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Palaeolithic sites in Banat, south-western Romania and selected loess sections of the lowland (Projection: UTM 34 WGS 1984, Cartography: R. Löhrer). Abb. 1. Paläolithische Fundstellen im Banat und ausgewählte Löss-Bereiche in den Niederungen (Projektion: UTM 34 WGS 1984, Kartierung: R. Löhrer).

Palaeolithic sites in Banat, south-western Romania and selected loess sections of the lowland (Projection: UTM 34 WGS 1984, Cartography: R. Löhrer). Abb. 1. Paläolithische Fundstellen im Banat und ausgewählte Löss-Bereiche in den Niederungen (Projektion: UTM 34 WGS 1984, Kartierung: R. Löhrer).

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- Previous archaeological research in the Banat area (South-western Romania) resulted in the definition of a chronologically late Krems-Dufour type Aurignacian, followed by the isolated find of several considerably old anatomically modern human (AMH) remains at Oase Cave, several decades later. The last find set the stage for new stratigraphic, chr...

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... (Timiş district) is located on the periphery of Poiana Ruscă Mountains, in the eastern part of the historical region of Banat. The Palaeolithic site of Româneşti (local toponym: Dumbrăviţa) is situated at the confluence of the Bega Mare and Bega Mica rivers, 4 km N from the site of Coşava, from which it is separated by the large Bega valley (Figs. 1 2). The settlement is situated in a rather short loess-like sequence (c. 3 m) on the 10 m river terrace (45°49'02.41" ...
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... aimed at laminar production. Pre-cores are rare and were documented in uppermost layers IV and V (4 and 3 items (extension of narrow working surface to the wide side or several reduction zones) with or without crest remnants. Striking platforms are plain or crudely faceted; angles are almost acute. Flake cores are rare and include discoidal ( Fig. 10: 2), semi-discoidal, orthogonal and Kombewa (4 ...
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... are the second most common artifact class (after flakes) (n=719), but only 13.8 % (or 15.4 % including tools) of blades are complete. Bladelets are numerous (n=168), with more complete pieces (23.8 %, or 24.9 % including tools) and few micro-blades). The metrical data are as follows: (1) overlying layer IV, while curved profiles decrease markedly (Fig. 14). Blade/let distal ends are mostly feathered (59.8 %/62.7 %), less blunt (20.5 %/14.5 %), hinged (13.7 %/21.7 %) and rarely overpassed (6 %/1.2 %). Blade cross-sections are principally trapezoidal (41.4 %) and triangular (31.3 %), followed by lateral steep (scalene) (18.5 %) and rare multiple in lipped butts with more unlipped butts ...
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... (Fig. 14). Blade/let distal ends are mostly feathered (59.8 %/62.7 %), less blunt (20.5 %/14.5 %), hinged (13.7 %/21.7 %) and rarely overpassed (6 %/1.2 %). Blade cross-sections are principally trapezoidal (41.4 %) and triangular (31.3 %), followed by lateral steep (scalene) (18.5 %) and rare multiple in lipped butts with more unlipped butts (Fig. 16). As for bulbs, the diffused dominate over the developed ones for blades and bladelets; the bulb absence is common ( Fig. 17). Split/shattered bulbs are rare. The domination of obtuse and inverted angles was recorded for both blades and bladelets, while right angles show the same low frequency (Fig. 18). The abrasion of the blade butt ...
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... and rarely overpassed (6 %/1.2 %). Blade cross-sections are principally trapezoidal (41.4 %) and triangular (31.3 %), followed by lateral steep (scalene) (18.5 %) and rare multiple in lipped butts with more unlipped butts (Fig. 16). As for bulbs, the diffused dominate over the developed ones for blades and bladelets; the bulb absence is common ( Fig. 17). Split/shattered bulbs are rare. The domination of obtuse and inverted angles was recorded for both blades and bladelets, while right angles show the same low frequency (Fig. 18). The abrasion of the blade butt edges was frequent (53.2 % as well as butt reduction by faceting -up to 60 %), while this practice declines for bladelets ...
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... in lipped butts with more unlipped butts (Fig. 16). As for bulbs, the diffused dominate over the developed ones for blades and bladelets; the bulb absence is common ( Fig. 17). Split/shattered bulbs are rare. The domination of obtuse and inverted angles was recorded for both blades and bladelets, while right angles show the same low frequency (Fig. 18). The abrasion of the blade butt edges was frequent (53.2 % as well as butt reduction by faceting -up to 60 %), while this practice declines for bladelets (32.4 %). On the other hand, bladelet trimming of the overhang by faceting (small removals) was more common (51.5 ...
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... in layers III and IV). Different types of flint occur sporadically, as well as quartzite. Isolated pieces were made on chalcedony, jasper, radiolarite (the last raw material being better represented in laminar debitage). Tools were made on both blades and flakes, more on blades, however without proportional changes towards the top of the sequence (Fig. 19). Retouched blades. For unknown reasons, the study sample of retouched blades and retouched pieces on blades is much bigger in comparison with the previously published data. Regardless, retouched blades (with continuous, non-marginal, quite invasive scalar lateral/bilateral, convergent/pointed obverse, inverse and alternate mostly ...
