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The Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition in Hohlenstein-Stadel cave (Swabian Jura, Germany): A comparison between ESR, U-series and radiocarbon dating

Abstract : The Swabian Jura is a key region for the early Aurignacian. Sites such as Geißenklösterle, Hohle Fels, Vogelherd and Hohlenstein-Stadel have produced the earliest evidence of figurative and musical art, such as ivory figurines and flutes made of bone and ivory, attributed to Homo sapiens. To date, radiocarbon (14 C) and thermoluminescence dating have been applied in the region, providing a precise chronology for the Upper Palaeolithic levels, especially the Aurignacian. At Hohlenstein-Stadel, Upper and late Middle Palaeolithic levels were dated using 14 C. This study focuses on the chronology of the Middle Palaeolithic levels of this site using electron spin resonance (ESR) on herbivorous tooth enamel, in order to constrain the timing of the earliest human occupation at the cave, attributed to Neanderthals. An age was also obtained for the early Aurignacian level, allowing a comparison with available 14 C ages. Furthermore, U-series dating was applied to three samples from a flowstone located at the base of the sequence, in order to provide a maximum age (terminus post quem) for the beginning of human occupation at the cave. ESR results obtained on the Middle Palaeolithic levels ranged from 40 ± 5 ka to 35 ± 3 ka (weighted mean ages), suggesting that these levels were deposited during a short period of time. The early Aurignacian level (Geological Horizon, GH, Au) was dated by ESR to 34 ± 11 ka, in agreement with previously published 14 C dates, despite a large error range due to the heterogeneity of the sedimentological environment. The flowstone overlying the oldest deposit at the base of the stratigraphy was dated to between 351 ± 10 ka (MIS 10-9) and 229 ± 10 ka (MIS 7), providing a maximum age for the deposits. These new chronological data confirm that Neanderthals occupied Hohlenstein-Stadel during MIS 3. Radiocarbon ages suggest that the replacement of Neanderthals by Homo sapiens occurred during a brief period of time, probably before or during Heinrich Stadial 4 (around 40-38 ka).
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https://hal-cnrs.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02995545
Contributor : Christophe FALGUERES Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 3:46:50 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, October 16, 2022 - 3:24:38 AM

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M Richard, C Falguères, E Pons-Branchu, D Richter, T Beutelspacher, et al.. The Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition in Hohlenstein-Stadel cave (Swabian Jura, Germany): A comparison between ESR, U-series and radiocarbon dating. Quaternary International, 2020, 556, pp.49 - 57. ⟨10.1016/j.quaint.2019.04.009⟩. ⟨hal-02995545⟩

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