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Neandertals or Early Modern Humans? A revised 14C chronology and geoarchaeological study of the Szeletian sequence in Szeleta Cave (Kom. Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén) in Hungary

Abstract

Szeleta Cave near Miskolc (Hungary) is the eponymous site for the Szeletian technological group thought to reflect the last occurrence of Neanderthals in Central Europe. Because the Szeletian lithic industry contains both Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic elements, it is usually regarded as a “transitional” industry. As such, the development of a precise age model for the Szeletian would add substantial information to a period of population replacements in Europe. This concerns the timing of Neanderthal disappearance and their possible cohabitation with Anatomically Modern Humans in Central Europe. Previous age models for the Szeletian either suffered from deficiencies of dating methods and/or poor stratigraphic control of the dated samples. Therefore, population replacement models based on the key archaeological sequence of Szeleta Cave remain ambiguous. For this reason, we developed a new age model for the Szeletian sequence of this cave combined with a geoarchaeological investigation. Our new radiocarbon chronology, based on AMS 14C dating results of in situ bone and charcoal samples, lends support to the argument that the Szeletian does not represent a transition towards, but rather contemporaneity with the Early Upper Paleolithic. The Szeletian now appears to be of the same age as the early Aurignacian in the region which is linked to the early Anatomically Modern Humans. Consequently, Neanderthals are the likely authors of the famous Szeletian leaf points – bifacially shaped implements that are important cultural markers for the MP-UP transition.

Resources

Hauck et al. 2016_ArchKorr.pdf Request access Accessed 1 times | Last updated 06.10.2017

Bibliography

Hauck, T., Rethemeyer, J., Richter, J., Rentzel, P., Schulte, P., Heinze, S., Ringer, A., Chu, W., Lehmkuhl, F., Vogels, O. (2016): Neandertals or Early Modern Humans? A revised 14C chronology and geoarchaeological study of the Szeletian sequence in Szeleta Cave (Kom. Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén) in Hungary. – In: Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt, Vol. 46, p: 271-290

Authors Hauck, Thomas and Rethemeyer, Janet and Richter, Jürgen and Rentzel, Philippe and Schulte, Philipp and Heinze, Stefan and Ringer, Arpad and Chu, Wei and Lehmkuhl, Frank and Vogels, Oliver
Type article
Title Neandertals or Early Modern Humans? A revised 14C chronology and geoarchaeological study of the Szeletian sequence in Szeleta Cave (Kom. Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén) in Hungary
Journal Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt
Year 2016
Volume 46
Pages 271-290
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