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Lawrence Guy Straus1,2 , Manuel R. Gonz´alez Morales2 & Jose Miguel Carretero3 The authors describe the discovery of the first human burial of Magdalenian age to be found in the Iberian Peninsula—the partial skeleton N El Mirón Cave of a young adult whose bones were stained with red ochre. The burial was well stratified in a sequence at the vestibule rear running from the Mousterian to the Mesolithic, and was adjacent to a large block that had fallen Madrid from the cave roof and been subsequently engraved. A preliminary AMS radiocarbon date on associated faunal remains from the ochre-stained, galena speckled burial layer yielded a date of 15 700 BP, while a hearth directly above the burial is dated to 15 100 BP, placing the interment of this individual in the Lower Cantabrian Magdalenian, the period of most intensive human occupation of El Mir´on Cave during the Upper Palaeolithic. 0 km 400 Keywords: El Mir´on Cave, Cantabrian Spain, Lower Magdalenian, Upper Palaeolithic, human burial Introduction One century ago, in 1911, Hugo Obermaier discovered in El Castillo Cave (Cantabria, Spain) two human frontal bones that had been “fashioned into bowls” (Obermaier 1925: 1 2 3 Department of Anthropology MSC01 1040, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, USA (Email: Instituto Internacional de Investigaciones Prehist´oricas, Universidad de Cantabria, 39005 Santander, Spain Laboratorio de Evoluci´on Humana, Departamento de Ciencias Hist´oricas y Geograf´ıa, Universidad de Burgos, 09001 Burgos, Spain Received: 4 April 2011; Accepted: 9 May 2011; Revised: 16 May 2011 ANTIQUITY 85 (2011): 1151–1164 1151 Research Lower Magdalenian secondary human burial in El Mir´on Cave, Cantabria, Spain


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