The Solutrean industry is a relatively advanced flint tool-making style of the Upper Palaeolithic of the Final Gravettian, from around 22,000 to 17,000 BP. Solutrean sites have been found in modern-day France, Spain and Portugal.
|Geographical range||Western Europe|
|Dates||c. 22,000 – c. 17,000 BP|
|Type site||Parc archéologique et botanique de Solutré|
|Followed by||Magdalenian in France, Spain and Portugal, but in the latter after a transition through the Badegoulien|
The term Solutrean comes from the type-site of "Cros du Charnier", dating to around 21,000 years ago and located at Solutré, in east-central France near Mâcon. The Rock of Solutré site was discovered in 1866 by the French geologist and paleontologist Henry Testot-Ferry. It is now preserved as the Parc archéologique et botanique de Solutré.
The industry was named by Gabriel de Mortillet to describe the second stage of his system of cave chronology, following the Mousterian, and he considered it synchronous with the third division of the Quaternary period. The era's finds include tools, ornamental beads, and bone pins as well as prehistoric art.
Solutrean tool-making employed techniques not seen before and not rediscovered for millennia. The Solutrean has relatively finely worked, bifacial points made with lithic reduction percussion and pressure flaking rather than cruder flintknapping. Knapping was done using antler batons, hardwood batons and soft stone hammers. This method permitted the working of delicate slivers of flint to make light projectiles and even elaborate barbed and tanged arrowheads. Large thin spearheads; scrapers with edge not on the side but on the end; flint knives and saws, but all still chipped, not ground or polished; long spear-points, with tang and shoulder on one side only, are also characteristic implements of this industry. Bone and antler were used as well.
The Solutrean may be seen as a transitional stage between the flint implements of the Mousterian and the bone implements of the Magdalenian epochs. Faunal finds include horse, reindeer, mammoth, cave lion, rhinoceros, bear and aurochs. Solutrean finds have also been made in the caves of Les Eyzies and Laugerie Haute, and in the Lower Beds of Creswell Crags in Derbyshire, England (Proto-Solutrean). The industry first appeared in what is now Spain, and disappears from the archaeological record around 17,000 BP.
The Solutrean hypothesis argues that people from Europe may have been among the earliest settlers of the Americas. Its notable recent proponents include Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution and Bruce Bradley of the University of Exeter. This hypothesis contrasts with the mainstream archaeological orthodoxy that the North American continent was first populated by people from Asia, either by the Bering land bridge (i.e. Beringia) at least 13,500 years ago, or by maritime travel along the Pacific coast, or by both. The idea of a Clovis-Solutrean link remains controversial and does not enjoy wide acceptance. The hypothesis is challenged by large gaps in time between the Clovis culture and Solutrean eras, a lack of evidence of Solutrean seafaring, lack of specific Solutrean features and tools in Clovis technology, the difficulties of the route, and other issues.
In 2014, the autosomal DNA of a male infant (Anzick-1) from a 12,500-year-old deposit in Montana was sequenced. The skeleton was found in close association with several Clovis artifacts. Comparisons showed strong affinities with DNA from Siberian sites, and virtually ruled out any close affinity of Anzick-1 with European sources. The DNA of the Anzick-1 sample showed strong affinities with sampled Native American populations, which indicated that the samples derive from an ancient population that lived in or near Siberia, the Upper Palaeolithic Mal'ta population.
Alpha is a 2018 American historical adventure film directed by Albert Hughes and written by Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt, from a story by Hughes. The film stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as a young hunter who encounters and befriends an injured wolf during the last ice age, with Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson as his father. The wolf Alpha is played by Chuck, a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog.Principal photography began in February 2016 in Canada and lasted through that April. The film was delayed several times, before being released in the United States on August 17, 2018, by Sony Pictures Releasing. It has grossed over $99 million worldwide and received generally favorable reviews from critics, who praised the performances and cinematography.Anzick-1
Anzick-1 is the name given to the remains of Paleo-Indian male infant found in south central Montana, U.S. in 1968 that date to 12,707–12,556 years BP. The child was found with more than 115 tools made of stone and antlers and dusted with red ocher, suggesting an honorary burial. Anzick-1 is the only human who has been discovered from the Clovis Complex, and is the first ancient Native American genome to be fully sequenced.Paleogenomic analysis of the remains revealed Siberian ancestry and a close genetic relationship to modern Native Americans, including those of Central and South America. These findings support the hypothesis that modern Native Americans are descended from Asian populations who crossed Beringia between 32,000 and 18,000 years ago.Anzick-1's discovery and subsequent analysis has been controversial. The remains were found on private land, so the researchers did not violate the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) in their study. But many Native American tribal members in Montana believed they should have been consulted before the researchers undertook analysis of the infant's skeleton and genome.Anzick-1 was reburied on June 28, 2014 in the Shields River Valley in an intertribal ceremony. The numerous Clovis artifacts associated with the first burial are archived at the Montana Historical Society in Helena, Montana.Cactus Hill
Cactus Hill is an archaeological site in southeastern Virginia, United States, located on sand dunes above the Nottoway River about 45 miles south of Richmond. The site receives its name from the prickly pear cacti that can be found growing abundantly on-site in the sandy soil. Cactus Hill may be one of the oldest archaeological sites in the Americas. If proven to have been inhabited 16,000 to 20,000 years ago, it would provide supporting evidence for pre-Clovis occupation of the Americas. The site has yielded multiple levels of prehistoric inhabitance with two discrete levels of early Paleoindian activity.Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain
Under the name Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain (Cueva de Altamira y arte rupestre paleolítico del Norte de España) are grouped 18 caves of northern Spain, which together represent the apogee of Upper Paleolithic cave art in Europe between 35,000 and 11,000 years ago (Aurignacian, Gravettian, Solutrean, Magdalenian, Azilian).
