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Hunting High and Low: Gravettian Hunting Weapons from Southern Italy to the Russian Plain

Valentina Borgia
Published Online: 2017-12-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2017-0024


The current paper aims at describing and analysing the backed tools found in two Early Gravettian sites separated geographically from each other: Grotta Paglicci (layer 23-22) in Italy, and Kostenki 8 (layer II) in Russia. A similarity between the lithic assemblages of the two sites, and other cultural aspects, has been reported by authors over many decades. The analysis of the backed tools has created the opportunity to apply the same methodological approach to verify the resemblance and potential causes for the similarity, and also to address broader considerations on Gravettian hunting strategies and the modalities and timing of the spread of new techniques, whether related to physical movement of people or assimilation of ideas. The perception is that, during the Gravettian period, shared symbolic behaviours and subsistence strategies linked people living in completely different environments with completely different resources, from the temperate regions of southern Italy, to the very cold Russian plains. This point of view cannot be questioned, but it tends to flatten an articulated palimpsest of human generations and to underestimate the very low demographic density of Prehistoric Europe.

Keywords: backed tools; armatures; hunting strategies; Gravettian


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About the article

Received: 2017-05-08

Accepted: 2017-11-16

Published Online: 2017-12-22

Published in Print: 2017-12-20

Citation Information: Open Archaeology, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 376–391, ISSN (Online) 2300-6560, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2017-0024.

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