Thursday, January 28, 2016 7:30 pm free
The Red Lady of El Mirón Cave:
19,000 year-old Magdalenian Burial in Northern Spain.
Lawrence Guy Straus,
Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University of New Mexico
Near the conclusion of two decades of excavation in El Mirón Cave in the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain, Lawrence Guy Straus, his colleague Manuel González Morales and their students discovered the partial skeleton of an adult woman. Ceremonially buried 19,000 years ago within a Lower Magdalenian archeological level behind a contemporaneously engraved block, the discovery was reported in a special issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science in 2015. In this lecture, Dr. Straus will report on the environmental background, archeological and archeofaunal contexts, osteological studies, DNA isotopic, dental microwear and residues analyses, associated art and red ochre, and interpretation of the "Red Lady of El Mirón", including discussion of her physical characteristics, DNA, health, diet, the ritual nature of her burial and re-burial, and the deliberate manipulation of her remains during the Lower Magdalenian, a period of intensive human occupation and artistic activity during the final part of the Last Glacial both in this cave site and more generally throughout the Cantabrian region of northern Atlantic Spain.
Lawrence Straus, the grandson and great-grandson of early amateur prehistorians in SW France, is Leslie Spier Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, where he has taught since 1975. He received his A.B., A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago. Straus began excavating at the age of 14 in New Hampshire and did archeological field work in France and the U.S. Southwest and Middle West before definitively becoming a specialist in the Upper Paleolithic of Western Europe. He has been Editor of UNM's Journal of Anthropological Research since 1995 and delivered the Maxwell's first Ancestors Lecture at the inauguration of the Ancestors Exhibit.