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... pieces on blades and on flakes with light, short discontinuous or partial retouch (while non-marginal) are common throughout the sequence (Fig. 19). Pieces on blades have usually obverse lateral semi-steep ...
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... pieces are well represented in layer III (n=9), less in layer IV (3) and were made more often on blades than on flakes. The notches are often lateral, but can also be bilateral, proximal, distal and lateral/ distal. The retouch (usually scalar, semi-steep and steep) is mostly obverse and rarely inverse. Notched Aurignacian bilateral ( Fig. 27: 1) and lateral blades were documented in layers III and IV (Hahn 1977, Plate 169: ...
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... occur in all assemblages (except layer II) in comparable proportions and in small numbers ( Fig. 19) and were produced on flakes by continuous steep, semi-steep and flat retouch. They are of two main types: lateral and transverse with convex or straight working edge, except for one angle (lateral/ transverse) type. The retouch is mostly obverse, while ventral, alternate and bifacial retouch occurs episodically ( Fig. 26: ...
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... fragmentation mode and metrics, only 9 of 106 29 microliths are complete: max. size is 59.5, 10.5, 5.5 mm; min. 18.7, 9.3, 2.9 mm; average 35.9, 9.9, 2.9 mm; average W is 9.6 mm and T is 2.8 mm. One ventral Dufour in layer III was made on a small proximally broken blade (>33.2, 13.6, 4.6 mm) by fine alternate semi-steep bilateral/distal retouch ( Fig. 29: 11). Blanks of all non-geometrical microliths have unidirectional (17) and some convergent (5) dorsal scars and show mostly "on-axis" detachment (22). Twisted (14), flat (10) and curved (5) lateral profiles were recorded. Only 2 micro-notches and 1 Dufour (layers II, III and IV) show an "off-axis" pattern combined with twisted profiles. ...
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... and luminescence dating nevertheless showed that all findings above the lowermost layer I ("Quartzitic industry") belong to the last glacial cycle (for details see Kels et al. subm.). When compared to the original description of sediments by Mogoşanu (1978), it can be said that during re-excavation the same main geological features were detected (Fig. 4: 1). However, it turned out that the upper part of the sequence, including most of the archaeological layers, is dominated by the surface soil, here a Stagnic Albeluvisol. This soil developed under moderate climate and temporary soil wetness and is quite common on comparable sediments in flat or dell positions of the Banat foothills (Ianoş ...
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... Stagnic Albeluvisol. This soil developed under moderate climate and temporary soil wetness and is quite common on comparable sediments in flat or dell positions of the Banat foothills (Ianoş 2002;Mavrocordat 1971). The soil can be subdivided into two general horizons below the humic horizon, which has been further subdivided into a plough-horizon (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 1) and a humic horizon below (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 2): a bleached, light brown to grey (albic) horizon (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 3), followed by a brownish to reddish, weakly clay illuviated horizon below (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 4), which is more or less rich on Layer III Layer IV Layer V GH 3 BURIN ON BLADE: angle, on snap - 6 5 6 5 angle, on butt - 1 - - - angle, ...
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... moderate climate and temporary soil wetness and is quite common on comparable sediments in flat or dell positions of the Banat foothills (Ianoş 2002;Mavrocordat 1971). The soil can be subdivided into two general horizons below the humic horizon, which has been further subdivided into a plough-horizon (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 1) and a humic horizon below (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 2): a bleached, light brown to grey (albic) horizon (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 3), followed by a brownish to reddish, weakly clay illuviated horizon below (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 4), which is more or less rich on Layer III Layer IV Layer V GH 3 BURIN ON BLADE: angle, on snap - 6 5 6 5 angle, on butt - 1 - - - angle, on truncation - - 1 - 2 angle double ,on ...
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... on comparable sediments in flat or dell positions of the Banat foothills (Ianoş 2002;Mavrocordat 1971). The soil can be subdivided into two general horizons below the humic horizon, which has been further subdivided into a plough-horizon (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 1) and a humic horizon below (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 2): a bleached, light brown to grey (albic) horizon (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 3), followed by a brownish to reddish, weakly clay illuviated horizon below (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 4), which is more or less rich on Layer III Layer IV Layer V GH 3 BURIN ON BLADE: angle, on snap - 6 5 6 5 angle, on butt - 1 - - - angle, on truncation - - 1 - 2 angle double ,on ...
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... 1971). The soil can be subdivided into two general horizons below the humic horizon, which has been further subdivided into a plough-horizon (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 1) and a humic horizon below (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 2): a bleached, light brown to grey (albic) horizon (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 3), followed by a brownish to reddish, weakly clay illuviated horizon below (Fig. 4: 1 -GH 4), which is more or less rich on Layer III Layer IV Layer V GH 3 BURIN ON BLADE: angle, on snap - 6 5 6 5 angle, on butt - 1 - - - angle, on truncation - - 1 - 2 angle double ,on ...