They have been collectively designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2008.
Chief among these caves is Altamira, located within the town of Santillana del Mar in Cantabria. It remains one of the most important painting cycles of prehistory, originating in the Magdalenian and Solutrean periods of the Upper Paleolithic. This cave's artistic style represents the Franco-cantabrian school, characterized by the realism of its figural representation. Altamira Cave was declared a World Heritage Site in 1985.
In 2008 the World Heritage Site was expanded to include 17 additional caves located in three autonomous regions of northern Spain: Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country.Clovis culture
The Clovis culture is a prehistoric Paleo-Indian culture, named for distinct stone tools found in close association with Pleistocene fauna at Blackwater Locality No. 1 near Clovis, New Mexico, in the 1920s and 1930s. It appears around 11,500–11,000 uncalibrated radiocarbon years before present at the end of the last glacial period, and is characterized by the manufacture of "Clovis points" and distinctive bone and ivory tools. Archaeologists' most precise determinations at present suggest this radiocarbon age is equal to roughly 13,200 to 12,900 calendar years ago. Clovis people are considered to be the ancestors of most of the indigenous cultures of the Americas.The only human burial that has been directly associated with tools from the Clovis culture included the remains of an infant boy researchers named Anzick-1. Paleogenetic analyses of Anzick-1's ancient nuclear, mitochondrial, and Y-chromosome DNA reveal that Anzick-1 is closely related to modern Native American populations, which lends support to the Beringia hypothesis for the settlement of the Americas.The Clovis culture was replaced by several more localized regional societies from the Younger Dryas cold-climate period onward. Post-Clovis cultures include the Folsom tradition, Gainey, Suwannee-Simpson, Plainview-Goshen, Cumberland, and Redstone. Each of these is thought to derive directly from Clovis, in some cases apparently differing only in the length of the fluting on their projectile points. Although this is generally held to be the result of normal cultural change through time, numerous other reasons have been suggested as driving forces to explain changes in the archaeological record, such as the Younger Dryas postglacial climate change which exhibited numerous faunal extinctions.
After the discovery of several Clovis sites in eastern North America in the 1930s, the Clovis people came to be regarded as the first human inhabitants who created a widespread culture in the New World. However, this theory has been challenged, in the opinion of many archaeologists, by several archaeological discoveries, including sites such as Cactus Hill in Virginia, Paisley Caves in the Summer Lake Basin of Oregon, the Topper site in Allendale County, South Carolina, Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania, the Friedkin site in Texas, Cueva Fell in Chile, and especially, Monte Verde, also in Chile. The oldest claimed human archaeological site in the Americas is the Pedra Furada hearths, a site in Brazil that precedes the Clovis culture and the other sites already mentioned by 19,000 to 30,000 years. This claim has become an issue of contention between North American archaeologists and their South American and European counterparts, who disagree on whether it is conclusively proven to be an older human site.Creswell Crags
Creswell Crags is an enclosed limestone gorge on the border between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, England, near the villages of Creswell and Whitwell. The cliffs in the ravine contain several caves that were occupied during the last ice age, between around 43,000 and 10,000 years ago. Its caves contain the northernmost cave art in Europe. The evidence of occupation found in the rich series of sediments that accumulated over many thousands of years is regarded as internationally unique in demonstrating how prehistoric people managed to live at the extreme northernmost limits of their territory during the Late Pleistocene period.The caves contain occupation layers with evidence of flint tools from the Mousterian, proto-Solutrean, Creswellian and Maglemosian cultures. They were seasonally occupied by nomadic groups of people during the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods. Evidence of Neolithic, Bronze Age, Roman and post-medieval activity has also been found there. There is evidence of Neanderthal occupation 50,000–60,000 years ago, a brief Gravettian occupation around 32,000 years ago and use of all the main caves during the Magdalenian around 14,000 years ago. The site is open to the public and has a visitor centre with a small museum of objects associated with the caves, including a stuffed cave hyena.
