Remains of glue found on a Solutrean tip from Spain

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(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists have examined stone arrowheads found in the Spanish cave of El Buksu, a well-known monument of Paleolithic art.

They were able to study the remains of glue on one of these artifacts using Raman and infrared spectroscopy.

It turned out that the ancient hunter-gatherers made it from wax and resin. Glue on Solutrean tips was discovered for the first time.

The vast majority of cave monuments with Paleolithic art are located on the territory of the Franco-Cantabrian region, which includes the northern regions of Spain and the southern half of France.

Here, back in 1879, the famous cave of Altamira was discovered. Since then, the number of monuments has reached several hundred.

One of them – El Buksu Cave – was accidentally discovered in Asturias (northern Spain) back in 1916.

Research has shown that ancient hunter-gatherers visited the cave of El Buksu from Aurignacian to Magdalenian times.

Archaeologists have found examples of mobile and monumental art in it, including geometric signs, images of deer, horses, mountain goats and bison. Excavations have revealed artifacts of the Solutrean time here.

Among the finds were, for example, a bird figurine carved from the tusk of a cave bear (Ursus spelaeus), stone artifacts, remains of fires and bones of hunted animals.

Remains of glue found on a Solutrean tip from Spain 2

Francisco Javier Munoz from the National University of Distance Education in Spain, together with colleagues, explored stone artifacts from the El Buksu cave.

The scientists focused their attention on the Solutrean tips from two excavation horizons. The age of one of them – 20 thousand years – was previously determined using radiocarbon analysis.

In total, eight stone points typical of the Solutrean technocomplex were found here. Ancient hunters used flint and quartzite as raw materials for their manufacture.

Two leaf-shaped tips are made in the form of a bay leaf, while the rest are of the type with a side notch.

On some items, the researchers noticed traces of thermal exposure. In addition, not all tips were finished – perhaps due to errors made in their manufacture.

Remains of glue found on a Solutrean tip from Spain 3

On the two side-notched tips, the scientists noticed likely residues of the glue used to secure these items to the shafts.

To find out the composition of this substance, the researchers turned to Raman and infrared spectroscopy. Due to contamination, the adhesive from one tip turned out to be suitable for further research.

According to scientists, it seems that the ancient people made it from wax and resin (probably pine).

In addition, hematite was present in the sample, but it is not clear whether this mineral was part of the glue or whether it got on the tip by accident – both hematite and ocher were present in the layer where it was found.

Scientists noted that this is the first evidence of the use of glue found on Solutrean tips.

According to archaeologists, probably during the time of the Solutre, small groups of hunter-gatherers visited this cave, using it as a short-term camp.

Here they hunted mountain goats, red deer and chamois. Moreover, the finds indicate that the meat of these animals, it seems, was smoked inside the cave.

People have been able to make glue since ancient times. So, in Italy, a bone was discovered, to which Neanderthals glued a flint plate about 200 thousand years ago.

Moreover, archaeologists have managed to recreate the ways in which these ancient people managed to get tar from birch bark.


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