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... (MIS 2). This fits to the archaeological layer initially attributed to the Gravettian, which can now be conventionally reassigned to a post-LGM Epigravettian. With these results, a first chronology of the sedimen- tary development at the Banat foothills was possible, offering first correlations to loess sections of the Romanian and Serbian Banat (Fig. 1) and giving new insights into the palaeoecology in different altitudes of the region (for further details see Kels et al. ...
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... new excavations show a raw material composition similar to Mogoşanu's assemblages in both raw material types and frequency (i.e. opal dominance). Additionally, an "exotic" black flint of very good quality appeared in Trench 4. A heavily reduced core on that flint, to which one micro-blade and one flake was refitted ( Fig. 31: 1ab, 1a, 1b), as well as some isolated debitage products and Dufours were ...
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... 2). The second core-on-flake has a working surface on hinged end and a platform on the débordant side ( Fig. 34: 4). Prismatic cores comprise 1 blade unidirectional sub-cylindrical, 1 blade/let unidirectional core on flake, 1 bladelet orthogonal-adjacent (with wide and narrow working surfaces) core on flake ( Fig. 34: 3) and 1 exhausted core ( Fig. 31: 1ab). Striking platforms are flat. A single crest remnant was recorded. All of these cores show advanced reduction or exhaustion. Narrow-faced core-on-flakes (5 items) are represented by 3 uni- directional ( Fig. 34: 1), 1 bidirectional ( Fig. 32: 2, 3) and 1 core with changed orientation (Fig. 34: 5 triangular shape, sometimes extending ...
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... on flake, 1 bladelet orthogonal-adjacent (with wide and narrow working surfaces) core on flake ( Fig. 34: 3) and 1 exhausted core ( Fig. 31: 1ab). Striking platforms are flat. A single crest remnant was recorded. All of these cores show advanced reduction or exhaustion. Narrow-faced core-on-flakes (5 items) are represented by 3 uni- directional ( Fig. 34: 1), 1 bidirectional ( Fig. 32: 2, 3) and 1 core with changed orientation (Fig. 34: 5 triangular shape, sometimes extending to the ventral or dorsal sides. The two flake cores include a semi- discoidal and one on a lateral side-scraper (recycling) with crossed scars, belonging to the Kombewa ...
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... on-axis bladelets (67.9 %) and especially on-axis micro-blades (74.9 %). Blade/let and micro-blade profiles are similarly twisted (38.1 %/37.5 % and 33.9 %), showing a progressive decline of curved profiles through the laminar categories (17 %/11.6 % and 9.4 %). On the other hand, flat profiles increase with the diminishing of laminar parameters (Fig. 14). It is worth mentioning that the complete laminar products show different profile frequencies, expressed particularly in higher twisting rates (Fig. 14). However, data based on intact products do not confirm the domination of one particular profile ...
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... %), showing a progressive decline of curved profiles through the laminar categories (17 %/11.6 % and 9.4 %). On the other hand, flat profiles increase with the diminishing of laminar parameters (Fig. 14). It is worth mentioning that the complete laminar products show different profile frequencies, expressed particularly in higher twisting rates (Fig. 14). However, data based on intact products do not confirm the domination of one particular profile ...
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... trend fits well with the common presence of narrow-faced cores and burins. Figure 15 shows the dominance of single blow platforms of laminar products as well as the decline in flat platforms in favor of lineal throughout the laminar size groups. As for butt lipping (which is always high), the highest frequency of lipped and semi-lipped platforms was documented for bladelets (Fig. 16). ...
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... presence of narrow-faced cores and burins. Figure 15 shows the dominance of single blow platforms of laminar products as well as the decline in flat platforms in favor of lineal throughout the laminar size groups. As for butt lipping (which is always high), the highest frequency of lipped and semi-lipped platforms was documented for bladelets (Fig. 16). The analysis of laminar products also revealed (a) a decline in lipped butts from blades to micro-blades and vice versa, and (b) an increase in semi-lipped butts from the smallest to the biggest laminar products. Diffused bulbs dominate among all laminar removals (max. 53.6 % for blades). However, this attribute shows a gradual ...
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... laminar products. Diffused bulbs dominate among all laminar removals (max. 53.6 % for blades). However, this attribute shows a gradual decrease from blades to micro-blades (min. 40.3 %), while the frequency of developed bulbs increases. Bulb absence is considerable for all removals (c. 20 % -25 %); the split/shattered pattern occurs sporadically (Fig. 17). Obtuse interior flaking angles dominate with similar frequency for all laminar products, while the frequency of right angles doubled for micro-blades in comparison with blades (Fig. 18). As for overhang reduction, abrasion and faceting were applied separately with similar intensity (>60 %) for both blades and bladelets. On the other ...