As a result of its unique features, Creswell Crags has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It has also been put forward as a potential World Heritage Site.
The site was the subject of the BBC Radio 4 documentaries Unearthing Mysteries and Nature and featured in the 2005 BBC Two television programme Seven Natural Wonders, as one of the wonders of the Midlands.
In 2006–07, the B6042 road was re-routed from its path through the gorge, by approximately 150 metres (160 yd) to the north, to minimise traffic impact on the site.Dennis Stanford
Dennis J. Stanford (born 13 May 1943 in Cherokee, Iowa, died 24 April 2019) was an archaeologist and Director of the Paleoindian/Paleoecology Program at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution.Along with Prof. Bruce Bradley, Stanford was known for investigating the Solutrean hypothesis, which contends that stone tool technology of the Solutrean culture in prehistoric northern Spain and Portugal may have influenced the development of later Clovis tool-making culture in the Americas by way of an earlier trans-atlantic maritime travel along a sea ice shelf to North America during the Last Glacial Maximum. In 2012, they published details concerning their hypothesis in Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture.Epigravettian
The Epigravettian (Greek: epi "above, on top of", and Gravettian) was one of the last archaeological industries and cultures of the European Upper Paleolithic. It emerged after the Last Glacial Maximum around ~21,000 cal. BP and is considered to be a cultural derivative of the Gravettian culture. Initially named Tardigravettian (Late Gravettian) in 1964 by Georges Laplace in reference to several lithic industries, found in Italy it was later renamed in order to better emphasize its independent character.
Three subphases, the Early Epigravettian (20,000 to 16,000 BP), the Evolved Epigravettian (16,000 to 14,000 BP) and the Final Epigravettian (14,000 to 8,000 BP), have been established, that were further subdivided and reclassified. In this sense, the Epigravettian is simply the Gravettian after ~21,000 BP, when the Solutrean had replaced the Gravettian in most of France and Spain.
Several Epigravettian cultural centers have developed contemporaneously after 22,000 years BP in Europe. These range across southern, central and most of eastern Europe, including south-western France, Italy, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Ukraine and Western Russia to the banks of the Volga River.
Its lithic complex was first documented at numerous sites in Italy. Great geographical and local variability of the facies is present,
however all sites are characterized by the predominance of microliths, such as backed blades, backed points, and bladelets with retouched end.The Epigravettian is the last stage of the Upper Paleolithic succeeded by Mesolithic cultures after 10,000 BP.European early modern humans
European early modern humans (EEMH) in the context of the Upper Paleolithic in Europe refers to the early presence of anatomically modern humans in Europe. The term "early modern" is usually taken to include fossils of the Ahmarian, Bohunician, Aurignacian, Gravettian, Solutrean and Magdalenian, extending throughout the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), covering the period of roughly 48,000 to 15,000 years ago, usually referred to as the Cro-Magnon. The earliest sites in Europe dated 48,000 years ago are Riparo Mochi (Italy), Geissenklösterle (Germany), and Isturitz (France). The upper limit of 15,000 marks the transition to the European Mesolithic, depending on the region also given in the range of 12,000 to 10,000 years ago.
Use of "Cro-Magnon" is mostly to times after the beginning of the Aurignacian proper, c. 37 to 35 ka. Genetically, EEMH form an isolated population between 37 and 14 ka, with significant Mesolithic admixture from the Near East and Caucasus beginning around 14 ka. The description as "modern" is used as contrasting with the "archaic" Neanderthals who lived within Europe from 400,000 to 37,000 years ago.
