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Collaborative Research Centre 806 - Project B1: The „Eastern Trajectory“: Last Glacial Palaeogeography and Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean and of the Balkan Peninsula

Goal: Project B1 investigates a possible "Eastern Trajectory" of modern human migrations into Europe. This route bridges the region with the earliest fossils of Homo sapiens sapiens so far known in the Near East over Anatolia, the Balkans and the Northwestern Pontic Sea. The main focus lies on the elucidation of both the archaeology and the environmental/ecological conditions of last glacial population dynamics, particularly migrations, by means of archaeological surveys and excavations, accompanied by small to medium scale geoscientific reconstructions of landscapes. In the first phase of the Collaborative Research Centre 806, investigations concentrate on Southern Jordan, Romania, and Southern Ukraine.

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Jürgen Richter
added 3 research items
New Mexico Monica L. Murrell and David T. Unruh Journal of Anthropological Archaeology • June 2016 Preview View PDF Save PDF Aminostratigraphy and taphonomy of ostrich eggshell in the sedimentary infill of Apollo 11 Rockshelter, Namibia Colin V. Murray-Wallace, Jürgen Richter and Ralf Vogelsang Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports • December 2015 Preview View PDF Save PDF Previous PDF Next PDF Quaternary International 274 (2012) 1–4 Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect Quaternary International journalhomepage:www.elsevier.com/locate/quaint Guest Editorial Temporal and spatial corridors of Homo sapiens sapiens population dynamics during the Late Pleistocene and early Holocene “Our Way to Europe – Culture-Environment Interaction and Human Mobility in the Late Quaternary” is a research initiative that is funded since July 2009 by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as a Collaborative Research Centre (CRC). The CRC 806 is based at the University of Cologne, University of Bonn and the RWTH Aachen University. The present special issue of Quaternary International compiles 17 contributions defining the starting points and describing first results of the CRC 806. All contributions result from research reports the authors presented at an interdisciplinary workshop held at Rösrath near Cologne in 2011, and the subsequent discussions during the workshop. Results of recent fieldwork and respective analysis, completed since the workshop took place, are also included.
Der Mensch hat seit seiner Entstehung und Entwicklung in Afrika einen langen Weg nach Mitteleuropa hinter sich: Er wanderte mehrmals von Afrika nach Eurasien, überlebte Wärmephasen und Kaltzeiten, breitete sich über einen Großteil der bewohnbaren Welt aus und wurde erst vor kurzer Zeit, um 10 000 v. Chr., sesshaft. Diese abwechslungsreiche und spannende Geschichte des Menschen im Paläolithikum wird anschaulich und anhand zahlreicher interessanter Fundobjekte gekonnt nacherzählt. So wird die Entwicklung von den ersten Menschen über die Neandertaler bis zum Homo Sapiens nachvollziehbar gemacht. Am Ende wird verständlich, warum und wie der Anatomisch Moderne Mensch zum "Erfolgsmodell" wurde und alle seine engen Verwandten verdrängt hat.
The authors shed new light on the time frame and pathways used by Homo sapiens on its journey from Africa to Europe and provide new insights into the intricate interplay of culture and environment during the past 200,000 years. The new findings also take into account the paleoclimatic and paleoenvi-ronmental history of East, NorthEast and NorthWest Africa, the Middle East, SouthEast and Central Europe as well as the Iberian Peninsula. The book is a compilation of the key results of a multidisciplinary research project (CRC 806, funded by the German Research Foundation DFG) which studied the dispersal of anatomically modern humans from Africa to Europe. The findings presented here are based on a wealth of new data of recent, intensive studies of archaeological sites, lake sediments and Loess archives which were dated using radio-carbon, luminescence, Uranium/Thorium and paleomagnetic methods. Models based on recent ethnological findings from Africa sharpen our understanding of the possible mixing of societies in the past. Moreover, complex algorithms such as the "Human Dispersal Model" which describes the expansion of hunter-gatherer societies and population development are presented for SouthEastern to Central Europe between 45,000 and 25,000 years ago. Last but not least, educational theories, teaching material and an Open Educational Resource are presented to facilitate the integration of the results from CRC 806 into school-class lectures and to foster compe-tencies in argumentation and comparison. The data presented in this volume are a valuable reference for experts in archaeology, geosciences, anthropology and 2021. XVII, 372 pages, 165 fi gures, 12 tables, bound, 19 x 26.5 cm ISBN 978-3-510-65534-2 39.90 € www.schweizerbart.de/9783510655342 ethnology including life-science students and academics. The book may be used as a textbook for graduate and undergraduate students, for interested school teachers and the public. It should be attractive and relevant to all readers interested in understanding the prehistory of our own species, their migration routes and motivation to migrate, triggered by complex interactions of their culture and environment.