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... while the frequency of developed bulbs increases. Bulb absence is considerable for all removals (c. 20 % -25 %); the split/shattered pattern occurs sporadically (Fig. 17). Obtuse interior flaking angles dominate with similar frequency for all laminar products, while the frequency of right angles doubled for micro-blades in comparison with blades (Fig. 18). As for overhang reduction, abrasion and faceting were applied separately with similar intensity (>60 %) for both blades and bladelets. On the other hand, these techniques were used independently in nearly the same lower proportions for micro-blades. Moreover, mutual application of both techniques was often attested, mostly for blades ...
Context 27
... on different kinds of blanks, as follows: micro- blades (37 %), blades (30.5 %), flakes (20.1 %) and bladelets (12.3 %) (15 cases of unidentifiable tool blank type). The toolkit is dominated by non-geometric microliths (56.3 %). Burins and retouched pieces on blades and on flakes are present in considerably lower percentages. Other tools are rare (Fig. ...
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... blades are rare (n=5), but also diverse, including pointed (1), laterally retouched (2) and two Aurignacian blade fragments (Fig. 36: 1, 4, 6, ...
Context 29
... pieces on blades and on flakes with light short discontinuous or partial semi-steep retouch (while non-marginal) are common (16 and 12 items of each). These pieces on blades usually have lateral obverse retouch, rarely bilateral, alternate and alter- nating ( Fig. 36: 2, 8-10). Retouched pieces on flakes often exhibit lateral obverse, but also inverse ...
Context 30
... microliths are abundant (n=80) and represent more than half of the toolkit ( Figs. 19; 28; 37). These micro-tools were often made on micro-blades (57), more rarely on bladelets (19), but also on small blades (4); curious cases of 2 Dufours, Font-Yves and Krems points on blades (Fig. 37: 37, 39, 52) with width between 12.6 -13.7 mm. Fragmenta- tion is very high: only 7 tools are complete (6 Dufours and 1 pseudo-Dufour). The sizes ...
Context 31
... largest) trench of Mogoșanu's excavations (Fig. 3). From an optimistic reading of his mapping of the horizontal distribution of artifacts, which for several reasons is known to be schematic, one would have expected to find at least his Aurignacian layers III and IV as well as his Gravettian layer VI represented in the recently excavated sequence (Fig. 4: 1). However, this was not the case. While we found equivalents of his layer VI in two geological horizons (GH 1 and GH 2), the overwhelming part of the Aurignacian finds were located within the same geological layer GH 3. From a sedimentological point of view, as well as in terms of the depth of finds, Aurignacian artifacts from the ...
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... Aurignacian artifacts from the lowermost geological horizon of our excavation, GH 4, are clearly separated from the materials above; they thus likely represent Mogoșanu's Layer II. In this Layer II 2 carinated cores (Fig. 7), 1 Dufour on bladelet (Fig. 28), as well as 12 various UP tool types similar to the uppermost Aurignacian assemblages (Fig. 19) were recorded. In contrast to this clear distinction, no subdivisions of GH 3 were possible; there were no structures (e.g. fireplaces) or other indicators for original surfaces (e.g. banded sooty sediments, patches of hematite, etc.). Even more so, profile projections of the artifacts recovered from GH 3 show a more or less continuous ...
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... by the less abundant Epigravettian at the top and an industry with isolated, mostly quartz artifacts at the base of the sequence (Middle Palaeolithic?). The lack of inclination in the overall horizontal distribution of artifacts (Fig. 30) appears to indicate their primary position, as do the conjoining broken artifacts and technological refitting (Figs. 31, ...
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... are very similar with only a few differences recorded in laminar attributes. For example, blade and bladelet/micro-blade lateral profiles in GH3 appeared "straighter" when compared to old collec- tions, while the twisted pattern remains common with the same value (see the striking resemblance between the twisted pattern in layer III and GH3 - Fig. 14). In sum, all studied collections shows a three-fold compo- sition of lateral profiles, i.e. straight/curved/twisted, which are present in significant values. However, layer III shows the predominance of twisted blade/let profiles over curved or flat with a further increase in the twisted pattern in overlying layer IV. In contrast, the ...
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... here, where the potential background for high twisted pattern was limited (only 2 carinated pieces). Another pattern is visible for all samples: with the "microlithisation" of laminar products, their lateral profiles become straighter (the highest rate was documented for micro-blades in GH3 -56.3 %). The rare data for complete laminar products (Fig. 14) confirm this pattern, but also show an overestimation of flat profile frequency and also a non-estimation of twisted patterns. Thus, the results obtained for some attributes based on significantly fragmented laminar products should be treated with some caution. A slight difference occurs for bladelet lipping: old collections contain ...
