Excavating in breccia: new methods developed at the Benzú rockshelter
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Author/sDomínguez-Bella, Salvador; Ramos Muñoz, José; Bernal Casasola, Darío; Vijande Vila, Eduardo; Cantillo Duarte, Juan Jesús; Cabral, Antonio; Manuela, Pérez; Barrena Tocino, Antonio
DepartmentHistoria, Geografía y Filosofía
SourceAntiquity 86 (2012): 1167–1178
Excavators examining breccia deposits are faced with the prospect of extracting finds from a material akin to concrete. Nevertheless such deposits are sometimes the only witness of early Palaeolithic occupation. Our inventive authors put aside the hammers, acids and explosives of earlier days, and used quarry techniques to cut the breccia into small blocks, which they then freed from their finds in the laboratory, using tools developed in palaeontology. As a result, they gathered a huge harvest of stone tools, bones and shells. It all goes to show that archaeological excavation is an exercise of infinite variety: to every problem, its solution; to every terrain, its method.