Jürgen Richter
added 26 research items
This research aims to create a preliminary chronology for southern Syria, based on a comparison between the collected stone artefacts from the three surface sites (Al Khawaby valley, Sharar valley and Khirbet Shayah, study area on map) and other neighbouring Palaeolithic Levantine sites. The second aim is to show how the war did and does impact on the heritage sites and how a civilization of hundred-thousands of years have been destroyed and how archaeologist still try to save the syrian heritage sites.
Al-Ansab 1 is a stratified Early Ahmarian site of unusual preservation, extent and occupational intensity close to a highquality raw material outcrop. The site is located in the Lower Wadi Sabra in the Greater Petra Area, southern Jordan. This paper presents the results of a detailed raw material, technology and curation study of the lithic material from the 2009 to 2011 field campaigns at Al-Ansab 1. The lithic technology from the site is well-defined, relatively homogeneous, and oriented towards the production of regular, narrow and pointed laminar blanks, which are preferentially transformed into el-Wad points. The assemblage attests to an integrated production system, yielding blanks of varied morphotechnical characteristics at various stages of the reduction process to supply a diversified toolkit. Raw material exploitation focuses on locally available raw materials and is generally expedient. Tool shares are low, and modification tends to be marginal and minimally invasive. Curation analysis of the lithic toolkit suggests that most tools exhibit short use-lives and were only moderately resharpened. Combined with a high investment in core preparation, maintenance, and blank control evident in operational chains, this qualifies the Early Ahmarian at Al-Ansab 1 as a blank production economy (économie du débitage). This status entails particular consequences for economization and planning and is grounded in a strong convergence between blank production and tool design. Al-Ansab 1 provides insights into the exceptional residential mobility of Early Ahmarian foragers and showcases the importance of localities close to predictable key resources in the southern Levant.
Janina J. Nett
added 3 research items
Please have a look at the Flyer for more information on the single book chapters and how to order it.
This is the introduction to the Chapter about South-eastern Europe. Have a look at the Flyer for more information.
Janina J. Nett
added a research item
Loess is a main archive of Pleistocene landscapes and environments and therefore has an important connection to the preservation and interpretation of Paleolithic sites. In Europe, anthropogenic sites have been found in loess because of past local occupation. At one extreme, sites are well preserved with minimal disturbance often accompanied by embedded proxies to estimate ecological parameters. On the other hand, loess deposits have undergone post-depositional alterations such as weathering, pedogenesis or bioturbation due to changing environmental conditions or other disturbances that obscure anthropogenic sites. We outline the current state of research and connections between Paleolithic archeology and loess research while introducing a series of subsequent regional case studies as part of a special issue. We also make recommendations for future work to incorporate a wider variety of methods to create more robust inferences on hominin and environmental evolution and their connections. © 2021 The Authors Journal of Quaternary Science Published by John Wiley & Sons. Ltd
Stephan Pötter
added a research item
The source of aeolian sediments such as loess has been investigated since decades. Reliable knowledge on potential dust sources is crucial to understand past climatic and environmental conditions accompanying the dispersal of early modern humans (EMH) into Europe. Provenance studies are usually performed on small sample sets and most established methods are expensive and time-consuming. Here, we present the results of high-resolution geochemical analyses performed on five loess-palaeosol sequences from the Lower Danube Basin (LDB), a region, despite its importance as a trajectory for EMH, largely underrepresented in loess provenance studies. We compare our results with geochemical data of loess-palaeosol sequences from Austria, Hungary, Serbia, and Ukraine. Based on published literature, we thus evaluate five plausible sedimentary pathways for the LDB loess: 1) the Danube alluvium (DA) pathway, which constrains the transport and re-deposition of detrital material by the Danube and its tributaries; 2) the Carpathian Bending (CB) pathway, where sediment is mainly transported from the Cretaceous to Neogene flysch of the Eastern Carpathian Bending; 3) the Eastern Carpathian (EC) pathway, in which sediment is eroded from the flysch of the Outer Eastern Carpathians, transported by rivers, and deflated by northwesterly to westerly winds; 4) the glaciofluvial (GF) pathway, where dust is deflated from glacial outwash plains in nowadays Ukraine, and 5) the Black Sea (BS) pathway, where dust originates from the exposed shelf of the Black Sea. Based on geochemical data, we consider the DA pathway to be the major sediment trajectory for loess in the LDB. Especially the sequences located close to the Danube and the Dobrogea show similarities to sites in Central and Northeast Hungary as well as Northern Serbia. For the northeastern part of the LDB, we demonstrate that dust input is mainly sourced from primary material from the Eastern Carpathians. Mineralogical estimations and geochemical data render the CB pathway as an additional substantial source of detrital material for the loess of this area. We consider the influence of the GF pathway in the LDB as negligible, whereas some minor influences of the BS pathway cannot be ruled out based on geochemical data.