Context 36
... (endscraper pattern) and (b) longitudinal reduction of the thick part or continuous exploitation of a volumi- nous block, resulting in wide-fronted (short with sub- pyramidal shape or as nucléus en "sabot de cheval") or narrow-fronted cores with considerable thickness (Th > L, according to technological orientation, see Le Brun-Ricalens 2005: 56, Fig. 16). With the progres- sing debitage and on final stages of core reduction another tendency was observed -the preparation of additional platforms, platform re-orientation and combination of flaking surfaces placed in different planes resulted in (a) bidirectional (common flaking surface), bidirectional-adjacent (two flaking surfaces ...
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... is indisputable, their accurate placement in the broader Aurignacian landscape is less straightforward, on both methodological and empirical grounds. It is worth mentioning that on a wider scale the key type fossil (i.e. the Dufour subtype bladelet) occurs in very different chronological and cultural contexts (e.g. Le Brun-Ricalens 2005: 53, Fig. 14; Zilhão 2011: 349, Fig. 25: 14): Protoaurignacian (long, straight obtained from prismatic or pyramidal cores and flake slices/edges), Early Aurignacian I (small/ mid-sized, straight with rectilinear and curved profile, mostly obtained from carinated or nosed pieces), and late Aurignacian III-IV (mid-sized, elongated, straight Dufours ...

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... Româneşti-Dumbrăviţa I is located in South-western Romania, in the eastern part of the Banat historical region, in Timiş county (E 22.32, N 45.81). The site itself is found on a mostly flat-top river terrace at the confluence of the two branches of the river Bega (Bega Mare and Bega Mică) that originates 15 km in south-eastern direction in the Poiana Ruscă Mountains (Kels et al., 2014;Sitlivy et al., 2012). These are the main features of Albeluvisols, especially fitting is the interfingering of tongues of bleached, lighter-coloured sediment in the lowermost clay horizon, due to possible root channels, ice-wedges and cracks (Kels et al., 2014). ...
... Archaeologically, three main and discrete artefacts levels can be distinguished in good accordance with the dating Sitlivy et al., 2012): Despite the general chrono-cultural accordance with Mogoşanu observations, the modern assemblage features many more small-sized findings, especially bladelets, due to the use of wet sieving Sitlivy et al., 2012). Most of the artefacts are produced on a meso-local variety of chert called "Banat flint", which occurs in a wide variety of brownish-reddish colouration and waxy, slightly translucent appearance (Chu, 2018;Schmidt et al., 2013). ...
... Archaeologically, three main and discrete artefacts levels can be distinguished in good accordance with the dating Sitlivy et al., 2012): Despite the general chrono-cultural accordance with Mogoşanu observations, the modern assemblage features many more small-sized findings, especially bladelets, due to the use of wet sieving Sitlivy et al., 2012). Most of the artefacts are produced on a meso-local variety of chert called "Banat flint", which occurs in a wide variety of brownish-reddish colouration and waxy, slightly translucent appearance (Chu, 2018;Schmidt et al., 2013). ...
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The dissertation addresses the technological variability in the European and Levantine early Upper Palaeolithic (eUP). The eUP is often linked to the major dispersal event of H. sapiens into Europe and the final affirmation of our species into the Eurasian continent over the 43–38 ka cal BP timespan. The main feature is the introduction of bladelets, elongated items less than 12 mm wide, whose production processes are the hallmark for technocomplexes. The principal difference is the disassociation of blades and bladelets productions, like in the Early Aurignacian and the Northern Ahmarian, or the use of a single core for both products, like in the Protoaurignacian and the Southern Ahmarian. The interpretations of the different technical behaviours are an internal evolution over time, climatic and environmental adaptations or changed mobility strategies. New results downsized the technological differences between the Protoaurignacian and the Early Aurignacian, while the Southern Ahmarian affinity with the Protoaurignacian is still unclear. The analysis brings together three in situ, abundant, early Upper Palaeolithic assemblages, attributed to different technocomplexes: Al-Ansab 1, Românești-Dumbrăvița I GH3 and Grotta di Fumane A1-A2. The aim is to define the technological role of the bladelets and assess variation or similarity between the assemblages. They have been analysed through chaîne opératoire approach corroborated by morpho-technological attributes of laminar blanks. The results point to a generalised production of bladelets. When the production is intercalated between blades and bladelets, the latter are predominantly showing characteristics linked to a primary goal of the knapping. They are using convexities installed by blades or flakes, and they have a much more regular morphology than blades. The results advocate for the rejection of the current taxonomical framework, as of the present technological criteria, and may imply a more complex dynamic of dispersal.
... 36-34 ka 14 C years BP, Trinkaus et al., 2003Trinkaus et al., , 2012 with Neanderthal admixture (Fu et al., 2015). In and around the Vršac Basin, rich Aurignacian sites and find spots occur, namely Crvenka-At, Românesţi, Cosava, Temeresţi, Tincova and Tabula Traiana (Mihailović, 2011;Anghelinu et al., 2012;Borić et al., 2012;Sitlivy et al., 2012Sitlivy et al., , 2014Chu et al., 2014Chu et al., , 2016Chu et al., , 2019Nett et al., 2021). Given the ongoing discussion concerning the role of climate in Late Pleistocene population turnover in the region (Müller et al., 2011;Staubwasser et al., 2018;Alex et al., 2019), the Vršac core may provide a valuable cross-check to local palaeoenvironmental reconstructions for late surviving Neanderthal populations and the earliest modern humans in Europe, as derived from loess data (Schmidt et al., 2013;Kels et al., 2014;Obreht et al., 2017). ...
