Tuesday, February 07, 2012

What's new on the Italian Middle Paleolithic?

I'm traveling this week, participating in the Roundtable of the Middle Palaeolithic of Italy hosted by the Center for Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies(http://camnes.org), which takes place in Florence this coming Thursday and Friday (Feb. 9-10, 2012). I'm really looking forward to it, and looking at the final program, it sounds like a good range of perspectives and regional records will be discussed, which should make for good discussion. This is important given that an underappreciated dimensions of the Italian MP is how varied it is, which really is not al that surprising when you consider the topographic and geographic variability of the peninsula (see e.g., Milliken 2007 for a summary). If possible, I'll try to live blog some of the conference, and I should mention that the organizers have said that the conference presentations should be streamable in real time... I'll update this post accordingly when I have the final details.


Anonymous said...

Hi Julien, I've been following your blog for some time and I thought I'd share something: http://www.inquisitr.com/193334/neanderthal-cave-painting-is-oldest-ever-discovered/

You may well be aware of this find, but there are newly discovered cave paintings in southern Spain that have been dated to 42-43,000 BCE and attributed to Neanderthals. If the link above doesn't work it's been mentioned in several other news sources. I enjoy your posts, especially those on Neanderthals, quite a bit. Keep up the good work! - Best, James

Julien Riel-Salvatore said...

Thanks for the comment, and your kind words.

I have seen the reports about the paintings at Nerja. The evidence presented in support of the claims that they were created by Neanderthals is not terribly convincing, at least as summarized in the popular press. It's always tricky to say definitively in the absence of a proper report, though, so who knows. Ultimately, it wouldn't surprise me to find art made by Neanderthals, but the proof for it is going to have to be damn near incontrovertible if it is to sway the discipline as a whole.

Rosemary Joyce has a very thoughtful post on this discovery
here, which I'd encourage you to read if you want a detailed critique of the argument.