Janina J. Nett
added a research item
Loess is an important archive of environmental change covering approximately 10% of the Earth's terrestrial surface. Numerous studies have analyzed loess deposits and in particular loess-paleosol sequences. To analyze these sequences, it is important to know the spatial distribution of aeolian sediments, their location relative to potential source areas, and the geomorphology of the sink area. We investigated these aspects by compiling a new map of aeolian sediments in Europe using highly resolved geodata from 27 countries (Lehmkuhl et al., in press). To determine the most relevant factors for the European loess distribution, we further mapped potential source areas and divided the map into different facies domains. We analyzed the geomorphological and paleoenvironmental effects on the deposition and preservation of Late Pleistocene loess. Finally, the geodata-based results were compared with results obtained from high-resolved regional numerical climate-dust experiments for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in Europe, which were performed with the LGM-adapted Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem-LGM; Schaffernicht et al., 2020). Complementing the mapping-based findings with the WRF-Chem-LGM experiments results in an improved understanding of the Late Pleistocene loess landscape in Europe. Check out the Interactive Presentation here: www.doi.org/10.5880/SFB806.70
Milivoj B. Gavrilov
added a research item
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.
Stephan Pötter
added a research item
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.
Jürgen Richter
added a research item
Our field data from the Upper Palaeolithic site of Al-Ansab 1 (Jordan) and from a pollen sequence in the Dead Sea elucidate the role that changing Steppe landscapes played in facilitating anatomically modern human populations to enter a major expansion and consolidation phase, known as the "Early Ahmarian", several millennia subsequent to their initial Marine Isotope Stage 4/3 migration from Africa, into the Middle East. The Early Ahmarian techno-cultural unit covers a time range between 45 ka-37 ka BP. With so far more than 50 sites found, the Early Ahmarian is the first fully Upper Palaeolithic techno-cultural unit exclusively and undisputedly related to anatomically modern human populations. In order to better understand the potentially attractive features of the Early Ahmarian environmental context that supported its persistence for over 8,000 years, we carried out a decennial research program in Jordan and in the Dead Sea. This included (1) a geoscientific and archaeological survey program in the Wadi Sabra (Jordan) with a particular focus on excavations at the Early Ahmarian site of Al-Ansab 1 alongside the detailed analysis of Quaternary sediments from the same area and (2) palaeobotanical research based on Quaternary lake deposits from the Dead Sea. Our pollen data from the Dead Sea indicate slow, low frequency vegetational variation with expanding Artemisia steppe, from 60 to 20 ka BP (MIS 3-2). Here, we see a reciprocal assimilation of southern and northern Levantine vegetation zones thereby enhancing a long-lasting south-to-north steppe corridor. The same integration process accelerated about 40 ka ago, when forested areas retreated in the Lebanese Mountains. The process then extended to encompass an area from Southern Lebanon to the Sinai Peninsula. We argue that, at the same time, the carriers of the Early Ahmarian techno-cultural unit extended their habitat from their original Mediterranean biome (in the North) to the Saharo-Arabian biome (to the South). Our excavation of Al-Ansab 1, a campsite at the eastern margins of the Early Ahmarian settlement area, indicates far reaching annual movements of small, highly mobile hunter-gatherer groups. We assume a low degree of settlement complexity, still allowing for habitat extension of the Early Ahmarian into the margins of the Levantine corridor. Due to our radiometric dates, our combined archaeological and environmental record sheds light on an evolved phase of the Early Ahmarian, around 38 ka ago, rather than the starting phase of this techno-cultural unit. Possible application of our model to the starting phase of the Early Ahmarian remains an aspect of future research.
