New radiometric ages for the Early Upper Palaeolithic type locality of Brno-Bohunice (Czech Republic): comparison of OSL, IRSL, TL and 14C dating results
ABSTRACT New radiometric data are reported from the recent excavation of the type locality of the Early Upper Palaeolithic entity of the Bohunician. Recently obtained radiocarbon (14C) data on charcoal are compared with new Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating of sediment. OSL ages were determined on sediment from the archaeological occupation at Brno-Bohunice, as well as from the over- and underlying loessic sediments. Multiple techniques were applied, which all gave congruent results. While a dual protocol (post IR-OSL) failed the quality criteria tests, ages were obtained by Multiple-Aliquot-Additive-Dose (MAAD) on polymineral material and Single-Aliquot-Regeneration (SAR) on fine grain quartz extract as well as on polymineral material. Fading tests show significant loss of Infrared Stimulated Luminescence (IRSL) after storage for 3 and 12 months for one sample, but little or no fading for others. The resulting (uncorrected) age estimates are smaller than those on quartz by OSL methods. The latter are considered to be more reliable estimates of the sedimentation age of these deposits. The measured OSL doses do not show a simple distribution and the lowest 5% was used for age calculation to represent the most likely sedimentation age. The quartz from the loess overlying the archaeological layer is OSL dated to 30.9 ± 3.1 ka, while the sediment for the paleosol which contains the archaeological layer gave an age of 58.7 ± 5.8 ka. The attribution of this paleosol to the Hengelo interstadial is therefore questionable. However, if the Hengelo interstadial is correlated with the Dansgaard/Oeschger (D/O) event 12, statistical agreement within 2-σ is achieved. The OSL result for the archaeological layer is in accordance with a weighted average TL date on heated flint artifacts of 48.2 ± 1.9 ka from this layer as well as calibrated radiocarbon data (CalPal Hulu 2007) from nearby locations. However, radiocarbon data on charcoal samples obtained during excavation at Brno-Bohunice 2002 provide age estimates between 30 and 40 ka 14C-years, which translate to approximately (33) 35–44 ka on the calendric time scale according to the Hulu 2007 model. For the underlying loess a depositional age of 104.3 ± 10.6 ka was obtained by OSL. The presented OSL ages indicate that a simple correlation of soil sequences between sites within a region has to be verified by chronometric dating.
New radiometric ages for the Early Upper Palaeolithic type locality
of Brno-Bohunice (Czech Republic): comparison of OSL, IRSL, TL
and14C dating results
D. Richtera,*, G. Tostevinb, P. Sˇkrdlac, W. Daviesd
aMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Human Evolution, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
bDepartment of Anthropology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA
cInstitute of Archaeology, Brno, Czech Republic
dDepartment of Archaeology, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
a r t i c l e i n f o
Received 22 August 2008
Received in revised form
22 October 2008
Accepted 24 October 2008
Early Upper Palaeolithic
a b s t r a c t
New radiometric data are reported from the recent excavation of the type locality of the Early Upper
Palaeolithic entity of the Bohunician. Recently obtained radiocarbon (14C) data on charcoal are compared
with new Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating of sediment. OSL ages were determined on
sediment from the archaeological occupation at Brno-Bohunice, as well as from the over- and underlying
loessic sediments. Multiple techniques were applied, which all gave congruent results. While a dual
protocol (post IR-OSL) failed the quality criteria tests, ages were obtained by Multiple-Aliquot-Additive-
Dose (MAAD) on polymineral material and Single-Aliquot-Regeneration (SAR) on fine grain quartz
extract as well as on polymineral material. Fading tests show significant loss of Infrared Stimulated
Luminescence (IRSL) after storage for 3 and 12 months for one sample, but little or no fading for others.
The resulting (uncorrected) age estimates are smaller than those on quartz by OSL methods. The latter
are considered to be more reliable estimates of the sedimentation age of these deposits. The measured
OSL doses do not show a simple distribution and the lowest 5% was used for age calculation to represent
the most likely sedimentation age. The quartz from the loess overlying the archaeological layer is OSL
dated to 30.9?3.1 ka, while the sediment for the paleosol which contains the archaeological layer gave
an age of 58.7 ?5.8 ka. The attribution of this paleosol to the Hengelo interstadial is therefore ques-
tionable. However, if the Hengelo interstadial is correlated with the Dansgaard/Oeschger (D/O) event 12,
statistical agreement within 2-s is achieved. The OSL result for the archaeological layer is in accordance
with a weighted average TL date on heated flint artifacts of 48.2 ?1.9 ka from this layer as well as
calibrated radiocarbon data (CalPal Hulu 2007) from nearby locations. However, radiocarbon data on
charcoal samples obtained during excavation at Brno-Bohunice 2002 provide age estimates between 30
and 40 ka
according to the Hulu 2007 model. For the underlying loess a depositional age of 104.3 ?10.6 ka was
obtained by OSL. The presented OSL ages indicate that a simple correlation of soil sequences between
sites within a region has to be verified by chronometric dating.
14C-years, which translate to approximately (33) 35–44 ka on the calendric time scale
? 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Any understanding of the evolutionary significance of the
cultural ‘transition’ from the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic or
the biological change from archaic to modern hominins requires
an improvement in the chronological resolution of Early Upper
Palaeolithic archaeological entities across Eurasia in Oxygen
Isotope Stage 3 (see e.g. Zilha ˜o and d’Errico, 2003; Jo ¨ris and Adler,
2008; Roebroeks, 2008). The present paper reports on a dating
project involving OSL, IRSL, and
published TL dating results (Richter et al., 2008), designed to refine
the chronological position of the Bohunician, a distinctive Early
Upper Palaeolithic entity of Central Europe, at the type locality of
Brno-Bohunice, Czech Republic. The presentation of these results
also represents an opportunity to discuss which14C age determi-
nations made for various localities on the Red Hill (?Cerven? y Kopec)
of Bohunice over the last thirty years have relevance to the
archaeological entity known as the Bohunician. Uncalibrated
radiocarbon data are here referred to in14C-years because of their
lack of dimension and BP is not added because of the implicit
14C methods, combined with
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ49 341 3550354.
E-mail address: email@example.com (D. Richter).
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Journal of Archaeological Science
journal homepage: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jas
0305-4403/$ – see front matter ? 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Journal of Archaeological Science 36 (2009) 708–720
convention that all radiocarbon data are related to 1950 (Stuiver
and Polach, 1977).
2. The Bohunician industrial type
The Bohunician was first described as an industrial type or
technocomplex found in southern Moravia, Czech Republic, con-
sisting of a Levallois-like core technology with a significant blade
component and Upper Palaeolithic tool types (Oliva, 1981, 1984;
Svoboda, 1980, 1987a, 1990). Initially, however, the type-collection
from Brno-Bohunice or Bohunice Kejbaly (a local field name),
located on the western margin of the city of Brno (Fig. 1), Moravia,
was defined by Valoch (1976) as a Szeletien de facies levallois, based
on Valoch’s emphasis of two artifactual characteristics in the type-
collection: 1) Levallois-like core reduction apparent in elongated
Levallois points, and 2) bifacial leaf points previously associated
with the Szeletian as defined by?Cervinka (1927) and Pros ˇek (1953).
These two characteristics were also found in large surface collec-
tions from other localities in southern Moravia (Svoboda, 1980,
1987a). Subsequentexcavation of stratified assemblages at Stra ´nska ´
ska ´la on the east side of the Brno Basin, however, produced
assemblages with the distinctive core reduction strategy but
lacking the leaf points of the type-site or the surface collections
(Svoboda, 1983, 1987a, 1991). The reliability of the context of the
Stra ´nska ´ ska ´la assemblages, as well as the lack of collection
protocols for the Brno-Bohunice type-collection (see below), led to
a redefinition of the Bohunician technology (Svoboda and Sˇkrdla,
1995) and a clearer division of the Early Upper Palaeolithic in the
region into two local technocomplexes, the Bohunician and the
Szeletian (Svoboda, 1983, 1984, 1987a). The Stra ´nska ´ ska ´la IIIa and
III refitspresented bySvoboda and Sˇkrdla (1995) demonstratedthat
Bohunician technology exhibits a fusion of Upper Paleolithic initi-
ation of the core with a crested blade, followed by often bidirec-
tional volumetric exploitation of the core volume for Levallois
points and blades, for which core residuals suggest discoidal or flat
cores, or the production of Upper Paleolithic blades on the narrow,
lateral edge of the flattened core. While several views exist on
Bohunician technology (Nerudova ´, 2001; Sˇkrdla, 2003b; Tostevin
and Sˇkrdla, 2006; Valoch, 2003, 2008), Svoboda and Sˇkrdla’s (1995)
definition currently has a wider acceptance in the field (Sitlivy and
Zi˛ eba, 2007, pp. 390–394).