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The Upper Pleistocene geoarchives in the south‐eastern Carpathian Basin are represented predominantly by loess–palaeosol records. In 2015, a 10 m sediment core composed of clay‐rich lacustrine sediments was recovered by vibracoring a dry lake basin located between the Vršac Mountains (Serbia) and the Banat Sands in the south‐eastern Carpathian Basin; a location relevant for placing regional archaeological results in a palaeoenvironmental context. Here, we present results from geoelectrical prospection and a lithostratigraphic interpretation of this sequence supported by a detailed granulometric study supplemented by ostracod analysis. An age model based on luminescence dating is discussed against sedimentological proxy data and its implication for palaeoenvironmental change. The cores show a stratigraphy of lighter ochre‐coloured and darker greyish sediment, related to the deposition of clay and silt trapped in an aquatic environment. Geophysical measurements show ~20 m thick lacustrine sediments. The grain‐size distributions including the variability in fine clay are indicative of a lacustrine environment. Fine particles were brought into the depositional environments by aquatic input and settled from suspension; also, direct dust input is constrained by grain‐size results. Riverine input and aeolian dust input interplayed at the locality.
... 42-37 ka cal BP; Trinkaus et al., 2003a;Trinkaus et al., 2003b;Trinkaus et al., 2012). The conspicuous absence of accompanying archeological artifacts stimulated the re-investigation of the openair sites of Românesţi, Cosava and Tincova (Figure 1) that highlight the archeological importance of the Banat during the early Upper Paleolithic (e.g., Anghelinu et al., 2012;Sitlivy et al., 2012;Kels et al., 2014;Sitlivy et al., 2014;Chu et al., 2016b). Furthermore, abundant, nearby loess archives have augmented our understanding of the prevailing palaeoenvironmental conditions during the Late Pleistocene (e.g., Schmidt et al., 2013;Kels et al., 2014;Schulte et al., 2014;Obreht et al., 2015;Zeeden et al., 2016;Gavrilov et al., 2018;Pötter et al., 2020). ...
... Excavations uncovered early Upper Paleolithic Aurignacian lithic artifacts (usually placed around 43-35 ka),including several bladelet cores (e.g., thick endscrapers, nosed endscrapers), blades and endscrapers(Figure 3). Most or all of the blades come from single-platform cores and the high bladeto-flake ratio of the lithic assemblage made primarily from socalled Banat flint(Ciornei et al., in press) that is technologically consistent with the Aurignacian artifacts from the open air sites of the Romanian BanatSitlivy et al., 2012;Sitlivy et al., 2014;Chu et al., 2016b;Chu et al., 2019). Some of the Selected lithic artifacts from the Crvenka-At 2015 excavations (fromChu et al., 2016a). ...
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The Carpathian Basin is a key region for understanding modern human expansion into western Eurasia during the Late Pleistocene because of numerous early hominid fossil find spots. However, the corresponding archeological record remains less understood due to a paucity of well dated, contextualized sites. To help rectify this, we excavated and sampled Crvenka-At (Serbia), one of the largest Upper Paleolithic sites in the region to obtain radiometric ages for the archeological artifacts and evaluate their depositional context and subsequent site formation processes. Our results confirm that this locality represents a multiple-occupation Aurignacian site that dates to 36.4 ± 2.8 ka based on modeling of luminescence ages. Electrical resistivity tomography measurements indicate that the site formed on a sandy-gravelly fill terrace covered by overbank deposits. Complex grain size distributions further suggest site formation in contrasting depositional environments typically occurring alongside fluvial channels, at lakeshores, in alluvial fan or delta settings. The site is thus the closest (ca. 50 km) known Aurignacian site to the earliest undisputed modern human remains in Europe at the Peştera cu Oase and some intervals of the occupation may therefore have been contemporaneous with them. This suggests that modern humans, during their initial settlement of Europe, exploited a wider range of topographic and ecological settings than previously posited. Our findings indicate that lowland areas of the Carpathian Basin are an important part of understanding the early settlement patterns of modern humans in Europe.
... Broglio, 2000;Cortés-Sánchez et al., 2019;Demidenko et al., 2012;Dinnis et al., 2019aDinnis et al., ,b, 2020Hahn, 1977;Kozlowski & Otte, 2000;Laplace, 1966;Otte & Derevianko, 2001;Zilhão & d'Errico, 1999). Recently, researchers, ourselves included, have raised doubts about the application of this model on a supra-regional scale (Bataille, 2013;Bataille & Conard, 2018;Bataille et al., , 2020Conard & Bolus, 2006, 2015Falcucci et al., 2017;Hauck et al., 2018;Sitlivy et al., 2012;Tafelmaier, 2017). We have argued, in fact, that the variability and definition of the oldest stages, known as Protoaurignacian (PA) and Early Aurignacian (EA), have been over-simplified to better construct scenarios of modern humans' arrival into Europe. ...
