New Evidence for Complex Occupation Patterns at Dmanisi, a 1.85-1.76 Ma Site in the Georgian Caucasus

Author(s): Reid Ferring

Year: 2015


Recent excavations and geoarchaeological testing at Dmanisi have revealed a large and complex site structure. Up to 7 meters of stratified deposits, with nine artifact and fossil-bearing strata, are now documented over an area of at least 35,000 square meters on the Dmanisi promontory. These new data indicate that the site was visited repeatedly for a considerable period, indicating a well-established pattern of group cohesion, mobility and planning. These patterns are rarely evidenced in the archaeological record of earliest Homo, and may reflect adaptations to temperate seasonality by the first Eurasians that are characteristic of much later populations. Geomorphic-soils records indicate that differential densities of artifacts and faunas, both within and between strata, mainly register primary accumulation with minimal post-depositional movement or weathering. From this perspective, Dmanisi appears to have multiple "site types" as traditionally recognized in east Africa. Although Dmanisi's variable hominin fossils exhibit many primitive characteristics, including small brains and stature, this geoarchaeological record provides evidence that those populations survived and thrived in Eurasia the old fashioned way: as cohesive, cooperative social groups with well-defined subsistence strategies. In this sense, the earliest members of our genus may have been less "primitive" than traditionally assumed.

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Cite this Record

New Evidence for Complex Occupation Patterns at Dmanisi, a 1.85-1.76 Ma Site in the Georgian Caucasus. Reid Ferring. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396268)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;