The local Early Upper Palaeolithic technocomplexes are currently
recognized as chronologically successive on the radiocarbon time
scale but with significant overlap (see Svoboda et al., 1996, pp. 99–
130; Richter et al., 2008). The Szeletian, a technocomplex more
widely known throughout Central Europe and argued to be the
persistence of Micoquian tool types into an Upper Palaeolithic
context (Allsworth-Jones, 1986, 1990), appears only after 39 ka14C
(Valoch,1984,1993), but possibly lasting until 26 ka14C (Adams and
Ringer, 2004). The Bohunician in contrast is present in the region
between 41 and at least 33 ka14C (Svoboda and Bar-Yosef, 2003), or
between 47 ka (Zo ¨ller, 2000) and 180 ka (Bluszcz et al., 1994) by
older ranges of these TL results, specifically from Dzier_ zys1aw I in
southern Poland (Bluszcz et al.,1994), are unlikely to be correct and
the method of TL dating of sediments has been replaced by Infrared
and Optically Stimulated Luminescence (IRSL and OSL) dating
methods which do not suffer from some of the methodological
problems of TL, such as a large unbleachable component. More
recently an archaeological event of fire was directly dated at the site
of Bohunice to a weighted mean age of 48.2?1.9 ka by TL on 11
heated flintartifacts (Richteret al.,2008) obtained from therenewed
excavation in 2002 (Sˇkrdla and Tostevin, 2005).
Stratigraphically, Bohunician artifacts are found in two soils of
the Last Weichselian Interpleniglacial soil complex of Moravia
(Bar-Yosef and Svoboda, 2003; Damblon et al., 1996), but prob-
ably with no relation (Smolı ´kova ´, 1976) to Paleosol Complex I (PK
I) after Kukla et al. (1961). The occurrence of both Bohunician and
Szeletian industries in the same lower soil of the Last Inter-
pleniglacial complex, for instance the Bohunician at Stra ´nska ´
ska ´la III (Svoboda, 1987a, 2003a,b) and the Szeletian at Vedrovice
V (Valoch, 1993), is a strong claim for contemporaneity. Else-
where, the Bohunician is underlying, and thus older than, the
Szeletian, as at Dzier_ zys1aw I in southern Poland (Bluszcz et al.,
1994), which is also the most northerly example of the Bohu-
nician and outside of the Middle Danube proper. The Bohunician
has not yet been found in direct stratigraphic superposition over
the Middle Palaeolithic (MP) Micoquian in the region, as the
Bohunician is not found in cave sites where the MP is preserved.
The Bohuncian, however, underlays the first ‘classic’ Upper
Palaeolithic technocomplex, the Aurignacian, e.g. at Stra ´nska ´
ska ´la IIIa the Aurignacian is found within the upper portion of
the upper soil of the Interpleniglacial soil complex (Svoboda,
1991). While the stratigraphic positions of these industries
provide the backbone of the chronostratigraphy of the region, it
is evident that other dating approaches are needed in order to
verify the attribution of the soils to distinct climatic events and
especially their proposed contemporaneity at several sites.
As with the regional context, the inter-regional significance of
the Bohunician in the pattern of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic
transition across Eurasia also requires more direct radiometric data
and improvements in archaeological method and theory to answer
the questions raised by the Bohunician (Tostevin, 2006, 2007).
While thearchaeological arguments for the inter-regional origins of
the Bohunician are beyond the scope of the present paper, its
importance for the question of modern human origins can be
succinctly stated in the diversity of claims for the origins of the
Bohunician in Moravia (summarized in Richter et al., 2008) as
a product of anatomically modern humans (Mellars, 2006), by
implication of its local (East Central Europe) origin as a product of
Neanderthals (Zilha ˜o, 2006), as an entity of Near Eastern origin
(Valoch, 1976, 1982, 1986, 1990; Koz1owski, 2004; Sˇkrdla, 1996,
2003a,b; Tostevin, 2000, 2003a,b; Tostevin and Sˇkrdla, 2006;
Mellars, 2006), and of a western European origin (Nerudova ´, 2001).
3. The type-site of Brno-Bohunice
The initial type-collection from Brno-Bohunice, published by
Valoch (1976, 1982), was extracted from bulldozer trenches
according to stratigraphic location, in addition to a limited exca-
vation of less than 2 m2(Valoch, 1982, 2008), but no systematic
collection protocols for the three-dimensional positions of artifacts
were used and no sieving was done for the four localities of Kejbaly
I–IV. In 2002, a 3 m wide by 21 m long strip of intact sediments
adjacent to Kejbaly IV was excavated (Sˇkrdla and Tostevin, 2003,
2005; Tostevin and Sˇkrdla, 2006) and is referred to as Brno-
Bohunice 2002. This excavation resulted in a detailed study of the
artifact distribution within the paleosols and the application of
modern proveniencing and collection protocols to artifact recovery
(see McPherron and Dibble, 2002). These new data confirm the
presence of a single archaeological layer within the Lower Paleosol
and the association of characteristic products of Bohunician bladey-
levalloisian technology with the on-site production of leaf points
(Sˇkrdla and Tostevin, 2005). The stratigraphic section of the 2002
excavation also corroborates the stratigraphic picture seen at the
Stra ´nska ´ ska ´la localities. In general, the geology of the site is well
studied as it is directly adjacent to a classic Pleistocene geological
profile (Damblon et al., 1996): the modern soil covers a loess
stratum, which overlies two paleosols, the Upper and Lower Last
Interpleniglacial soils, with thicknesses of about 30 cm and 30–
50 cm in the main concentration (area A), respectively, above
D. Richter et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 36 (2009) 708–720709
a loess deposit. The sediments are bioturbated, as was previously
recognized by Valoch (2008), who additionally noted pebbles at the
base of the Lower Paleosol as evidence of sheet floods. This pebble
horizon was also recorded in the 2002 excavation (Sˇkrdla and
Tostevin, 2005). Micromorphological analysis is pending for the
2002 excavation, but micromorphology at the site of Bohunice II, or
Dru? zba (Fig. 1) showed the genetic identity of the autochthonous
soil (pseudogley with a trend towards ‘arctic’ brown soil) with the
substratum and a slight disturbance by periglacial conditions of the
heavily calcified sediment (Smolı ´kova ´, 1976). As the Bohunice II
(Dru? zba) site cluster is 600–800 m to the southwest of the Bohu-
nice Kejbaly site cluster and the few published artifacts (Valoch,
1974) are not diagnostic of the Bohunician in the view of the
present authors, both the lithic assemblage and Smolı ´kova ´’s anal-
ysis may represent an archaeologically, pedologically, and tapho-
nomically different context than the Kejbaly sites, including the
Brno-Bohunice 2002 excavation. Nevertheless, Smolı ´kova ´’s results
are an indication that the sedimentation of the deposits on the Red
Hill (?Cerven? y Kopec) was not as straightforward as it may appear
from macroscopic observations.
