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Mas, B., Mangado, X., de la Torre, M.S., Tejero, J.-M., Fullola, J.M., Allué, E., 2023. Late Paleolithic hunter-gatherers’ resilience in the face of the transformation of the vegetation landscape and climate change in the Pre-Pyrenees. Quaternary Science Reviews 317, 108276.
Climate change since the Last Glacial Maximum has caused both plant communities and human behaviour to adapt. Humans relied heavily on wood as fuel to sustain their daily subsistence. Thanks to efficient fuel management, they were able to persist in a challenging environment. Cova del Parco (Iberian Pre-Pyrenees) was inhabited as a settlement in different periods of the Late Pleistocene (16.4–12.7 cal kyr BP). The site has one of the most comprehensive assemblages of Magdalenian hearths, allowing several specialized and daily activity areas to be reconstructed. This study aims to provide new anthracological data regarding the transformation of the forests in the Iberian Pre-Pyrenees, as well as showing how humans adapted their behaviour as regards fuel management and the use of space around the hearths. Furthermore, we present a spatial distribution analysis of the woody taxa from Magdalenian occupations that were identified during the anthracological study. A total of 1993 charcoal fragments from Cova del Parco were identified at a taxonomic level. The anthracological results revealed the presence of 11 woody taxa, with the pine-juniper phase as a characteristic transformation of pre-forest formations in the cold climates of certain locations in the southwestern Mediterranean region. The results of our spatial analysis found that pinewood was the preferred fuel in the cave chamber, whereas juniper was most abundant in the rock shelter. However, the latest occupations revealed a shift in fuel use, with juniper becoming the primary fuel in the cave chamber. This change in behaviour is indicative of the changing needs of humans and their ability to adapt to new surroundings. It implies that strategies are contingent on context and dynamic, responding to changes in the environment. Overall, this study suggests that humans adapted to the changing environment by changing their fuel management strategies.