Neanderthals, Denisovans and Modern Humans: Unravelling the Chronology of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic of Eurasia
For more than half a century Paleolithic archaeologists have grappled with radiocarbon-based chronologies that are often contradictory and imprecise. Several key debates in the Palaeolithic have their roots in basic issues related to chronology; did the Aurignacian predate the Chatelperronian in some regions of Europe? When did Neanderthals disappear? How long did anatomically modern humans (AMH) and Neanderthals overlap, and what implications did this have for interaction, acculturation or interbreeding? Without reliable time control, these questions are unanswerable and unravelling the Paleolithic remains a distant and virtually unachievable goal.
Recent research in AMS dating has seen significant improvement in the situation, however. One of the main areas of improvement has been in chemical pretreatment and sample decontamination which has resulted in superior purification, particularly of bone proteins targeted for dating. We have been working on dating >100 sites covering the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition across Eurasia. We have used optimized techniques of AMS dating as well as OSL dating, coupled with Bayesian modeling, to produce robust site chronologies. Combining results from absolute dating with paleo-genomics results in novel insights into what happened between 70 and 30,000 BP in Eurasia, as we will summarise in our presentation.
Cite this Record
Neanderthals, Denisovans and Modern Humans: Unravelling the Chronology of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic of Eurasia. Tom Higham, Thibaut Devièse, Marine Frouin, Katerina Douka. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442585)
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Abstract Id(s): 21979