The vertical distribution of piece plotted artifacts (Fig. 2)
shows a small assemblage of non-diagnostic artifacts in the Upper
Paleosol (n ¼43) while the Lower Paleosol at Brno-Bohunice 2002
contains a single vertical distribution of a large number of
artifacts (n ¼3360) of about 30–50 cm spread. Such a vertical
distribution is a common phenomenon for sites in pedogenically
altered loessic sediments, but contrasts with Valoch’s (2008)
reported 5–10 cm spread of the artifact horizon in Kejbaly IV
(Fig.1). Artifacts in the 2002 assemblage do not show any damage
due to large scale movement, and frost broken pieces were always
found at distances below 10 cm apart. Only in one case is
a conjoin documented between an artifact attributed to the Upper
Paleosol with an artifact attributed to the Lower Paleosol (Sˇkrdla
and Tostevin, 2005, p. 56). These two artifacts, however, were
excavated from the boundary of both paleosols and so the attri-
bution of one or both artifacts to a particular paleosol may be
problematic. All other production sequence refits (14 sequences,
some of which combined more than two items) and conjoins of
breaks (35 instances) were found solely within the Lower Paleo-
sol. This led to the interpretation of the site as the accumulation
from one occupation series, which created the observed palimp-
sest, by humans who produced the Bohunician assemblage with
a later very short visit by probably Upper Palaeolithic humans
who left only a few artifacts in that area. The occurrence of the
archaeological material within a soil also provides a relative age
estimate for the assemblage as either pre-dating the formation, or
being approximately contemporaneous if the soil developed
while sediment slowly accumulated.
Fig.1. Map showing the locations of the sites mentioned in the text: (1) Bohunice Red Hill sites: 1a–1d are the sites Kejbaly I–IV; 1e Brno-Bohunice 2002; 1f quarry area for Cihelna/
Ziegelei/brickyard (shaded area open to E and with a dashed line to W); 1g Dru? zba (about 600–800 m to SW as indicate by arrow). (2) Stra ´nska ´ ska ´la sites.
D. Richter et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 36 (2009) 708–720 710
4. Typology of dating events
In the present effort to compare the OSL, IRSL,14C, and TL dating
results for one archaeological assemblage, a common theoretical
means of evaluating the relationship of results from different
dating techniques and the human behavior in question is profitable
(Dean, 1978; Dincauze, 2000). Dean’s typology of events in his
archaeological dating theory is particularly useful in avoiding the
misunderstanding and misreading of dating results. This ‘typology
of events’ is closely related to the association and contamination
arguments of Waterbolk (1971) which are more specifically
oriented towards radiocarbon data.
Dean presents a number of defined concepts but three are of
most relevance here: 1) The target event is the anthropological
event of interest, such as the human occupation of a site or the
flintknapping of an assemblage of stone tools. 2) The dated event is
the event which is actually dated by the chronometric dating
method in question, such as the time of death of a tree in14C-dating
of charcoal. 3) The reference and bridging events (here we combine
two of Dean’s types) constitute the contextual argument that unites
the dated event with the target event or in other words, why does
the thing dated have anything to do with the human behavior in
question? In the following brief discussion of how target event,
dated event, and bridging argument work for each of the dating
methods used here, we focus on the bridging arguments rather than
the internal assumptions of the dating mechanism.
4.1. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal
The dated event in radiocarbon dating is the time of the death of
an organism, which relates to the cessation of carbon uptake of the
organism. Inherent to the method of radiocarbon dating (and thus
the dated event) is the problem of the fluctuation in atmospheric
radiocarbon (e.g. Kitagawaand van der Plicht,1998), whichrequires
radiocarbon ages to be given in14C-years rather than the calendric
time scale of, for instance, luminescence methods. It should also be
mentioned that there is a number of radiocarbon records which
indicate the possible presence of extreme and complex variation of
radiocarbon levels before 30 ka (e.g. Voelker et al., 2000; Beck et al.,
2001; Hughen et al., 2004). If correct, radiocarbon data thus could
Radiocarbon data for charcoal from all Bohunician sites: First panel Stra ´nska ´ ska ´la Hill sites; second panel Bohunice Red Hill sites of Cihelna and Kejbaly, where Cihelna,
Ziegelei, and brickyard quarry all denominate the same general locality where samples were collected during quarrying activities over several decades; third panel Brno-
Bohunice 2002 which is adjacent to the Kejbaly sites (see also Fig.1). Data from this table were used for Fig. 3, except infinite and non-Bohunician ages, as well as charcoal not
associated with a Bohunician industry (marked?). (*More likely to be Larix sp.; **more likely to be Picea sp. Although the condition of the charcoal was such that the Picea
(spruce) and Larix (larch) could not often be distinguished with certainty, the frequent ‘‘rarity of biseriate bordered pits is indicative of Picea’’ – Challinor, pers. comm., 2007;
Ward, pers. comm., 2005.).
Age LocationLayer Square ID; Interpleniglacial soil SpeciesLab-number
Stra ´nska ´ ska ´la Hill sites
Redep. lower soil
Redep. lower soil
Svoboda and Sima ´n, 1989
Svoboda and Sima ´n, 1989
Bohunice Red Hill sites
Lower soil; no artifacts associated
Area A; C1-3; upper paleosol
Area C; E11-3; lower paleosol
Area D; D2-76; lower paleosol
Area A; D4-53; lower paleosol
Area A; C4-64; lower paleosol
Area A; C3-31; lower paleosol
Area A; E3-43; lower paleosol
Area A; C4-48; lower paleosol
Area A; D2-50; lower paleosol
Area A; D2-76; lower paleosol
Area A; D2-77; lower paleosol
Sˇkrdla and Tostevin, 2005
Sˇkrdla and Tostevin, 2005
Richter et al., 2008
aThe designation ‘a’ to layer ‘4’ was added by Svoboda (1987b) and subsequently ‘4a’ was used to indicate the Lower Paleosol at Bohunice by other authors (e.g. Svoboda,
1993 designated all data from Bohunice to 4a) and excavators. This designation should not be understood as a subdivision of a particular layer.
bSamples of charcoal pieces (one in the case of the Oxford laboratory, and an unknown number for the ANU lab) were obtained from the identical sampled charcoal
concentration, which was believed to originate from one charcoal piece and sampled from a charcoal concentration of maximum diameter of 5 cm.
D. Richter et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 36 (2009) 708–720711
underestimate the ‘true’ age by 5–9 ka in the lower range of the
method. Other estimates quote a range of even 10–15 ka (Giaccio
et al., 2006). In any case, radiocarbon data beyond 30 ka have to be
viewed with caution and cannot be regarded as always reliable (e.g.
Aitken, 1990; Gamble et al., 2005). But probably even more
important is the lack of a commonly agreed procedure on the
calibration of radiocarbon ages in order to convert the dimen-
sionless radiocarbon data to calendric units which are fundamen-
tally needed for any interpretation of processes in archaeology.
Apart from the difficulty of comparing radiocarbon with chrono-
metric dating results obtained by other methods, any model for
human behavior based on uncalibrated radiocarbon data is flawed
by the conventional use (Stuiver and Polach,1977) of the Libby half-
life of 5568 a to calculate ages, instead the more recently accepted
5730 a. This leads to an underestimation of, for instance, approxi-
mately 1.1 ka at 40 ka on the calendric time scale, a value which is
larger than uncertainties provided for some AMS radiocarbon data.
Here we use the calibration software CalPal, employing the Hulu
2007 calibration curve as one possibility of converting radiocarbon
data to a linear time scale (Weninger et al., 2007; Weninger and
Jo ¨ris, 2008). Comparison of this calibration curvewith the proposed
Hulu based Cariaco data set (Hughen et al., 2006) resulted in
discrepancies smaller than the uncertainties quoted for the radio-
carbon data. When such an approach is used, it has to be kept in
mind that the original radiocarbon data always should be reported
(Table 1) in order toallow the calibrationwith future improveddata
sets. This is analogous to the history of the dendrochronological
calibration approach, which received its last major revision in 2004
for IntCal04 (Friedrich et al., 2004). A problem which will not be
solved, however, even with a commonly agreed upon calibration
procedure, is the presence of plateaus in the calibration record,
which lead to difficulties in the interpretation of dates.
Also inherent to the method of radiocarbon dating is the
problem of contamination in the dated sample, where a very small
amount of more recent carbon can lead to erroneous ages (e.g.