Zoran Peric
added a research item
The thick and apparently continuous loess-palaeosol sequences in the Vojvodina region of northern Serbia are recognized and well understood as some of the oldest and most complete terrestrial European palaeoclimatic archives. By contrast, there are few published records for loess profiles from other regions in Serbia. Here we address this knowledge gap by investigating an 8 m thick loess sequence exposed near the village of Kisiljevo in north-eastern Serbia, describing the pedostratigraphy and environmental magnetic signatures in detail and placing these within a chronologic framework using quartz optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) on the 4–11 and 63–90 μm size fractions. Our results show dust accumulation over the last c. 32 ka, with substantial primary loess accumulation during the Early Holocene prior to the formation of the modern soil. We applied two age-depth modelling approaches to estimate dust mass accumulation rates: the Bacon.r software and ADmin model. Both yield high accumulation rates, especially during MIS 2, averaging 550–600 g m−2 a−1 which exceed estimates for other investigated loess sequences in the region. Keywords LoessDust mass accumulation ratesOSL datingEnvironmental magnetismEastern middle danube basin
Stephan Pötter
added a research item
Stable organic carbon and nitrogen isotopes can be used to interpret past vegetation patterns and ecosystem qualities. Here we present these proxies for two loess‐palaeosol sequences from the southern Carpathian Basin to reconstruct the palaeoenvironment during the past 350 ka and establish regional commonalities and differences. Until now, isotopic studies on loess sequences from this region were only conducted on deposits from the last glacial cycle. We conducted methodological tests concerning the complete decalcification of the samples prior to stable isotope analyses. Two decalcification methods (fumigation method and wet chemical acidification), different treatment times, and the reproducibility of carbon isotope analyses were tested. Obtained results indicate that the choice of the decalcification method is essential for organic carbon stable isotope analyses of loess‐palaeosol sequences because ratios vary by more than 10‰ between the wet chemical and fumigation methods, due to incomplete carbonate removal by the latter. Therefore, we suggest avoiding the fumigation method for studies on loess‐palaeosol sequences. In addition, our data show that samples with TOC content <0.2% bear increased potential for misinterpretation of their carbon isotope ratios. For our sites, C3‐vegetation is predominant and no palaeoenvironmental shifts leading to a change of the dominant photosynthesis pathway can be detected during the Middle to Late Pleistocene. Furthermore, the potential for further stable nitrogen isotope studies is highlighted, since this proxy seems to reflect especially past precipitation patterns and reveals favourable conditions in the southern Carpathian Basin, especially during interstadials.
Stephan Pötter
added a research item
The vast Pleistocene aeolian sediments of the Lower Danube Basin are an important archive of Quaternary palaeoclimate dynamics in Southeast Europe. The intercalation of loess layers and fossil soils, so called loess-palaeosol sequences (LPS) are interpreted as the results of oscillating climate phases in the past. However, the characteristics of these LPS vary quite strongly, since they are influenced by various factors. Those factors are mainly the (palaeo-) climate, the (palaeo-) relief and the availability of source material, which differ notably, even at a regional scale. Taken that into account, it is crucial to consider local characteristics while comparing data from different LPS. Against this backdrop, we compare two LPS from the dry Bărăgan steppe area in southeast Romania: Vlasca (VLA) and Balta Alba Kurgan (BAK). The two sections are approx. 100 km afar and developed under different geomorphic and climatic situations, resulting in varying accumulation rates and post-depositional alterations. Vlasca is a natural exposure on the left bank of the Danube River, whereas BAK is situated in a road cut, approx. 15 km south of the Carpathian bending. The two sites show remarkable differences concerning accumulation rates, grain size, colour, geochemical characteristics as well as magnetic properties, which are interpreted as the results of sediment availability, depositional milieu and especially post-depositional alterations. The variations and the commonalities are used, together with the chronological framework, to better understand the palaeoclimatic evolution of the Lower Danube Basin within the last glacial cycle and to gauge possible ramifications of palaeoclimatic variations on the migration of modern humans.
