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VCWAP 2024: Congratulations to Lucía Villaescusa, awarded the second Prize for the best Talk

Congratulations to Lucía Villaescusa,

awarded the second Prize for the Best Talk!

At the 4th Virtual Conference for Women Archaeologists and Paleontologists (VCWAP), early-career women researchers delivered 41 high-quality talks. Lucía Villaescusa‘s presentation particularly impressed the jury, earning her the Second Prize for the Best Talk. Lucía was awarded a course of her choosing from the catalog of The Sky is the Limit by Alicia Marín Muniesa, kindly provided by the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES). Congratulations, Lucía, on this well-deserved recognition!

The talk: « Deciphering Neanderthal Activities: Spatial Statistical Analysis of Mousterian Lithics at Des-Cubierta Cave Level 3 (Pinilla del Valle, Madrid)” by Lucía Villaescusa, Lucía Cobo-Sánchez, Belén Márquez, Ana Abrunhosa, Rosa Huguet, Sandra Gómez-Soler, M. Ángeles Galindo-Pellicena, César Laplana, Ana Isabel Ortega, David M. Martín-Perea, Abel Moclán, Juan Luis Arsuaga, Alfredo Pérez-González, Enrique Baquedano.

Near Madrid, the Des-Cubierta Cave Level 3 (MIS 4 or early MIS3) presents a unique Neanderthal record, with 35 large ungulate crania associated with Mousterian industry. Investigating its formation processes, they analyze the spatial distribution of lithic assemblages across the vertical section. Using spatial statistical methods, they detect variations suggesting distinct depositional episodes. Gneiss and granite tools dominate the lower and middle sections, while quartz becomes prevalent higher up. Anvils and hammerstones show a strong association, concentrated in the lower and middle parts. These findings imply diverse anthropogenic activities over time. Ongoing analyses integrate spatial examinations of faunal and geological elements to elucidate Neanderthal behaviours at the site.

The presenter: Lucía Villaescusa

Lucía Villaescusa is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Alcalá de Henares (Spain), where her research focuses on elucidating the formation processes of level 3 in the Cueva Des-Cubierta de Pinilla del Valle. Her investigation also delves into temporal and behavioral aspects through an analysis of the spatial distribution of both archaeological and geological remains within the site.

Having obtained her undergraduate degree in History from the Complutense University of Madrid and completed a Master’s program in Archaeology and Heritage at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Lucía has extensive experience in fieldwork. She has participated in several emergency excavations, including Acheulean sites in Los Ahijones (Madrid), and has been involved in various research projects across Spain and Portugal, with a focus on karst sites such as those in the Garraf Massif in Catalonia and the Almonda River karst complex in Portugal. For nine years, she has dedicated her efforts to the archaeopaleontological complex of Pinilla del Valle (Madrid).

While Lucía has contributed to archaeological sites spanning different historical periods, including the Celtiberian-Roman site of Numancia and the Late Antique site of La Cabilda, her specialization lies in Middle Paleolithic research, particularly in spatial studies employing advanced methods such as spatial statistics. She believes that understanding spatial relationships within archaeological sites is crucial for interpreting the diverse materials found within them in an integrative way which provides valuable insights into human behavior. 

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