Aitken, 1990) and infinite radiocarbon ages can therefore become
finite. It is virtually impossible to prove the absence of contami-
nation and great efforts (e.g. ultrafiltration for bone samples Brown
et al., 1988, but also see (Hu ¨ls et al., 2007); or ABOX treatment for
charcoal (Bird et al., 1999)) are undertaken to include only those
parts of samples in the measurement procedure, which relatetothe
original carbon of the organism, and not a later contaminant (being
younger or older), or the sample being a mixture of organisms,
which might have ceased to exist at different times. Charcoal
notably takes up humic acids (e.g. Scharpenseel and Schiffman,
1977) which usually percolate down through the sediment column
and thereforebring inyoungercarbonintothe sample, thus causing
an apparently too young age. However, the opposite can also apply
(e.g. Richter et al., in press). It is therefore important to physically
and chemically separate out any contaminants. It must be stressed
that contamination is part of the bridging argument in radiocarbon
dating, i.e., the association argument between the anthropological
question and what is dated (i.e., carbon), rather than the dated event
as with dosimetric issues in luminescence methods.
Bridging assumptions are more difficult for radiocarbon dating
than luminescence techniques since the origin of the sample is
rarely clearly demonstrable as anthropogenic, except for charcoal
found in a distinct hearth feature. The target event is thus often less
closely related to the dated event in such circumstances. For
instance, charcoal fragments are highly mobile in sediments and
similar mechanisms of movement as described below for sediment
grains in luminescence dating apply here as well. Syn- and non-
syndepositional charcoal can be generated by natural fires. But
a syndepositional incorporation of charcoal froma context different
in age (natural or human) is also possible in certain sedimentolog-
ical environments. In comparison with hearth fires, natural fires
should produce a less concentrated spatial distribution. However,
the burning of tree stumps with roots penetrating the archaeolog-
human and other (postdepositional) activities might lead to
Fig. 2. Projection of the vertical distribution a) for area A and b) for areas C and D of lithic material. Open triangles represent lithics attributed to the Upper Paleosol and closed
circles represent lithics attributed to the Lower Paleosol. Refits and conjoins are indicated by lines. Open squares with numbers indicate the positions of radiocarbon samples where
the number refers to the last two digits of the laboratory number given in Table 1. Open squares with capital letters indicate the positions of the OSL samples, with A for the sample
from the overlying loess (UL), B from the archaeological deposit (Lower Paleosol, LP) and C from the underlying loess (LL). Z-axis refers to an arbitrary level.
D. Richter et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 36 (2009) 708–720712
a horizontal scattering of a formerly discrete patch of charcoal from
a fireplace, syndepositional concentrations of charcoal can also
important to sample material which is most likely in situ, which
translates tolargepieces for which the species can be identified and
verified that it belongs to the appropriate palaeoclimatological
charcoal from roots reflects the age of a post-sedimentation
organism (often related to a soil formation at that level or above),
whereas other large pieces originate from fallen (or chopped) trees
and are therefore pre-sedimentological. Only the latter is therefore
directly related to the target event.
The above discussion provides an a priori framework for
addressing the relationship between the different dating results
reported in this paper for the human behavior captured by the
archaeological record at Brno-Bohunice. It is within the above
framework that the anthropological question is posed, which is in
most cases ‘‘when did the occupation take place?’’ The association
of each sample’s dated event and the anthropologically relevant
target event has to be established through the evaluation of the
bridging arguments in order to interpret the dating results for the
purpose of reconstructing the prehistorical activities or the palae-
oenvironment (Dean, 1978). In many cases the age differences are
insignificant with respect to the resolution of the chronometric
method used. Nevertheless, the relationships between target event,
dated event, and bridging arguments have to be discussed and
shown in each individual case.
4.2. OSL and IRSL dating of sediment
The actual physical event determined by luminescence dating
methods for sediment grains is their last exposure to light. This is
thus the dated event. While in principle in luminescence sediment
dating the time of the original sedimentation is equivalent to the
dated event, the influence of sediment grains which have been
moved up and down the sediment column has to be taken into
consideration. The dated event, i.e., last exposure to light, is not
necessarily identical for all sediment grains sampled and used for
dating. This is especially true for bio- and cryoturbated sediments,
slope washed sediments (which in itself is datable in principle; see
e.g. Lang,1994), soil formatted sediments, and trampled sediments,
most of which are indicated for the sediment containing the
incorporation of older sediments by sheet floods (Sˇkrdla and Tos-
formation and leads to a mixing of sediment grains with different
light exposure ages. It is therefore, contrary to Valoch (2008), open
for discussion if luminescence ages of soil sediments represent the
sediment formation or the possibly more recent event of soil
formation, bioturbation, or, morelikely, a combination of the above.
The reference/bridging event/argument of luminescence dating of
to light since the target event (i.e., the human occupation) and an
assumption of a temporal association between the human occupa-
tion and the sedimentation which shields the sampled grains from
light. However, in most cases, luminescence dating of sediment
provides ante and post quem age estimates for the target event
a sedimentation which is thick enough to get sampled.
4.3. TL dating of heated material
The dated event in thermoluminescence dating of heated
material like flint is the time of the last exposure of the stone to fire.
The target event here is the discard of the stone artifact and the
bridging argument is the temporal association between the last
heating of the artifact and its discard. Unlike with the OSL and IRSL
techniques, TL dating has the advantage of an almost assured
association between the dated event and the target event through
the human agency involved in the firing of the artifact. The argu-
ment for the bridging in TL dating is thus more straightforward. For
while natural fires are common, they are not capable in most cases
of heating a large volume of rock to such an extent that the entire
piece has experienced temperatures above 400?C as required for
zeroing of TL. Even roots and tree stumps do not produce temper-
atures high enough to severely burn material located in the ground,
except in the very immediate vicinity (Whelan, 1995). Tempera-
tures from grass fires are too low and in any case the expectation
would be to find a lot of burnt rocks, charcoal and burnt sediment
distributed over a large area, in contrast to localized prehistoric
fires and/or sparse occurrence of heated material as a result of such
hearths (see e.g. Alperson-Afil et al., 2007). It is therefore a valid
assumption for most Palaeolithic sites to associate the heated flint
samples directly to the creation of a fire by prehistoric humans.
Thus, while TL dating shares many of the methodological issues
involved with OSL and IRSL dating, i.e., the requirement for
appropriate assumptions of dose rate parameters like sediment
moisture levels or the constancy of the g-dose rate (Richter, 2007),
the bridging argument uniting the dated event with the anthropo-
logical target event is more secure for TL dating of heated artifacts
than for the other luminescence techniques.
5. Chronometric ages for the sites at Brno-Bohunice
Three different dating methods were employed on different
materials from the site cluster of Bohunice: Radiocarbon (14C)
dating of charcoal, Thermoluminescence (TL) dating of sediment
and heated flint and Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL and
IRSL) dating of sediment.
5.1. Radiocarbon dating
A detailed account and discussion of previous attempts to
establish ages for the archaeological occupation(s) at Brno-
Bohunice Red Hill is given in Richter et al., (2008). Table 1 and the
following discussion provide new radiocarbon data on charcoal
samples from the Lower Paleosol and the Upper Paleosol of the
Brno-Bohunice 2002 locality. Additional data on samples from the
Kejbaly site cluster, which are believed to belong to the same serial
occupation (Richter et al., 2008) as the Brno-Bohunice 2002
assemblage, are provided by Valoch (2008). However, the lack of
systematic documentation at the time of sample collections makes
it difficult to evaluate the association and ‘in situ’ nature of the
charcoal lenses sampled. Valoch (2008) also provides three samples
from the Cihelna locality, i.e., the quarry wall which ranged from
0 m to ca. 50 m to the east of the Kejbaly localities over the last
thirty years of quarrying. While Valoch (2008, p. 226) notes that
artifacts were found with these charcoal samples from the Cihelna
quarry locality, their association with Bohunician artefacts cannot
be unambiguously established. The two other Cihelna charcoal
samples published previously derive from the Lower Paleosol but
without accompanying artifacts.
