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Reassessing the timeframe of Upper Palaeolithic deposits in the Ceahlău Basin (Eastern Carpathians, Romania): Geochronological and archaeological implications

Abstract

The Pleistocene deposits capping fluvial terraces in the Bistrita valley (Eastern Carpathians, Romania) host a high density of Upper Palaeolithic (UP) settlements, rendering this area a type-region for Late Pleistocene cultural evolution in eastern Romania and beyond. Despite its archaeological significance, site formation, palaeoenvironmental contextualisation and chronostratigraphy are still insufficiently resolved to draw a consistent picture of UP cultural dynamics. In the frame of recent excavations at the sites Bistricioara-Lutărie I and III (BLI, BLIII), we aimed at establishing a comprehensive multi-method (TL on heated flints, OSL on sedimentary quartz, radiocarbon dating of charcoal) chronology of the pluristratified archaeological records contained in the loess-like sediments on the lower and middle terraces of the Bistrița river. Therefore, new chronometric data are reviewed in conjunction with OSL ages and radiocarbon dates of a precursor study (Trandafir et al., 2015).

Multi-emission TL ages of four heated flints, OSL sediment ages and radiocarbon dates are consistent within 2σ throughout the investigated archaeological profiles and allow a much more precise chronological framing of the identified lithostratigraphic units within the last glacial cycle. However, the silt-sized and sand-sized quartz fractions of a luminescence sample do not always produce identical results at 1σ. Numerical ages and field observations indicate that the geological record reaches back to Marine Isotope Stage 5 and is preserved on a lower terrace. Depending on their location, the investigated terrace cover beds represent genetically independent geomorphological units, and up to three palaeosols (cambisols) developed in the cover beds, of which at this stage of research only the youngest (PS1) can be traced unequivocally within all profiles. In archaeological terms, the new chronological framing confirms that the currently identified cultural layers belong to the Late Gravettian (28–25 ka BP), and to several Epigravettian stages (24–15 ka BP), leaving limited chronological space for the previously suspected Aurignacian presence at BLI and at other settlements nearby.

Resources

url https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quageo.2019.101020 Accessed 8 times | Last updated 16.01.2020

Bibliography

Schmidt, C., Anghelinu, M., Hambach, U., Veres, D., Lehmkuhl, F. (2018): Reassessing the timeframe of Upper Palaeolithic deposits in the Ceahlău Basin (Eastern Carpathians, Romania): Geochronological and archaeological implications. – In: Quaternary Geochronology, Vol. 55, DOI: 10.1016/j.quageo.2019.101020

Authors Schmidt, Christian and Anghelinu, Mircea and Hambach, Ulrich and Veres, Daniel and Lehmkuhl, Frank
Type article
Title Reassessing the timeframe of Upper Palaeolithic deposits in the Ceahlău Basin (Eastern Carpathians, Romania): Geochronological and archaeological implications
DOI 10.1016/j.quageo.2019.101020
Journal Quaternary Geochronology
Year 2018
Volume 55
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