Neanderthal climate preferences and tolerances: the need for a better chronology

Rupert Housley, Philip Allsworth-Jones, Christopher Burbidge, Nick McCave, David Pyle, David Sanderson, Oliver Bazely, Simon Crowhurst, T van Andel, 2008

Data copyright © Dr Rupert Housley unless otherwise stated


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Dr Rupert Housley
Department of Archaeology
University of Glasgow
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Rupert Housley, Philip Allsworth-Jones, Christopher Burbidge, Nick McCave, David Pyle, David Sanderson, Oliver Bazely, Simon Crowhurst, T van Andel (2008) Neanderthal climate preferences and tolerances: the need for a better chronology [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000035

Introduction

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This project aimed to investigate whether the present chronological data for late Mousterian sites in Europe are biasing our perception of Neanderthal populations by making them appear more cold-adapted than the incoming anatomically modern Early Upper Palaeolithic humans. In this study we focused on the part of the Neanderthal world that experienced the most continental climatic environments - namely, European Russia north of the Black Sea - for it is in such a region that the environmental preferences, in particular tolerance to temperature, are most discernible. By applying a series of cross-validated non-14C chronological methodologies (OSL, TL, palaeomagnetic intensity, and tephrostratigraphy) to late Middle Palaeolithic assemblages the project sought to identify spatial and temporal patterning which, when correlated with local environmental proxies and wider climate data, would provide a better understanding of Neanderthal climate tolerances. The project has produced a suite of new age determinations from a selection of archaeological sites that had previously undergone investigation and which were available to sample without requiring new excavations; the corresponding data on the cultural, lithic and environmental associations of the new age measurements derive mostly from earlier existing studies.

Project Report:

  • Burbidge, C.I., Allsworth-Jones, P., Housley, R.A., Sanderson, D.C.W., Pyle, D., McCave, N., and van Andel, T.H. (2005) Middle Palaeolithic sites in Russia and the Ukraine: site summaries and fieldwork 2004. Glasgow: SUERC, University of Glasgow, 470 pp., ISBN 0 85261 819 0.

Papers from the project:

  • Burbidge, C.I., Sanderson, D.C.W., Housley, R.A., and Allsworth-Jones, P. (2007) 'Survey of Palaeolithic sites by luminescence profiling, a case study from eastern Europe', Quaternary Geochronology 2/1-4, 296-302.
  • Housley, R.A., van Andel, T.H. and Sanderson, D.C.W. (2006) 'A new research project to investigate the chronology connected with Neanderthal climate preferences and tolerances in the North-East Black Sea region' in: Anikovich, M.V., and Platonova, N.I. (Eds.), The Early Upper Paleolithic of Eurasia: General Trends, Local Developments (International conference devoted to the 125th anniversary of the Paleolithic investigations in Kostenki, August, 23-26, 2004), pp. 26-38, St. Petersburg: Nestor-History.
  • Housley, R.A., Higham, T.F.G., and Anikovich, M.V. (2006) 'New AMS radiocarbon dates from Kostenki 12' in: Anikovich, M.V., and Platonova, N.I. (Eds.), The Early Upper Paleolithic of Eurasia: General Trends, Local Developments (International conference devoted to the 125th anniversary of the Paleolithic investigations in Kostenki, August, 23-26th, 2004), pp. 152-156, St. Petersburg: Nestor-History.
  • Pyle, D.M., Richetts, G.D., Margari, V., van Andel, T.H., Sinitsyn, A.A., Praslov, N.D., and Lisitsyn, S. (2006) 'Wide dispersal and deposition of distal tephra during the Pleistocene 'Campanian Ignimbrite/Y5' eruption, Italy', Quaternary Science Reviews 25 (21-22), 2713-2728
  • Housley, R. A., Sanderson, D. C. W., Burbidge, C. I., Richter, D., and Higham, T. F. G. (2008) 'Luminescence analysis (OSL and TL) and AMS radiocarbon determinations from Kabazi V' in: Yevtushenko, A.I., Chabai, V.P, Richter, J., and Uthmeier, T. (eds.) Kabazi V: Middle Palaeolithic occupation, environment and subsistence. Palaeolithic sites of the Crimea vol. 3. Simferopol & Cologne: National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine / University of Cologne