All radiocarbon ages for all the sites at Bohunice were obtained
on charcoal. Radiocarbon samples from the Brno-Bohunice 2002
excavation are well provenanced and originate from charcoal
concentrations within the Lower Paleosol which were interpreted
in the field as pedogenically altered hearths. Larger charcoals from
these concentrations were sampled in a maximum radius of 5 cm
together with surrounding sediment. The actual samples for
radiocarbon dating were then obtained in the laboratory by sieving
and flotation, which was followed by additional cleaning in the
laboratories and therefore no sediment was included in the
D. Richter et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 36 (2009) 708–720 713
analysis. For ages from the Oxford laboratory species were identi-
fied and the largest piece of charcoal was prepared for radiocarbon
dating. The sample at the Waikato laboratory consisted of several
pieces which appeared to originate from a single piece which broke
up and probably one fragment only was used to obtain the age
(F. Petchey and A. Hogg, pers. comm.). For the samples at ANU, it is
not possible to reconstruct whether one or several pieces of char-
coal were actually analyzed. The samples submitted, however, had
each the appearance of a single piece of charcoal which broke into
pieces during excavation and handling. The resulting ages for all14C
determinations on charcoal from Brno-Bohunice 2002 range from
33 to 40 ka14C, which is similar to the range for the only other
radiocarbon dated Bohunician assemblages at Stra ´nska ´ ska ´la of 34–
41 ka14C, indicating that the age of the archaeological layer is
probably at the limits of the radiocarbon method (Richter et al.,
2008). It should be pointed out that 6 out of 14 radiocarbon dates
from the Bohunician assemblages at Stra ´nska ´ ska ´la (Table 1) were
obtained from the IIIc site, where a thin, undiagnostic Early Upper
Paleolithic occupation was found above the Bohunician, which is
a similar situation to Brno-Bohunice 2002 with its undiagnostic
Upper Paleosol assemblage. It could therefore be argued that the
young radiocarbon data originate from later human occupations at
this site, a scenario which is neither refutable, nor distinguishable
from a later natural source of the charcoal. However, given the low
number of artifacts from such later assemblages, they are not
expected to relate to occupations long enough to consistently
produce such large amounts of charcoal (especially at Brno-Bohu-
nice 2002). One radiocarbon sample from Brno-Bohunice 2002
gave an infinite age estimate and suggests an age older then 40 ka
14C (Table 1). This is in accordance with ages obtained by Valoch
(2008) on samples from both the Cihelna and Kejbaly I localities,
which gave a remarkably tightly clustered set of six AMS samples
between 41 and 44 ka14C. But the relation of the samples to an
identical event which created a charcoal lens (Valoch, 2008;
sample 2) can be questioned for the set of OxA-14846 to OxA-
14848. The data are in themselves not coherent, which would not
be expected from a single event, even if contaminationwould be an
issue. However, the entire data set from Valoch (2008) is in good
agreement with radiocarbon data obtained previously (except
sample GrN-16920) by beta counting of charcoal at Kejbaly I, II, and
Cihelna (Fig. 1), giving ages between 40 and 43 ka14C (Table 1). If
these data sets are calibrated with the CalPal Hulu 2007 model, the
overall picture of the distributions remains approximately the
same, but ages shift towards values a few ka older (see below).
5.2. Thermoluminescence dating
Because the temporal relationship of the dated charcoal and
the human occupation cannot be shown without ambiguity,
thermoluminescence (TL) dating was carried out on heated flint
artifacts from the 2002 excavation. Only a part of the assemblage
shows traces of fire, thus making it highly unlikely that a natural
fire had caused their heating. Furthermore, no indications for an
extensive fire were found in the sediments. The spread in TL ages
of artefacts from Brno-Bohunice 2002 is low and the data are
normally distributed (Richter et al., 2008). This indicates that the
fire event/events took place within a very short period of time,
much shorter than the precision of the method, which is in
accordance with the archaeological observation of production
sequence refits within the Lower Paleosol. The weighted average
result on 11 samples of 48.2 ?1.9 ka provides a good estimate of
the human occupation of the site because of the unambiguous
relationship between the heating of the artifacts (the dated event)
and the human activity (the target event) (Richter et al., 2008). A
sedimentation age of 47.3 ?7.3 ka for the Lower Paleosol was
obtained by Zo ¨ller (2000) from the stratigraphy of the Cihelna
locality, which can safely be assumed to be comparable to the
2002 excavation. The TL age, comparing well with the TL results
on heated flint, was obtained on polymineral material (Zo ¨ller,
2000) with the ‘partial bleach longest plateau’ technique (Mej-
dahl, 1988). However, the validity of the method used has to be
questioned and TL dating of sediment is no longer considered to
be the method of choice (as it was at the time of sampling by
Zo ¨ller) for establishing the age of deposits.
5.3. OSL dating
In order to provide a chronometric framework for the stratig-
raphy at Brno-Bohunice 2002, OSL dating was attempted on
sediment from the archaeological layer itself, as well as of the
loessic deposits above and below (Fig. 2 and Suppl. Fig. 4). A more
detailed account of establishing the sedimentation ages at Brno-
Bohunice 2002 by luminescence methods is given in the supple-
mentary to this paper in order to place the new data presented
here in context. Four different techniques of luminescence dating
of the deposits were attempted at Brno-Bohunice 2002 (Suppl.
A Multiple-Aliquot-Additive-Dose (MAAD) on polymineral fine
grain material provided satisfactory results (Suppl. Table 4). Only
sample EVA-LUM-06/20 showed significant fading and has to
be regarded as unreliable and considered a minimum age (see
Supplementary data), whereas the other results should repre-
sent the last exposure to light of the sediment grains analyzed.
The resulting IRSL-MAAD ages for sample EVA-LUM-06/19 fromthe
covering loess was calculated to 27.8 ?3.3 ka. The sample from the
archaeological layer within the Lower Paleosol gave 58.2?9.9 ka
(EVA-LUM-06/20 uncorrected for fading) and the underlying loess
deposit 112.6?12.9 ka (EVA-LUM-06/21).
Analysis of the polymineral fine grain material by Single-
Aliquot-Regeneration (SAR) IRSL analysis of feldspar (Suppl.
Table 5) provided only results for lowered quality criteria for the
sample above the archaeological horizon
giving an age of 27.7?3.4 ka for the last bleaching of this sample.
IRSL-SAR analysis of the sample from the archaeological layer
(EVA-LUM-07/07) resulted in an age of 58.0 ?9.8 ka while for the
lowermost sample (EVA-LUM-07/08) 117.5?13.2 ka was obtained.
However, this data set has to be regarded as unreliable because of
its failure to meet an important quality criteria check (see
Supplement for details).
A Double-Single-Aliquot-Regeneration (D-SAR) protocol on
polymineral fine grain material was abandoned because the
samples did notmeet qualitycriteria during testing.Feldsparcan be
also stimulated with green (blue) light (e.g. Duller, 1997) which
sheds doubt on the applicability of the double SAR protocol and is
likely the cause for the observed failure.
The most reliable data were obtained by Single-Aliquot-
Regeneration (SAR) OSL analysis of fine grain quartz extract
(Supplement Table 6). Disturbances by bioturbation, trampling, soil
formation, etc. are expected for the sample from the archaeological
horizon, but not for the one below, as it appeared to be pure loess. It
is not possible to decide which one of the various palaeodose
populations (Supplement Fig. 8b) might reflect the sedimentation
age for sample EVA-LUM-07/02, not to mention how such a sedi-
mentation age is related to the deposition of the artifacts. The
resulting OSL dating of fine grain quartz gave 30.9?3.1 ka for the
loess sample EVA-LUM-07/01 located above the archaeological
horizon, which itself provided an age of 58.7?5.8 ka (EVA-LUM-
07/02). The lowest sample gave an estimate of 104.3?10 ka (EVA-
LUM-07/03). The equivalent dose distributions (Suppl. Fig. 8)
display a complex pattern. This is unusual for fine grain quartz and
it can be speculated, that the severe chemical treatment might be at
least partially responsible. Due to the lack of coarse grain material
D. Richter et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 36 (2009) 708–720 714
no single grain or small aliquot measurements were possible,
which would have provided more insight into the properties of the
6. Discussion of the new chronometric data for
The new dating results for Brno-Bohunice are discussed within
the framework of the typology of events as described by Dean
(1978) and placed in relation to the other data previously obtained
for the Brno-Bohunice site cluster (Richter et al., 2008; Valoch,
1976, 2008; Tostevin and Sˇkrdla, 2006; Svoboda et al., 1994;
Switsur, 1976; Mook, 1976).
