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First chronometric dates (TL and OSL) for the Aurignacian open-air site of Româneşti-Dumbrăviţa I, Romania

Abstract

Currently, absolute dates for the emergence of the Early Upper Paleolithic and the timing of the earliest dispersal of anatomically modern humans (AMH) into Europe are sparse. This is especially true for regions adjoining the Eastern Mediterranean and Central Europe with its dense clusters of sites along the Austrian and German Danube Valley. This article makes a first step toward filling this gap and, for the first time, presents absolute ages for the open-air site of Româneşti-Dumbrăviţa I (Banat, SW Romania) located close to the Oase Cave where some of the oldest AMH fossils were found. A set of heated artefacts recently excavated from the Aurignacian layer GH3 was dated by thermoluminescence (TL) and gives early chronometric dates for this technocomplex in Romania.

The luminescence behavior of artefact samples required the use of different multiple- and single-aliquot measurement protocols to obtain reliable age information. In addition, analyses of glow curves and the performance during regenerative-dose measurements allowed us to distinguish two types of samples. Since one group is characterized by poor dose reproducibility, only samples showing reliable luminescence behavior were considered for final age interpretations. As a result, we could determine that the last heating of artefacts from GH3 happened most likely between ∼39 ka (single-aliquot age estimate) and ∼45 ka (multiple-aliquot age estimate) ago, with a weighted average age of the GH3 finds of 40.6 ± 1.5 ka (including all data). These dates were confirmed by OSL dating of sediments of the find layer. Such an early age fits well to technological and typological features, which place the dated lithic assemblage at the very beginning of the development of the Aurignacian technocomplex usually seen as a proxy for the earliest wide spread presence of AMH in Europe.

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Bibliography

Schmidt, C., Sitlivy, V., Anghelinu, M., Chabai, V., Kels, H., Uthmeier, T., Hauck, T., Băltean, I., Hilgers, A., Richter, J., Radtke, U. (2013): First chronometric dates (TL and OSL) for the Aurignacian open-air site of Româneşti-Dumbrăviţa I, Romania. – In: Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 40, p: 3740-3753, DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2013.04.003

Authors Schmidt, C. and Sitlivy, V. and Anghelinu, M. and Chabai, V. and Kels, H. and Uthmeier, T. and Hauck, T. and Băltean, I. and Hilgers, A. and Richter, J. and Radtke, U.
Type article
Title First chronometric dates (TL and OSL) for the Aurignacian open-air site of Româneşti-Dumbrăviţa I, Romania
DOI 10.1016/j.jas.2013.04.003
Journal Journal of Archaeological Science
Year 2013
Volume 40
Pages 3740-3753
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