Stone procurement and transport at the late Early Pleistocene site of Cueva Negra del Estrecho del Río Quípar (Murcia, SE Spain)

Winston Zack, Alexander Andronikov, Tomas Rodríguez-Estrella, Mariano Lopez-Maritínez, Maria Haber-Uriarte, Vance Holliday, Dante Lauretta, Micheal Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The late Early Pleistocene deposit, dating from ca. 0.8-0.9 Ma, at Cueva Negra del Estrecho del Río Quípar in Murcia, Spain, contains an abundant assemblage of small flaked artifacts of chert, quartzite and limestone, and one bifaciallyflaked limestone hand-axe. We have investigated several possible sources of the chert in an attempt to throw light on Palaeolithic interaction with the environment. Possible sources on the landscape were sampled at distances of up to 30 km from the site. Trace-element fingerprints were analyzed by laser-ablation inductively-coupled plasma mass-spectrometry (ICP-MS). Factor analysis was used to differentiate between sources and as a pointer to where chert analyzed from the cave may have been obtained. Our initial assumption was that most had come from less than 1 km away, namely, from a conglomerate outcrop where chert nodules could be quarried readily. Whilst trace-element evidence supports that hypothesis, it also points to a fair likelihood that some recovered chert lithics had been brought from sources up to 30 km away from the cave. Although evidence is scarce for transport of stone from a similar distance at other late Early Pleistocene sites in Europe, it nevertheless is present in the archaeological record, particularly in Spain where it may be possible to begin to consider differences in stone-procurement strategies between late Early Pleistocene technological assemblages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-28
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2013


  • Chert
  • Factor analysis
  • ICP-MS
  • Late Early Pleistocene
  • Procurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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