6.1. Radiocarbon data
Radiocarbon ages around 40 ka have to be considered to be at
the limits of the radiocarbon method, especially in the light of
one infinite age as is the case for Brno-Bohunice 2002. The
discrepancy in ages from well provenanced samples of Brno-
Bohunice 2002 (with OxA-18301 as an exception) and those from
less well defined contexts at the other Kejbaly and Cihelna
localities on Red Hill is not easily explained. Bias by laboratories
can be ruled out because some of the new data presented here, as
well as the dates from Valoch (2008), were measured in the same
laboratory with identical sampling and pretreatment procedures.
The ABOX treatment (Bird et al., 1999) was not possible for any of
the samples presented here because of their small sizes. Two
samples giving finite ages were dated at a different laboratory
(ANU) and show a tendency towards younger ages. In addition,
radiocarbon age estimates were obtained from charcoal pieces
from the same sample (ANU-27214 and OxA-18299). The
resulting ages are significantly different, which could be either
due to differences in laboratory treatments, or the charcoal
pieces dated were spatially closely related, but actually did not
originate from an identical tree. Given the mobility of charcoal
this cannot be entirely ruled out and different dated events might
have been measured here; however, it can neither be determined
which of these dates are correct, nor if dated events or laboratory
pretreatment procedures are the source of this difference.
However, it is unlikely that 2 entirely different events are
sampled in a 5 cm spot, and therefore sample treatment is the
more likely reason.
It has to be noted that the discrepancy between the laboratories
for this particular sample is smaller than the variance obtained for
several samples from the same context by the Oxford laboratory.
Questions about the reliability of radiocarbon dating in such
context have been raised earlier and significant discrepancies have
been observed for radiocarbon dating of bone (e.g. Krause et al.,
2007). In any case, the apparent older age for the data set from the
Kejbaly and Cihelna localities (Valoch, 2008) compared to the well
provenanced samples from Brno-Bohunice 2002 (Richter et al.,
2008; and herein) needs to be explained and the bridging argu-
ments investigated. While either data set could originate from
displaced charcoal accumulations on the slopes, being younger or
older, the one from Brno-Bohunice could originate from tree stump
burning(s), which were interpreted during excavation as pedo-
genically altered hearths, these being younger than the artifacts
and the charcoal from the other localities at Bohunice. This is less
arguable in the case of the Kejbaly and Cihelna localities, because
the samples originate from several localities, with only one radio-
carbon age being younger than the others (GrN-16920 which lacks
associated artifacts). Bioturbation and similar mechanisms could
explain the statistical tendency towards younger ages obtained in
comparison to the data from the older collections. Theoretically,
a localized contamination can be postulated but there are no
indications of this, particularly since this would result in less vari-
ation in ages than observed. In neither collection can the target
event be assumed to be identical to the dated event, i.e., no clear cut
association of human occupation and charcoal samples can be
firmly established. However, based solely on the archaeological
documentation it appears to be fair to assume a priori a likely
association to humanly lit fires for many of the samples from all
sites. No significant difference in lithic assemblages (except Bohu-
nice II Dru? zba) can be observed and the stratigraphic positions
appear to be identical for all the sites sampled for radiocarbon
dating. However, a significant time difference cannot be excluded
a priori either.
No systematic difference in ages can be deduced when taking
the wood species into consideration. All genera/taxa identified are
consistent with expectations of the local palaeoenvironment
within the timeframe of the pleniglacial. Both data sets contain
radiocarbon dates from the same species (Picea/Larix) providing
different ages, while the age estimates on other species (Pinus) do
not differ significantly or showany internal pattern, which could be
related to differences in use, site formation or palaeoenvironment.
The method of radiocarbon provides data on a non-linear time
scale, and in order to compare this data with other chronometric
dating methods, or even to other sites, it needs to be converted. The
following discussion is based on a conversion/calibration of radio-
carbon data using the CalPal Hulu 2007 data set for data given in
The calibrated data sets from Brno-Bohunice 2002 are very
similar to the one from Stra ´nska ´ ska ´la and provide an almost
identical age range between approximately 44 and 35 ka cal BP on
the calendric time scale for these Bohunician occupations (Fig. 3).
This is in contrast to the data set for the other localities of Bohunice
Kejbalyand Cihelnawhich indicatean agebetween 48 and 43 ka cal
BP. While there certainly is some room for contemporaneity, it
appears to be, solely based on radiocarbon data, more like
a succession of dates from the Bohunice localities representing
earlier occupation(s) followed by the ones from Brno-Bohunice
2002 and Stra ´nska ´ ska ´la. As a result the Bohunician could have
lasted from, or took place sometime between, approximately 48
and 35 ka cal BP. However, radiocarbon data from Brno-Bohunice
2002 are neither coherent with the TL data on heated flint from the
same excavation (Richter et al., 2008), nor with TL dating of sedi-
ment fromthe Cihelna location (Zo ¨ller, 2000), nor the new OSL data
presented here. Provided that the charcoal samples were obtained
from patches of unevenly distributed small charcoal pieces from
a slope which had experienced disturbances by, at least at the base
of the Lower Paleosol, sheet floods or similar processes, it has to be
suspected that post-occupational charcoal was washed into unde-
fined localized distributions between the vertical artifact distribu-
tion. This would imply that the younger radiocarbon ages are more
likely associated with the human occupation. However, there is no
sedimentological nor any evidence in the assemblage which would
indicate a long lasting sedimentological hiatus or heavy mixing at
the level of the artifact distributions. The single radiocarbon date
(OxA-18320) for one of the very few charcoals from the Upper
Paleosol is younger than any of the radiocarbon ages obtained for
samples from the Lower Paleosol (Table 1). Assuming that this
single date is actually associated with the occupation which has led
to the low density of undiagnostic artifacts in the Upper Paleosol, it
cannot be used as an argument for postdepositional intrusion of
charcoal in such numbers from this occupation into a lower level,
that it would dominate the radiocarbon data of the level of the
Bohunician. It would indeed provide a terminus post quem for the
Lower Paleosol if vertical movement could be ruled out. Alterna-
tively, one or more burnt tree stumps could have been sampled as
well, but this as a single origin of the charcoal would have produced
a morecoherent dataset thanindicated bythedates.
D. Richter et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 36 (2009) 708–720715
Contamination, however, is unlikely to be solely responsible,
because of the large spread in ages, which would not be expected
for a contamination in loess sediment. It appears to be most likely
that a mixture of humanly associated charcoal and charcoal from
post-occupational tree stump(s)/roots was sampled at Brno-
Bohunice 2002. In other words, because of the tenuous bridging
arguments for charcoal samples for this particular assemblage,
multiple dated events were recovered, producing an interpretive
gulf between them and the target event of the human occupation.
It has to be noted, that there appears to be a correlation of
the probability densities of calibrated radiocarbon data for data
from all Bohunician sites with Greenland Interstadials (GIS). For
Greenland Interstadials 12 to 8 there seems to be a correspond-
ing peak in radiocarbon probability for each interstadial, with an
apparent delay of approximately 1 ka. These peaks in probability
density are in principle clearly visible for the uncalibrated data
as well, and are thus not an artifact of calibration by the plateau
in the calibration curve at around 35 ka
might be explained by an offset in either time scale (CalPal Hulu
2007 or NGRIP) but the number of data points is too low to draw
any distinct conclusions. While this general pattern is probably
related to palaeoclimatology, which provided the conditions for
the growth of species large and numerous enough to provide
samples for radiocarbon dating, it could, in principle, also be
However, as discussed above there is serious doubt about the
association of charcoal with human occupation at the Brno-
Bohunice sites, which are considered as one large site cluster.
