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Danube loess – paleoenvironmental record and potential eastern European corridor for the dispersal of modern humans

Abstract

An international and interdisciplinary team is working on different proxy data for the paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the last glacial cycle as recorded by loess and similar terrestrial deposits. Our group focuses on loess sections, archaeological open air sites and cave sediments. The major topic is the environmental background of migration pathways of Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH) from Africa into Europe. We focus on Early Upper Palaeolithic sites in selected morphological positions. Conceptionally we are following the idea of an upland-lowland interaction, which combines paleoenvironmental parameters as sedimentary transport, sediment distribution, paleosol development in different altitudes, steered by paleoclimate in space and time, and specifically the upland-lowland comparative concept. Southeastern Europe has become a special research focus since two early Homo sapiens individuals have been found at Oase Cave in the Southern Banat. The fossils lack any stratigraphic context; cultural and environmental circumstances of these fossil finds have remained unclear. In the neighbourhood of Oase Cave, however, a several early Upper Palaeolithic sites, embedded in loess sequences, are known since the 1950’s. Some have been re-investigated by our research team, with surprising results. Further, some detailed studies concerning site-formation processes and the quality of open-air sites (sedimentary development, paleoecology, multilayering, reworking, human impact on soils and sediments, organic preservation) are being conducted at selected localities. The recent Banat findings support our research strategy to include loess sections from both upland and lowland positions. The mountains in the northeastern proximity of the Banat region might represent one of the MIS 3-"refugia" which are usually claimed to be the last strongholds of Neanderthals - our findings, however, suggest that the region rather attracted early Homo sapiens.

Bibliography

Lehmkuhl, F., Hambach, U., Markovic, S., Zeeden, C., Bösken, J., Chu, W., Eckmeier, E., Hauck, T., Klasen, N., Obreht, I., Schulte, P., Sümegi, P., Veres, D., Timar-Gabor, A. (accepted): Danube loess – paleoenvironmental record and potential eastern European corridor for the dispersal of modern humans. . INQUA 2015, 26.7.- 2.8. 2015, Nagoya/Japan.

Authors Lehmkuhl, F. and Hambach, U. and Markovic, S. and Zeeden, C. and Bösken, J. and Chu, W. and Eckmeier, E. and Hauck, T. and Klasen, N. and Obreht, I. and Schulte, P. and Sümegi, P. and Veres, D. and Timar-Gabor, A.
Type presentation
Title Danube loess – paleoenvironmental record and potential eastern European corridor for the dispersal of modern humans
Year accepted
Organization . INQUA 2015, 26.7.- 2.8. 2015, Nagoya/Japan.
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