Also: http://e-spacio.uned.es/fez/eserv.php?pid=bibliuned:ETFSerieI2008n1-10370&dsID=Documento.pdf

    1. Thanks a lot, Millán.

      I've begun with "La Cueva del Castillo, perspectivas desde el siglo XXI", and it clearly describes (level 18a and 18b) bladelets extracted from prismatic cores with hard and soft percutors. Bladeletes from prismatic cores is, in my humble opinion, enough to consider this tech Upper Paleolithic (mode 4) in all senses. Now if it is Aurignacian or Chaltelperronian, I can't judge because I am not sufficiently well formed, but they even mention a first Dufour bladelet in lv. 18c, strongly suggesting that if this is transitional, it is from early amorphous Aurignacoid towards Aurignacian proper, no Mousterian connection anywhere that I can see.

      Even fig. 9 says the same:

      Por lo que se refiere a los niveles arqueológicos,la figura 9 muestra como los niveles 18b, 18c y laindustria de las excavaciones de 1910-1914 de El Castillo (CstD) se separan claramente de los musterienses y se relacionan de forma directa con los útiles de tipo Paleolítico superior. Resultados casi idénticos encontramos cuando este mismo análisis se repitió utilizando la normalización principal.

      What we can cast doubt on, I understand, is on any connection with Mousterian, and not a connection with other Aurignacoid (or Aurignacian senso lato) industries.

      There is even some bone industry.

      I'll read something more but this paper alone is very clarifying. I imagine you can see some Mousterian influences (understandable if the site was indeed an Aurignacian enclave in an otherwise Mousterian region) on an industry that is very clearly Aurignacian-like in almost everything.

      The real issue seems to be in level 20, which clusters with Mousterian techs but has (as does Morín 11 and 12) Dufour bladelets, a presumably Aurignacian element.

      That's what got me a bit perplex, so I searched for Dufour bladelets and I could find no reference of such element in Mousterian. However Zilhao has argued it can be Chatelperronian.

      I also found that what defines Aurignacian is:

      How can we then characterize the Aurignacian in all cases?
      1. It seems obvious that it is necessary to use a combination of criteria, the sole presence of a few carinated pieces being insufficient.
      2. The criteria are not inevitably typological; the production of bladelets from busked and carinated burins is specific to the Aurignacian, and may be a good criterion when it is found.
      3. The identification of regional facies may facilitate the diagnosis of the Aurignacian; these regional facies may have both very specific objects and objects found in the Aurig-
      nacian in general (for example, Caminade endscrapers associated to Aurignacian blades).
      The definition of the Aurignacian is then complex because it is both geographically and chronologically variable. One element, however, seems to emerge throughout this period: a strong bladelet component

      Rather than imagine a local evolution towards Aurignacian, I feel (provisionally, I have to read more) that El Castillo seems to display the UP intrusiveness proper of Chatelperronian (but distinct) at lv. 20 and a full fledged Aurignacian at lv. 18.

  6. I believe you are not grasping what really is level 18 of El Castillo.

    It is a level containing a quite typical Mousterian assemblage. None technologit or lithic expert except those El Castillo researchers (and might be A. Arrizabalaga, i'm not sure...)has ever seen or could probably seen typical Aurignacian or Proto aurignacian features in Castillo's modern level 18 materials.

    There is a conceptual & historiographical misconception, and it works this way:

    During the eighties, V. Cabrera (a now unfortunately deceased researcher) found the Obermaier's "Aurignacian Delta" hidden in some boxes ans cases, with very-Aurignacian tools.
    She gathered those tools from old collections, dispersed across many museums and institutions.
    She reunited the tools and started to think, as an hypotesis, that "Aurignacian Delta" was equivalent to the Level 18 from El Castillo. If she was right, it could be a really old Aurignacian iteration and a great clue into the begginings of Upper Paleolithic.

    So they started the modern excavations at El Castillo, but after almost 2 decades of working there, and a big deal of materials recovered, the reality was another: No evidence of real Aurignacian or Protoaurignacian stuff; no equivalent to "Aurigancian delta" could be seen or foreseen on Level 18.
    Yet, they had good stratigrapihcal data, and a long, robust battery of C14 (and other methods) datations fron those "transitional levels", specially 18. It was a quite olf level, and it could be really nice if it were Aurignacian.

    What they did, then, was leaving aside the big picture (it was clarly a Mousterian level, quite related to underlying level 20, also Mousterian), and they focused on marginal, mostly (from my point of view) random or irrelevant features of a VERY selected group of tools, blanks and cores.

    They choosed a "pick list" of selected features from different Aurginacians and from Protoaurignacian (which is not, from my point of view, a coherent strategy, neither) and they looked for those features BOTH in level 18 ("Archaic Aurignacian" as they called it firstly, and more recently "Transitional Aurignacian") and in Level 20 (Mousterian). And they did the same in Cueva Morin site Mousterian Levels.