The term EEMH is equivalent to Cro-Magnon Man, or Cro-Magnons, a term derived from the Cro-Magnon rock shelter in southwestern France, where the first EEMH were found in 1868. Louis Lartet (1869) proposed Homo sapiens fossilis as the systematic name for "Cro-Magnon Man". W.K. Gregory (1921) proposed the subspecies name Homo sapiens cro-magnonensis. In literature published since the late 1990s, the term EEMH is generally preferred over the common name Cro-Magnon, which has no formal taxonomic status, as it refers neither to a species or subspecies nor to an archaeological phase or culture.Another known remains of EEMH can be dated to before 40,000 years ago (40 ka) with some certainty: those from Grotta del Cavallo in Italy, and from Kents Cavern in England, have been radiocarbon dated to 45–41 ka. A number of other early fossils are dated close to or just after 40ka, including fossils found in Romania (Peștera cu Oase, 42–37 ka) and Russia (Kostenki-14, 40–35 ka). The Siberian Ust'-Ishim man, dated to 45 ka, was not geographically found in Europe, and indeed is not part of the "Western Eurasian" genetic lineage, but intermediate between the Western Eurasian and East Asian lineages.The EEMH lineage in the European Mesolithic is also known as "West European Hunter-Gatherer" (WHG). These mesolithic hunter-gatherers emerge after the end of the LGM ca. 15 ka and are described as more gracile than the Upper Paleolithic Cro-Magnons. The WHG lineage survives in contemporary Europeans, albeit only as a minor contribution overwhelmed by the later Neolithic and Bronze Age migrations.Gravettian
The Gravettian was an archaeological industry of the European Upper Paleolithic that succeeded the Aurignacian circa 33,000 years BP. It is archaeologically the last European culture many consider unified, and had mostly disappeared by c. 22,000 BP, close to the Last Glacial Maximum, although some elements lasted until c. 17,000 BP. At this point, it was replaced abruptly by the Solutrean in France and Spain, and developed into or continued as the Epigravettian in Italy, the Balkans, Ukraine and Russia.They are known for their Venus figurines, which were typically made as either ivory or limestone carvings. The Gravettian culture was first identified at the site of La Gravette in Southwestern France.Haplogroup X (mtDNA)
Haplogroup X is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup. It is found in America, Europe, Western Asia, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa.Isturits
Izturitze (Basque: Izturitze; also Isturitz) is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in south-western France.
It is located in the former province of Lower Navarre (Arberoa).
The caves of Isturitz and Oxocelhaya caves are an important Paleolithic site where a Neanderthal mandible was found, as well as later modern human finds associated with the Aurignacian, Solutrean and Magdalenian. They also include cave paintings and bone flutes.Las Caldas cave
Las Caldas Cave and the surrounding partial nature reserve (Reserva Natural Parcial de la Cueva de las Caldas) is a protected area covering 45 hectares within the Nalón Valley in the Municipality of Oviedo in the vicinity of the towns of La Piñera and Las Caldas.
The cave itself has a length of about 600 m and has three entrances. The main cavity is around 5 m high and contains a subterranean river. The cave has no particular geological significance but it is important for the wildlife and archaeological sites from the Solutrean and Magdalenian periods located there.Bats living in the cave include the medium mouse-eared bat, cave bat, greater horseshoe bat, lesser horseshoe bat and Natterer's bat.
Archeological excavations in the cave have become one of the most important Upper Paleolithic sites in the Asturias region. Finds from the cave are of exceptional quality and include amongst others:
the Venus of Las Caldas, a Magdalenian antler carving with an ibex's head and a woman's legs and genitals, that may be either a Venus figurine or decorated atlatl-type device
paleolithic rock art
two stylised overlapping female profiles on an engraved rod dating from the Middle Magdalenian.
a stone plaque displaying a woman's stylised profile,
a whale and 2 bisons engraved onto a sperm whale teeth,
a high quality unused rock-crystal laurel leaf point,
engraved horse teeth,
a horse bone carved with bison heads.Last Glacial Maximum refugia
Last Glacial Maximum refugia were places where humans, and also other species, survived during the last glacial period in the northern hemisphere, around 25,000 to 20,000 years ago.
Sub-Saharan Africa and Australia were not affected by the glaciation (although vast areas of those continents were then too dry for human habitation of any sort, even by the most specialised and well-adapted foragers), and the Americas and New Zealand had no humans at that time. Therefore, the shelters are located mainly in Eurasia. Several of them have been studied.Magdalenian
The Magdalenian (also Madelenian; French: Magdalénien) cultures are later cultures of the Upper Paleolithic in western Europe, dating from around 17,000 to 12,000 years ago. It is named after the type site of La Madeleine, a rock shelter located in the Vézère valley, commune of Tursac, in the Dordogne department of France.