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The cultural dynamics that led to the appearance of the Aurignacian have intrigued archaeologists since the start of Paleolithic research. However, cultural reconstructions have often focused on a restricted region of Europe, namely the northern Aquitaine Basin. The Mediterranean Basin, though, is also a region worthy of consideration when testing if the Protoaurignacian was followed by the Early Aurignacian adaptive system. Fumane Cave is a pivotal site for tackling this issue because it contains evidence of repeated human occupations during the time span of the European Aurignacian. Here we investigate the diachronic variability of the lithic assemblages from five cultural units at Fumane Cave using a combination of reduction sequence and attribute analyses. This paper also reassesses the presence and stratigraphic reliability of the organic artifacts recovered at Fumane Cave. Our results show that the features of the Protoaurignacian techno-typology are present throughout the stratigraphic sequence, and by extension, to the onset of Heinrich Event 4. Additionally, the appearance of split-based points in the youngest phase is evidence of extensive networks that allowed this technological innovation to spread across different Aurignacian regions.
... Substantial and widespread volcanic ash deposits in the lower Danube catchment (Anechitei-Deacu et al., 2014;Veres et al., 2013), deriving from the Campanian Ignimbrite eruption coeval with modern human arrival into Europe and projected Neandertal extinction (Fedele et al., 2008), have further sparked animated debate (Lowe et al., 2012;Fitzsimmons et al., 2013). Despite recent attempts to locate additional archeological sites in the Danube corridor (Richter et al., 2012;Sitlivy et al., 2012;Iovita et al., 2014;Chu, 2018;Hauck et al., 2018;Mihailović, 2020), optimal sites in the conventional sense have been few (Schmidt et al., 2013;Schmidt et al., 2020) and have added little to substantiate the Paleolithic corridor hypothesis. ...
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Stratified, well preserved sites preserving unambiguous geological and archeological data from which human-environmental interactions can be reconstructed, are rare. More commonly we must test our hypotheses based on extrapolation of the few available sites, particularly in regions with high sedimentation rates. Here we test the idea of aggregating "off-sites"-human traces which provide isolated evidence of activity in an area-to maximize the information which can meaningfully be extracted from Paleolithic open-air contexts. We present two case studies from the sediment-rich loess steppe of southeast Romania, Lipniţa and Dealul Peş terica. Both off-sites preserve low density, undiagnostic lithic assemblages which may otherwise be overlooked in favor of more impressive sites. We constrain the timing of occupation at these two localities to c. 61 and 34-41 ka at Lipniţa and Dealul Peş terica, and show that people were present near a river bank and on loess slopes respectively. Aggregation of data from the region suggests repeated visitation of riverine landscapes; additionally people likely ranged across landforms, particularly where raw material for making stone tools was plentiful. Our case studies demonstrate that empirical, incremental findings may still be generated from sites traditionally thought to be of little value. We argue that this approach is highly applicable to investigating the human implications for landscape context from archeological traces in sediment-rich, open-air situations.
... Although at BL I/II, this situation may relate to the location of the new trench close to the terrace edge, the tendency in earlier stages of research towards describing 'ideal' or 'corrected' archaeological successions seemed rather a norm than an exception (cf. Sitlivy et al., 2012), and advises caution. Such arbitrary grouping of lithics may add significant noise in particular to palimpsestic accumulations, documented as overlapping combustion structures or discrete peaks in artifact density at all newly excavated sites (Cârciumaru et al., 2006bTuffreau et al., 2018;Anghelinu et al., 2019). ...
Article
A major impact of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) on the East-Central European Upper Paleolithic (UP) demographic and cultural adaptation is now largely acknowledged. Archaeologically, the basic trend leading to a fragmentation of the Gravettian technocomplex and the emergence of increasingly regionally-focused paleo-cultural units is also generally agreed upon. Higher-resolution regional syntheses remain, however, the only means of validating continental-scale tendencies. Here, we focus on the previously underreported archaeological record of the Romanian Eastern Carpathians, which host a consistent network of UP sites occupied in the timeframe of the LGM. The many sites located on the Bistrița river terraces display highly similar litho-stratigraphic sequences and comparable successions of archaeological layers and are therefore particularly prone to a synthetic survey. Based on recently updated chronometric support, a selected sample of 12 lithic assemblages from six sites illustrate the diachronic changes potentially related to the LGM impact on regional UP groups. In terms of raw material provisioning, mobility and techno-typological patterns, a sharp contrast is marked between the Late Gravettian and the subsequent early Epigravettian. This shift is particularly visible at the peak of the LGM, around 24 ka cal BP, and indicates an increased focus on the Eastern Carpathians.