    Consecuently, they found a -very- small percentage of tools and cores that, for them, they recall those of upper paleolithic, namely
    Aurignacian and Protoaurignacian contexts.

    But this is a really small, irrelevant in my opinion, almost random, percentual sample.

    And even then, those objects are not, actually, like the real stuff (say, for example, the ones from the very typical Protoaurignacian and Aurignacian from Gatzarria). Besides, Older Aurignacian iterarions and Protoaurignacian are recogniced, specifically, because they have a HUGE percentage of blade/bladelets (Aurignacian) and Dufourbladelets/bladelets (Protoaurignacian). If fact, one of the basci criteria to typolocically and technologically identify those UP cultures is the very ABUNDANCE of bladelets. So it may seem quite ironic that they make the correlation with those cultures using an almost residual, random, percentually insignificant sample of elongated items.

    1. She reunited the tools and started to think, as an hypotesis, that "Aurignacian Delta" was equivalent to the Level 18 from El Castillo.

      So it's all nothing but a prehistorian's fantasy?

      I respect your opinion in this matter. I can only grasp so much, so I have to rely on the experts beyond some point.

      Sadly some experts are kinda weird, irrational, stubborn, not you but many like the example mentioned here.

      Not really related but I have just been informed that the linguist conspirators of Iruña-Veleia (Lakarra and Gorrochategui) have joined efforts with the even more martian Indoeuropean Paleolithic Continuity theorists like Villar or Alinei. I'm really scared that people like these (highly irrational in the best case and in some cases at least clearly Machiavellian) are writing the books that new generations will study.

      While we have to rely on experts, we must also demand from them the highest standards of honesty and self-criticism. And for what you say, in this case at least, we are not before anything of the like, right?

    2. From my point of view, yes, more self-criticism might have helped Castillos diggers. Yet, i wont call their model as a plain fantasy.

      I'll describe it more as proposal too centered on a small area, on a small series of levels, and on a small series of items.

      I mean, you can read from Cabrera's works or early 80s, to Maillo's PhD and first papers during the late 90s, and finally the last works of Bernaldo del Quirós et al., and you can actually track the "logic". You can understand how they went from "Delta Aurignacien" models to "Transitional aurignacien lvl 18" model. So, from this point of view is not a fantasy, but a accumulation of decissiones that, from my point of view, are wrong.

      On the bright side of things, i think that at least they've helped to highlight the many elements of continuity between lastest MP and first EUP industries, even if they were made by diferent human populations (Neandertal, AMH...)and even when they are not derived one from another. For example: The use of bones and antler as tools are quite ususal on Late MP (even if they are quite different from the typican "bone industry" of "sagaies" and awls. Also, during Proto/Aurignacian there is an important "less ellaborated" industry in bone and antler, quite similar to the objets from MP, which is frecuently undestimated.
      Also, one of the bests papers of Castillo's team, with A. Pike-Tay, is about MP and UP hunting of ungulates: they show that there are slight differences on hunting techniques but also a borad continuity on the basis and variability of the hunting systems, between different pleisticene Castillo's populations.

      And, finally, some of the items that the have presented from lvl 18 as of "symbolic" nature, while they are clearly not Aurignacian or Protoaurignacian, they could actually be some manifestations of neandertal "art" or "decoration". Yet, they coul not have been clearly as socially important and socially esteemed and reproduced as the Aurignacian decorations and arts will, be later.

  7. What is really ironic, from my point of view, is that I'm sure that it would suffice that i'll show you "in vivo" some tipical Aurignacian tools, blanks and cores, some Protoaurignacian tools, blanks and cores, and then we could go and see some El Castillo tools, blancks and cores. You'll notice very fast how different Aurignacian and Protoaurignacian tools are from the ones at EL Castillo 18 (besides de "Aurignacian Delta" from Hugo Obermaier's collections, which they DO are Aurignacian, and a quite tipical one).

    The prismatic cores presented by Maillo and alli are not prismatic Aurignacian cores, neither their bladelets can be considered typical Dufour bladelets.

    As a matter of fact, as you'll see if you go further with your readings, they also identify those very same types of cores, blanks and retouched items (prismatic cores, bladelets, dufour bladelets) in Mousterian levels of El Castillo, Cueva Morín and, i think, other cantabrian cave.

    That is a logical conclussion from their point of view, and justifies, from their position, the idea of a transitional Aurignacian.

    Then, this is the issue: The only reason to believe that level 18 assemblage is Aurignacian, it is that you accept the techno-typological associations and determinations of Maillo's papers. In order to substantiate your idea that there is a real Aurignacian in Level 18, you have to accept Maillo's facts: that some marginal knapping blanks, or probable random knapping debrises ARE actual aurignacian bladelets. But they are not, they are really different from any real Aurignacian stuff. And yo have to accept that some marginal, final knapping of exhausted cores are actual Aurignacian cores.. But they arent. They only have a vague resemblance to aurignacian (not even that, just Upper Paleolithoic stuff, actually) items because they a a really selected sample from a very typical mousterian sample. I could select a dozen piezes from any lithic Mousterian asemblage from cantabrian spain that counts with more that 300 pieces, and they'll look exactly the same as Maillo's et al. examples from El Castillo and Cueva Morin.

