Establishing Contexts of Encounters: Radiocarbon Dating of Archaeological Assemblages With Implications for Neanderthal-Modern Human Interactions
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CitationAlex, Bridget Annelia. 2016. Establishing Contexts of Encounters: Radiocarbon Dating of Archaeological Assemblages With Implications for Neanderthal-Modern Human Interactions. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation seeks to reconstruct the distribution of Neanderthals and modern humans in time and geographic space in order to better understand the nature of interactions between the groups. Because human fossils from the Late Pleistocene are so rare, the biogeography of Neanderthals and moderns is primarily inferred from radiocarbon dates of archeological industries, which are assumed to have been made by one group or the other. Following this methodology, I critically reviewed published radiocarbon dates and produced new dates from active excavations in three regions: the Levant, Balkans, and Northeast Europe. The resulting regional chronologies were compared to the distributions of Neanderthals and moderns predicted from interaction models of no overlap, rapid replacement, and prolonged coexistence. The scenario of prolonged coexistence was subdivided into models of integration, displacement, and avoidance.
Informative archaeological chronologies were produced for each region. In Northeast Europe, my new dates and site chronologies for Ciemna and Obłazowa Caves, Poland, suggest that the Middle Paleolithic ended before 45 kcalBP. In the greater region, a number of distinct assemblages appeared during Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS-3), but the duration and sequence of these industries is not well resolved due to the large uncertainties of the available chronometric dates. In the Levant, the dates and chronology reported here for Manot Cave, Israel, help to clarify the timing of Early Upper Paleolithic industries and test proposed migrations of modern humans between the Near East and Europe. Specifically, at Manot the Early Ahmarian industry was present by 46 kcalBP and the Levantine Aurignacian occurred between 37-35 kcalBP. However, it was the results from the Balkans that were most applicable to the interaction models proposed in this dissertation, and therefore most informative on the nature of Neanderthal-modern human interactions. The new dates from Pešturina, Hadži Prodanova, and Smolućka Caves, combined with published dates from other sites, suggest that Neanderthals and moderns overlapped for several thousand years in the Balkans. During this period of overlap the groups occupied distinct geographic zones, consistent with the models of prolonged coexistence by displacement or avoidance. The period of overlap ended by 39,000 calBP at the time of the Campanian Ignimbrite eruption and onset of the Heinrich Event 4 cold phase.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33493527
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