Additionally, such a large spread in radiocarbon data as observed
14C. The slight shift
for these sites is not consistent with the archaeological inter-
pretation of a rather limited time span and no evidence is
provided to support several occupation events occurring within
several millennia, as the radiocarbon data would imply. It is
more likely that the association of samples used for dating with
the human occupation is not given for all samples, which might
be the case for the Stra ´nska ´ ska ´la sites as well. In any case the
radiocarbon data could represent the palaeoclimate, indicating
when local climate conditions were sufficient for trees to grow
in larger numbers, which are of course the times when human
occupations are expected to have taken place. According to
calibrated radiocarbon data, and under the assumption that the
target event equals the dated event for all samples, the Bohu-
nician as a whole took place between Heinrich events (HE) 5 and
4 (Fig. 3), roughly between 46 and 38 ka cal BP. Furthermore,
assuming that only developed probability peaks are significant,
the distribution would end at the same time as the eruption
time of the Campanian Ignimbrite (CI or Y5) at 39.28 ?0.11 at
the 2-s level (De Vivo et al., 2001), which gives a time span of
39.17–39.39 ka (note that another set of
main eruption statistically indistinguishable at 41.1?2.1 ka;
39.0–43.2; Ton-That et al., 2001). This eruption is used as
a chronological marker at the time of ‘transition’ from the
Middle to Upper Paleolithic and as a source of potential clima-
tological stress on the environment (e.g. Anikovich et al., 2007;
Pyle et al., 2006; Giaccio et al., 2006). Taken at face value, this
data set would imply the ‘transitional’ industry of the Bohu-
nician to end more or less with the eruption, at a time when
palaeoclimatological data indicate harsh conditions. However,
40Ar/39Ar places the
cal BP (ka)
NGRIP [δ δ18O]
706865 6360 5855 5350 48 4543 40 383533 3028 25
Stránská Skála (n=12)
Brno-Bohunice 2002 (n=9)
Cihelna & Kejbaly (n=9)
7068 6563 6058 555350 4845 434038 3533 302825
Fig. 3. Probability densities of charcoal radiocarbon data (Table 1 except infinite, non-Bohunician or non-associated data marked?) from Cihelna and Kejbaly (n ¼9), Brno-Bohunice
2002 (n ¼9) and Stra ´nska ´ ska ´la (n ¼12) calibrated with CalPal Hulu 2007. Probability densities for calibrated data for all the above radiocarbon data for the Bohunician (n ¼ 30) are
provided as shaded area in each graph. The weighted average TL dating result of heated flint (Richter et al., 2008) and the OSL age on the quartz extract from Brno-Bohunice 2002
are given as bars representing 1-s (68.3% probability in lighter colour) and 2-s (95.5% probability in darker colour). As a reference the NGRIP d18O data are shown on the top with
Heinrich (HE) and Greenland Interstadials (GIS) events together with biostratigraphic divisions (after Rousseau et al., 2006) indicated for this record.
D. Richter et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 36 (2009) 708–720716
there are contradictions in other data sets (see below) and the
coherence of the radiocarbon data as a proxy for human pres-
ence has to be questioned, as discussed above.
6.2. OSL data
The results from all three successfully applied OSL protocols
agree for all layers each within 1-s uncertainty. They all yielded
results in the correct stratigraphical order and are indicating that
the time span evidenced by the sequence in Brno-Bohunice is
longer than anticipated. Furthermore, all the luminescence data are
giving much older ages than was expected on the basis of the
positioning of the two paleosols in the chronostratigraphic frame-
work of the region, as well as by the radiocarbon data, even if
calibration is taken into account.
The failure of the IRSL-SAR protocol to recover a dose within
reasonable uncertainty (10% of unity, Suppl. Table 5) indicates that
this protocol is not appropriate for these particular samples.
Furthermore, the systematic lower ages compared to the quartz
OSL data indicate the presence of anomalous fading of the IRSL
signal which is evidenced by some of the results from the MAAD
fading experiment. The failure to detect any fading for the samples
from the top and the bottom of the stratigraphy (see Supplement)
can be explained by the large uncertainties associated with this
type of fading experiment, where data sets of natural and additive
doses are compared after different storage times. Therefore the
ages obtained by the MAAD protocol (Suppl. Table 4) have to be
questioned and would need correction for their potential fading.
They gave ages almost identical to the IRSL-SAR results which
either indicate that the IRSL-SAR, despite its failure to recover
a dose, is not so bad, or they both suffer from an unknown problem
in addition to the fading.
In any case, the IRSL data (Suppl. Table 5) statistically agree with
the OSL data, (Suppl. Table 6) which are considered to be the best
estimate for the sedimentation ages of the sequence because they
meet all the criteria for evaluating a luminescence age result and
quartz is considered not to fade (e.g. Bøtter-Jensen et al., 2003). The
OSL quartz result of 30.9?3.1 ka for the uppermost sample (EVA-
LUM-07/01) is in accordance with radiocarbon data and the
placement of the underlying Upper Paleosol in the Denekamp. The
OSL quartz age of 58.7?5.8 ka (EVA-LUM-07/02) for the Lower
Palaeosol is apparently older than any of the radiocarbon estimates,
but given the relatively large uncertainty of the OSL data it is
statistically compatible with the older radiocarbon estimates when
calibration for the latter is taken into account. Agreement is of
course obtained when the infinite radiocarbon data are considered
as best reflecting the age of the deposit.
Within its 2-s uncertainties the OSL data are also in agreement
with the TL data on heated flint artifacts (Richteret al., 2008). Using
the lowest 5% (Olley et al., 1999) approach provides age estimates
on that part of the sediment which is believed to have received the
most recent exposure to light, which is either directly related to
deposition, redeposition, disturbance, bioturbation or soil forma-
tion. As discussed above, only in the latter case can a bridging
argument be established between the target event of the human
occupation and the dated event of the last bleaching of sediment
grains if soil formation tookplacewhile sediment still accumulated.
But the general expectation would be for the OSL age to be younger
than the TL data. Because the TL and OSL ages are in agreement,
with the OSL data pointing towards a possibly older age, it is more
likely that the Bohunice soil at Brno-Bohunice formed while sedi-
ment and artefacts were accumulating, and not during a phase of
The quartz OSL age of 104.3?10.6 ka for the lowermost sample
(EVA-LUM-07/03) evidences the accumulation of loess in OIS 5,
given the palaeoclimate data most likely in its later half. However,
there is no stratigraphic evidence of PK III. Sedimentation rates at
Brno-Bohunice 2002 must have been either very slow or major
erosions took place which are no longer visible in the profiles.
Two data sets of radiocarbon ages on charcoal for adjacent sites
on the Red Hill (?Cerven? y Kopec) of Bohunice provide significant
discrepancies, with the ones from the recent excavation at Brno-
Bohunice 2002 on well provenanced samples being younger and
showing a much larger spread in results. But the sites are consid-
ered to most likely represent a series of human occupations within
a time span much less than the differences in chronometric ages
suggest. While it is possible to provide reasons for the radiocarbon
data set from Brno-Bohunice 2002 being significantly younger
(slope wash, cryoturbation, bioturbation, burnt tree stumps or any
combination of the above) than the other adjacent sites, there are
no a priori arguments to be provided in favour of the radiocarbon
data on non-provenanced material from these other localities being
correctlyassociated with the human occupation. However, the AMS
samples for Cihelna and Kejbaly were obtained from charcoal len-
ses (Valoch, 2008) which could have been hearths and therefore
their dated events could equal the target event (sensu Dean, 1978).
Additionally, this data set provides a more closed set of ages, which,
if calibrated, agree with TL data on the sedimentation age from
Cihelna and the TL dating results on heated flint artifacts from the
recent excavation of Brno-Bohunice 2002. The significant discrep-
ancy of radiocarbon dating of charcoals obtained from what
appeared to be a disintegrated piece of charcoal from this site by
two different laboratories needs to be addressed, because it addi-
tionally casts doubts on the validity of using the method of radio-
carbon dating in such context.