Originally termed L'âge du renne (the Age of the Reindeer) by Édouard Lartet and Henry Christy, the first systematic excavators of the type site, in their publication of 1875, the Magdalenian is synonymous in many people's minds with reindeer hunters, although Magdalenian sites also contain extensive evidence for the hunting of red deer, horses, and other large mammals present in Europe toward the end of the last ice age. The culture was geographically widespread, and later Magdalenian sites have been found from Portugal in the west to Poland in the east. It is the third epoch of Gabriel de Mortillet's cave chronology system, corresponding roughly to the Late Pleistocene.Prehistoric Iberia
The prehistory of the Iberian Peninsula begins with the arrival of the first hominins 1.2 million years ago and ends with the Punic Wars, when the territory enters the domains of written history. In this long period, some of its most significant landmarks were to host the last stand of the Neanderthal people, to develop some of the most impressive Paleolithic art, alongside southern France, to be the seat of the earliest civilizations of Western Europe and finally to become a most desired colonial objective due to its strategic position and its many mineral riches.Santimamiñe
Santimamiñe cave, Kortezubi, Biscay, Basque Country, Spain, is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Basque Country, including a nearly complete sequence from the Middle Paleolithic to the Iron Age.Its complete sequence includes the following cultures:
AzilianPlus unclassified remains of the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze and Iron ages.
It is best known for its mural paintings of the Magdalenian period, depicting bisons, horses, goats and deers.
Its excellent location over the Urdaibai estuary was probably most important in its continued habitation, first by Neanderthals and later by Homo sapiens.
Since 2008, it is one of the caves included as a World Heritage Site within "Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain".Solutrean hypothesis
The Solutrean hypothesis on the peopling of the Americas claims that the earliest human migration to the Americas took place from Europe, during the Last Glacial Maximum. This hypothesis contrasts with the mainstream view that the North American continent was first reached after the Last Glacial Maximum, by people from North Asia, either by the Bering land bridge (i.e. Beringia), or by maritime travel along the Pacific coast, or by both.
According to the Solutrean hypothesis, people of the Solutrean culture, 21,000 to 17,000 years ago migrated to North America by boat along the pack ice of the North Atlantic Ocean. They brought their methods of making stone tools with them and provided the basis for the later (c. 13,000 years ago) Clovis technology that spread throughout North America. The hypothesis is based on similarities between European Solutrean and Clovis lithic technologies. Supporters of the Solutrean hypothesis refer to recent archaeological finds such as those at Cactus Hill in Virginia, Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania, and Miles Point in Maryland as evidence of a transitional phase between Solutrean lithic technology and what later became Clovis technology.
Originally proposed in the 1970s, the theory has received some support in the 2010s, notably by Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution and Bruce Bradley of the University of Exeter. However, according to David Meltzer, "Few if any archaeologists—or, for that matter, geneticists, linguists, or physical anthropologists—take seriously the idea of a Solutrean colonization of America." The evidence for the hypothesis is considered more consistent with other scenarios. In addition to an interval of thousands of years between the Clovis and Solutrean eras, the two technologies show only incidental similarities. There is no evidence for any Solutrean seafaring, far less for any technology that could take humans across the Atlantic in an ice age. Recent genetic evidence supports the idea of Asian, not European, origins for the peopling of the Americas.Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic, Late Stone Age) is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Very broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago (the beginning of the Holocene), according to some theories coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity in early modern humans, until the advent of the Neolithic Revolution and agriculture.
Anatomically modern humans (i.e. Homo sapiens) are believed to have emerged out of Africa around 200,000 years ago, although these lifestyles changed very little from that of archaic humans of the Middle Paleolithic, until about 50,000 years ago, when there was a marked increase in the diversity of artefacts.
This period coincides with the expansion of modern humans from Africa throughout Asia and Eurasia, which contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthals.
The Upper Paleolithic has the earliest known evidence of organized settlements, in the form of campsites, some with storage pits. Artistic work blossomed, with cave painting, petroglyphs, carvings and engravings on bone or ivory. The first evidence of human fishing is also found, from artefacts in places such as Blombos cave in South Africa. More complex social groupings emerged, supported by more varied and reliable food sources and specialized tool types. This probably contributed to increasing group identification or ethnicity.The peopling of Australia most likely took place before c. 60 ka. Europe was peopled after c. 45 ka.
Anatomically modern humans are known to have expanded northward into Siberia as far as the 58th parallel by about 45 ka (Ust'-Ishim man).
The Upper Paleolithic is divided by the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), during about 25 to 15 ka. The peopling of the Americas occurred during this time, with East and Central Asia populations reaching the Bering land bridge after about 35 ka, and expanding into the Americas by about 15 ka.
In Western Eurasia, the Paleolithic eases into the so-called Epipaleolithic or Mesolithic from the end of the LGM, beginning 15 ka. The Holocene glacial retreat begins 11.7 ka (10th millennium BC), falling well into the Old World Epipaleolithic, and marking the beginning of the earliest forms of farming in the Fertile Crescent.