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New ESR and U-series dating at Caune de l'Arago, France: A key-site for European Middle Pleistocene

Abstract : The Caune de l'Arago, located at Tautavel in the southern part of France, is one of the best documented Middle Pleistocene sites allowing a good understanding of human evolution in Europe. Since its discovery in 1829, the cave yielded more than 140 human remains associated with abundant lithic industries and thousands of faunal remains in a 10 m thick stratigraphical sequence divided in three complexes (Lumley et al., 2014). The Lower stratigraphic complex is only known from cores while the Middle and Upper ones can be divided into about 17 main archaeological levels indexed from the bottom to the top: from level Q to level A. Since 1981, a number of dates were done using practically all the methods available for dating Quaternary period up to 700 ka. U-series dates performed on the upper stalagmitic floor yielded a minimum age of 400 ka for human remains found in the underneath level G (Falgu eres et al., 2004). This age range confirmed the direct non-destructive gamma-ray age published more than 30 years before (Yokoyama and Nguyen, 1981). Recently, a methodological work was published on herbivorous teeth coming from different parts of the G level highlighting the difficulties to get reliable radiometric dates on a level so rich in bones and partly weathered by guano deposits or issues associated with carbonate accumulation (Han et al., 2010). This study presents new ESR/U-Series dates obtained on herbivorous teeth coming from the lowest excavated layers (QeP levels) which yield an age range for the entire thick archaeological infilling. The new results suggest that the sedimentological levels containing lithic and faunal artefacts began to be deposited at 550 ka in the PeQ levels and a younger age of 350e400 ka for the F level. The PeQ levels which have yielded bifaces are one of the oldest evidence of the Acheulian culture in the southern part of Western Europe while the dates obtained on G level suggest a contemporaneity with la Sima de los Huesos and TD10 Dolina level at Atapuerca.
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Contributor : Christophe FALGUERES Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 2:03:28 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, October 16, 2022 - 3:15:51 AM




C Falguères, Q Shao, F Han, J J Bahain, M Richard, et al.. New ESR and U-series dating at Caune de l'Arago, France: A key-site for European Middle Pleistocene. Quaternary Geochronology, 2015, 30, pp.547 - 553. ⟨10.1016/j.quageo.2015.02.006⟩. ⟨hal-03739357⟩



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