    Then as they archaeological examples, theorical model, and techno-typological arguments can be (and have been) equally applied to the Lvl 18 TRansitional Auriognacian AND to Mousterian levels of EL CAstillo and Ceuva Morín, I can be sure that the only reasonable way to defend that Lvl 18 is "Aurignacian" is acceptiog that it is a VERY mousterian "aurignacian", as the authors say. Otherwise, no reason reamins to make that assertation.

    And, for me, what actually proves my point is that they (Castillo's team) also find the same techno-typological features (again, in very small percentages), in the Mousterian levels of El Castillo and Morin.

    But the fact is that if you (i I dont mean you = Maju) leave aside the main component and 90% of the implements from ANY lithic colection around the world, then "you" can find ANY kind of correlation or genetic relationship between different archaeological cultures, any one than you could ever imagine: You can correlate Neolithic from Chatal-Ukuk with Clovis H-G, or Madagascar stone-working modern-times (S. XX) biface makers with S-E Asian Homo Erectus tool makers... Even black powder Flint knappers from XIX Europe could be coalligated with Aurignacian tool makers... Whatever relationship you want, you can build this way, but it will still be as plausible or implausible.

  8. >>>What's your opinion on the Archaic Aurignacian of the Catalan caves (L'Arbreda, Abric Romaní and the rest

    From Abric Romani, i havent seen the drawings, pics or the materials. So i cant say anything for good.

    From l'Arbreda i've seen both drawings and a few materials. I'll say that teh older so called Aurignacian level it is more an "undefinite Early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) level" that a clear Aurignacian or Protoaurignacian. Yes, it has some affinities, is quite old and it is under a more typical Aurignacian, if i recall correctly, son it is a reasonable guess that vein... but it cant be assured from the lithic point of view (my opinion).

    It wont be reasonable to infer that it is Chatelperronian, neither. It is just that, an indefinite & quite poor EUP.

    Also, i suggest some prudence with datations of l'Arbreda "Archaic Aurignacian". I've been told by Narcis Soler, the director of the excavations, who openly admits it, that the sedimentary matrix of both final mousterian and EUP levels are almost exactly the same, no colour, grain or composition can be detexted by diggers on site. So, inference of archaeological levels relies only on materials found on every "decapage". That makes quite easy to suffer unvoluntary problems and undetectable biases while dating: for example, a bone sample that is believed to be of the EUP, can me Mousterian if the superposition of levels wasnt completely horizontal in that area. A small error in diggers "thirth sense" to determine the end of Mousterian layers and starting of EUP can lead to a date that is dating what you did not wanted to date (sorry for the reiteration...)

    1. "It is just that, an indefinite & quite poor EUP".

      Fair enough. At least it is not Mousterian this time.

      "Also, i suggest some prudence with datations of l'Arbreda "Archaic Aurignacian"".


      Thanks a lot, Millán, as always you offer high quality critical information. I can just hope that this discussion helps you write a great entry at you blog on this matter.

  9. Not really related but I have just been informed that the linguist conspirators of Iruña-Veleia (Lakarra and Gorrochategui) have joined efforts with the even more martian Indoeuropean Paleolithic Continuity theorists like Villar or Alinei.
    I don't really like academic Vascology (especially Lakarra), but there's actual evidence those Iruña-Veleia are fakes. For example, the word polita, corresponding to Basque polit 'pretty', a modern loanword from Gascon.

    1. No, there is ZERO evidence against the I-V findings being real and instead there is lot of evidence in favor of it. I'm talking about non-liguistic evidence, because linguistics is a madhouse where opinions are presented as evidence and actual archaeological evidence is dumped in favor of the opinions of academic caciques like Lakarra.

      Regardless, "polita" (beautiful in Basque), as you should know, doesn't come from Gascon but from Latin polita (fem. form of politus: polished). The same form exists in Italian, where it also means "refined" and in Gascon, with loss of final vowel, possibly derived from Basque (as Gascon is more recent than both Basque and Latin in Gascony).

      Whatever the case all is easy to test: just bring the pieces to have an archaeometry test, there's people willing to pay for it and solve the matter once for all. That would be EVIDENCE.

      I have extensively discussed the matter of the IV findings elsewhere:

      In any case you are persona non grata here, as I consider you from experience a nasty troll with an intellectual varnish and more like an attention whore in fact. So, please, stop posting comments and forcing me to choose between tolerating or deleting them because I will generally choose the latter.

      I consider the off-topic debate closed here (and will delete any more off-topic comments, notably if they come from Octavià).

      THANKS in advance.


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