... Though the region has remained understudied in past decades, recent interest has been renewed by the recognition of the deep antiquity of modern humans and the direct evidence of Neandertal hybridization from the fossils at the Peștera cu Oase found in the region (Fig. 1;Trinkaus 2003;Trinkaus et al. 2003aTrinkaus et al. , 2009Trinkaus et al. , 2012Fu et al. 2015). Subsequent archaeological work focusing on the early Upper Palaeolithic led to re-evaluations of the lithic assemblages and the production of radiometric dates that verified the contemporaneity of the fossils and their potential association (Teyssandier 2004;Doboș et al. 2009;Anghelinu et al. 2012;Anghelinu & Niță 2014;Chu et al. 2014;Sitlivy et al. 2014). ...
... The higher number of fine particles and distinct archaeological layers (Sitlivy et al. 2012;Kels et al. 2014), indicate higher landscape stability in Românești, compared to the sites of Coșava and Temerești, which are more strongly influenced by reworking processes. The sand fraction in Românești is also poorly sorted, which also indicates reworking, but to a lesser extent than Coșava and Temerești. ...
... Such an interpretation would fit well within the typo-technological scheme of other local stratified archaeological assemblages at Românești and Coșava that preserve stratified Aurignacian and (Epi-)Gravettian assemblages in similar sediments. Given the morphology of the Dufour bladelets alone, such a scenario might echo the affinity to the Proto-Aurignacian character of Românești and the further afield Tincova for the earlier part (Teyssandier 2004;Sitlivy et al. 2012). ...
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This paper reports on the excavation of a Late Pleistocene site at Temerești Dealu Vinii in Western Romania, one of only four sizeable lithic assemblages with similarities to the tradition known from open-air localities in this region. The site consists of a flint scatter covering an area of at least 15 square meters and is comprised of blade, bladelet and flake cores, knapping debris and retouched tools including endscrapers and burins. An interesting feature of Temerești Dealu Vinii is that it is on the same river system as the Upper Palaeolithic sites of Românești and Coșava that are about 10 km upstream. Similarities in the tools and blade technology imply that the sites may have been roughly contemporary. Here, we report on new artifacts, geochemistry, grain size, GIS analysis and geochronology that point to a Holocene reworking of the site. It also highlights the importance of rivers to humans as communication routes in the Upper Palaeolithic in the region.
... Moreover, the dominance of bladelets with curved profiles in Kostenki/LVA was used as an argument to associate it with the Early Aurignacian by Dinnis et al. (2019) and with a Roc-de-Combe Aurignacian with Early Aurignacian features by others (Sinitsyn, 2003;Zwyns and Flas, 2010). In fact, empirical studies of Aurignacian assemblages over the last decade have revealed technotypological overlaps between purported chronocultural stages of the technocomplex and rejected the validity of the Aquitaine model for regions outside of the core area (e.g., Sitlivy et al., 2012;Tafelmaier, 2017;Falcucci, 2018;Riel-Salvatore and Negrino, 2018a,b). The same is true for Kostenki 14/LVA (Bataille, 2013;. ...
... These models are based on the chronocultural development of the Aurignacian as seen in the Aquitaine Basin, which is frequently applied throughout all of Europe (e.g., Zilhão, 2011). Regional studies reject the applicability of the Aquitaine model, especially when referring to Southern, Eastern and Central European assemblages (e.g., Hahn, 1988;Conard and Bolus, 2006;Sitlivy et al., 2012Sitlivy et al., , 2014Bataille, 2016;Tafelmaier, 2017;Bataille and Conard, 2018;Falcucci, 2018;Riel-Salvatore and Negrino, 2018a, b). In Central Europe, the lowermost Aurignacian layers at Keilberg-Kirche, Geißenkl€ osterle, and Hohle Fels, which are among the oldest known Aurignacian assemblages, cannot be assigned to the Protoaurignacian (Uthmeier, 1996;Conard and Bolus, 2008;Higham et al., 2012Higham et al., , 2013. ...
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With great interest, we read the new study on early Upper Palaeolithic assemblages of the Kostenki region conducted by Dinnis et al. (2019). In this reply, we point out analytical and interpretative inconsistencies we found in that article. Dinnis et al. (2019) associated the early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) assemblages from the three Central Russian sites Kostenki 1, 14 and 17 with the Aurignacian four-phase model developed in Southwestern Europe. Thus, Dinnis et al. (2019) assigned the EUP assemblage from Kostenki 17 layer II to the Protoaurignacian and Kostenki 1/III as well as Kostenki 14/layer in volcanic ash (LVA; ~40 ka cal BP) to the Early Aurignacian. By doing so the authors promoted a unidirectional expansion of modern humans from the southeast into Europe. Moreover, they assumed a pan-European validity of the Aquitaine model, neglecting regional peculiarities and developments during the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition. In our view, the Protoaurignacian association of Kostenki 17/II and the general adoption of the Western European chronocultural system fails due to severe technological and typological inconsistencies.