Taphonomic and spatial analyses from the Early Pleistocene site of Venta Micena 4 (Orce, Guadix-Baza Basin, southern Spain)
Venta Micena is an area containing several palaeontological sites marking the beginning of the Calabrian stage (Early Pleistocene). The richness of the fossil accumulation including species of Asian, African and European origin, makes Venta Micena a key site for the the palaeoecological and palaeoenvironmental study of southern Europe during the Early Pleistocene. Thus, research has been focused on Venta Micena 3, which was originally interpreted as a single palaeosurface associated with a marshy context, in which most of the fauna was accumulated by Pachycrocuta brevirostris. Recent excavations have unearthed a new site, Venta Micena 4, located in the same stratigraphic unit (Unit C) and in close proximity to Venta Micena 3. Here we show the first analyses regarding the taphonomic and spatial nature of this new site, defining two stratigraphic boundaries corresponding to two different depositional events. Furthermore, the taphonomic analyses of fossil remains seem to indicate a different accumulative agent than Pachycrocuta, thus adding more complexity to the palaeobiological interpretation of the Venta Micena area. These results contribute to the discussion of traditional interpretations made from Venta Micena 3.