A multidisciplinary approach to a unique Palaeolithic human ichnological record from Italy (Bàsura Cave)


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Publication Date

January 2019


Based on the integration of laser scan, sedimentology, geochemistry, archeobotany, geometric morphometries and photogrammetry, here we present evidence testifying a Palaeolithic group that explored a deep cave in northern Italy about 14 ky cal. BP. Ichnological data enable us to shed light on individual and group level behavior, social relationship and mode of exploration of the highly uneven environment. Five individuals, two adults, an adolescent and two children, entered the cave barefoot and with a set of wood chips to illuminate the way. Traces of crawling locomotion are documented for the first time in the global human ichnological record. The anatomic details recognizable in the crawling traces show that no garment was interposed between the limb and the trampled sediments. Our study demonstrate that very young children (the youngest less than three years old) were active members in the Upper Palaeolithic populations, even in seemingly dangerous activities and social ones.


Human Footprints, Upper Paleolithic, Morphometric Analysis, Human Locomotion, Cave Use, Finger Flutings

Document Type