The luminescence dating results presented emphasize the
general problematic of radiocarbon dating of charcoal pieces from
loess deposits, because of significant discrepancies in ages, even
when calibration for radiocarbon data is considered. Following
Dean’s (1978) typology of events, the bridging argument has to be
established, which is very difficult for luminescence dating of
sediment and is difficult for radiocarbon dating of charcoal in such
contexts. Statistically indistinguishable age results were obtained
for OSL dating of sediments, specifically a Multiple-Aliquot-
Additive-Dose (MAAD) on polymineral fine grain and Single-
Aliquot-Regeneration (SAR) procedures for polymineral Infrared
Stimulated Luminescence (IRSL) as well as blue Optically Stimu-
lated Luminescence (OSL) of fine quartz extracts. However, IRSL of
feldspar has, again, been shown to suffer from anomalous fading.
Interestingly, fading was experimentally detected only for the
sample from the level of archaeological occupation which certainly
represents some disturbances due to human interference and
pedogenesis, and thus alterations of the minerals. Furthermore, the
validity of the Single-Aliquot-Regeneration (SAR) protocol for
feldspardominated samples has to be questioned, even though ages
obtained by MAAD are identical. The most reliable estimates are
provided by OSL of fine grain quartz extract, which gives a coherent
data set of 30.9?3.1 ka, 58.7?5.8 ka and 104.3?10.6 ka from top
to bottom (samples EVA-LUM-07/01 to -07/03). However, given the
large uncertainties which are caused by the large distribution of
palaeodoses, the usefulness of luminescence dating of such sedi-
ments to tackle very specific questions at the cultural/biological
boundary of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic cannot be shown in
Considering only the two sediments which, in principle, are very
well suited for luminescence dating in contrast to the sediment from
30.9?3.1 ka (EVA-LUM-07/01) and 104.3?10.6 ka (EVA-LUM-07/
03) for the archaeological layer are in agreement with the
D. Richter et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 36 (2009) 708–720717
radiocarbon data obtained. While this is not satisfying from the
aspect of an archaeological interpretation, the best estimate of the
age of the archaeological remains is provided by the TL dating of
heated flints (Richter et al., 2008) with 48.2?1.9 ka from Brno-
Bohunice 2002, which agrees well with calibrated radiocarbon data
samples were obtained.
The disagreement between the radiocarbon dates and the
luminescence dates (both TL and OSL/IRSL) derived from the Brno-
Bohunice 2002 excavation immediately raises the question of
a possible scenario with multiple occupation events at the site
which were subsequently bioturbated into a single assemblage (see
discussion in Tostevin and Sˇkrdla, 2006). With the presence of both
production of leaf points usually associated with the Szeletian, the
traditional Palaeolithic systematics in Central Europe (Svoboda
et al., 1996) would ascribe one occupation to Bohunician flint-
knappers and a later one to Szeletian flintknappers, with the latter
responsible for the burning of the wood which was sampled. In
opposition to this view, however, we note the presence of
production refits as well as conjoins in the assemblage, uniting all
areas of the excavated 3?21 m trench (Sˇkrdla and Tostevin, 2005).
By itself, the archaeological evidence of core reduction refits within
the Lower Paleosol assemblage and the absence of any vertical or
horizontal patterning of raw material, retouch type, dorsal scar
direction, or core reduction techniques (Sˇkrdla and Tostevin, 2005)
argue for the integrity of the archaeological assemblage. To invali-
date the archaeological evidence for the integrity of the assemblage
through the emphasis of the younger radiocarbon dates would
ignore both the agreement between the TL and the OSL dates as
well as the tighter theoretical association between target event and
dated event provided by the TL method in comparison with the14C
method at Brno-Bohunice 2002. Given the very high density of
charcoal in the 2002 excavation, with over 200 charcoal samples in
a 3 m?5 m area (see Sˇkrdla and Tostevin, 2005, Fig. 7), it is
probable that 8 of the 10 dated samples derive from post-occupa-
tion tree roots rather than pedogenically altered hearths (a field
interpretation now in serious doubt). While two samples (OxA-
18301 and WK-17757) match Valoch’s (2008) dates well enough to
raise the possibility that they derive from anthropogenic sources
that might overlap in age with the fire event dated by TL, the
difference in the quality of the bridging arguments between TL and
14C methods, as well as the significant discrepancy of radiocarbon
dating of a single charcoal by two different laboratories, lead us to
conclude that the weighted TL age of 48.2?1.9 ka on 11 flint arti-
facts (Richter et al., 2008) is the more accurate age estimate for the
assemblage. Taking the archaeology together with the prerequisites
and assumptions of each dating method, we conclude that the TL
dating and the archaeology together make the possibility of a post-
Bohunician occupation by Szeletian leaf-point manufacturers
Taking all the data together the lower soil of the Last Inter-
pleniglacial paleosols does not seem to represent a stable land
surface at the site of Brno-Bohunice and appears not to correlate
with the Hengelo interstadial, because of the TL age of its content
(48.2?1.9 ka weighted average of 11 samples) and especially its
OSL date (58.7?5.8 ka EVA-LUM-07/02). The latter should be
considered as maximum age with respect to soil formation, espe-
cially in the light of the potential incorporation of older sediments
by sheet floods and bioturbation. The top of the sequence consists
of loess deposited well before the Last Glacial Maximum which
gave an OSL age of 30.9?3.1 ka (EVA-LUM-07/01). The OSL age of
104.3?10.6 ka (EVA-LUM-07/03) for the lower loess provides
information on loess deposition before the onset of the last glacial
and indicates a low sedimentation rate at Brno-Bohunice.
Consequently, the presented luminescence data take the sequence
of Brno-Bohunice 2002 out of the chronostratigraphical framework
for the region and further chronometric ages are needed in order to
verify the framework. Even when a different average moisture
model for the OSL data is assumed (see Supplement) the 2-s OSL
data for the Lower Paleosol do not support the notion of correlating
the Lower Paleosol at Bohunice with the Hengelo interstadial.
Taken all together, this set of luminescence data provides confir-
mation of the early chronological position of the type-locality for
the Bohunician technocomplex as part of the Early Upper Palae-
olithic in the Middle Danube. It also draws into question a 10 ka
hiatus observed in the chronometric data for the hominin occu-
pation of Moravia between 53 and 43 ka cal BP (Zilha ˜o, 2006, p.
189; Valladas et al., 2003). With the Neanderthal occupation of
Ku ˚ lna Cave layer 7a dated by ESR (Rink et al.,1996) to 50?5 ka for
a linear uptake (LU) model (53?6 ka recent uptake (RU) model)
and the Bohunician at Brno-Bohunice 2002 dated to 48.2?1.9 ka
(Richter et al., 2008), there is overlap already at the 1-s probability
level which indicates a more or less continuous occupation and
makes it difficult to argue for a hiatus, as is clearly observed else-
where, for instance in the stratigraphies of the Swabian Alb (Conard
et al., 2006).
The OSL dating of the 2002 excavations at Brno-Bohunice was
funded by a research grant from the Leakey Foundation (USA) as
well as travel support from the American School of Prehistoric
Research, Harvard University (USA). We would like to thank Steffi
Albert (MPI-EVA; Germany) for preparing and measuring the
luminescence samples. The AMS Oxford14C age determinations
presented here were made possible by the EFCHED (Environmental
Factors in the Chronology of Human Evolution and Dispersal)
programme. Species from Valoch (2008) were determined by Ste-
ven Ward (University of Oxford), while Dana Challinor (Oxford
Archaeological Unit) determined species for the charcoals from
Brno-Bohunice 2002. The excavations themselves were funded by
the Grant-in-Aid Program of the University of Minnesota (USA) and
the Institute of Archaeology, Brno (Czech Republic). The authors
would also like to thank Ofer Bar-Yosef (Harvard University), Jir ˇı ´
Svoboda (Institute of Archaeology, Brno), and Karel Valoch (Mora-
vian Museum, Brno) for their help and fruitful discussions con-
cerning the project.
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