Wei Chu
added a research item
As data about modern human dispersals into Europe during the Upper Paleolithic accumulates, discussed scenarios have become increasingly complicated. The Banat in the southeastern Carpathian Basin, where multiple fossil and archaeological evidences indicate an early presence of modern humans, has become a key region in this discussion. One of the most important localities is the site of Tincova that has yielded a rich Aurignacian site whose association to both eastern and western Upper Paleolithic assemblages has been widely discussed. In spite of this, its age and site formation are still poorly understood. With that in mind, in the spring of 2016, we initiated a small-scale, preliminary excavation project to (1) identify the spatial extent of the site and (2) to reexamine the surrounding sediments. Our findings confirm the presence of an extensive Paleolithic site found in a stratigraphy similar to that found by Mogoșanu and whose sedimentary context is similar to other early Aurignacian sites in the region.
Wei Chu
added a research item
Stephan Pötter
added a research item
The loess-paleosol-sequences of the Carpathian basin play a crucial role in understanding the palaeoclimatic evolution of this complex landscape. Among other proxies, stable organic carbon and bulk nitrogen isotopes can be used to interpret past vegetation patterns and qualities of ecosystems, respectively. Here, we present these proxies for two loess-paleosol-sequences from the southern Carpathian Basin, in order to reconstruct the paleoclimatic commonalities and differences between the two sites. To ensure the reliability of our results, we conducted methodological tests concerning the complete decalcification of the samples prior to stable isotope analyses. Since residual carbonate distorts the carbon stable isotope signal of a sample towards enriched values, complete carbonate removal is crucial to obtain the “true” organic carbon stable isotope composition. We tested two different decalcification methods, direct treatment in pre-weighted tin boats and wet chemical acidification, as well as different treatment times for the latter method. Additionally, we performed a reproducibility test on selected samples with low TOC content to estimate the uncertainty of measured organic carbon stable isotope values of those samples. We suggest methodological tests prior to stable isotope studies, in order to obtain reliable results. Besides the methodological advances of our study, the stable carbon isotopes show no indicators for C4-vegetation in the southern Carpathian Basin. Striking conformities in the development of the stable nitrogen isotope records between the investigated sites bear potential for further, more detailed studies.
Janina J. Nett
added 3 research items
Supraregional (palaeo)geoecological studies require detailed knowledge of the distribution of aeolian sediments and their sources. Such spatial data can be visualised and shared in maps, but often these are constrained in their resolution or extent. This is the case for the Carpathian Basin, where cross-border maps are not detailed enough to answer many research questions. Problems occur especially along political borders due to different geological mapping standards and varying lithological definitions. Using a Geographic Information System (GIS), we compiled a map showing the distribution of loess and related Quaternary sediments in the Carpathian Basin, with unprecedented detail. We vectorised and analysed existing data (mainly from geological maps) and combined and transferred these into a common (loess) sediment classification system. This cross-border map shows the distribution of aeolian sediments in the Carpathian Basin at a scale of 1:1,500,000. For the northwestern and the southern Carpathian Basin, we added maps that clarify the extent of late Pleistocene and Holocene terrace and floodplain deposits, which were merged in the Main Map to highlight the predominant dust source areas for this region.
In Quaternary studies, tephras are widely used as marker horizons to correlate geological deposits. Therefore, accurate and precise dating is crucial. Among radiometric dating techniques, luminescence dating has the potential to date tephra directly using glass shards, volcanic minerals that formed during the eruption or mineral fragments that originate from the shattered country rock. Moreover, sediments that frame the tephra can be dated to attain an indirect age bracket. A review of numerous luminescence dating studies highlights the method's potential and challenges. While reliable direct dating of volcanic quartz and feldspar as a component in tephra is still methodically difficult mainly due to thermal and athermal signal instability, red thermoluminescence of volcanic quartz and the far‐red emission of volcanic feldspar have been used successfully. Furthermore, the dating of xenolithic quartz within tephra shows great potential. Numerous studies date tephra successfully indirectly. Dating surrounding sediments is generally straightforward as long as samples are not taken too close to the tephra horizons. Here, issues arise from the occurrence of glass shards within the sediments or unreliable determination of dose rates. This includes relocation of radioelements, mixing of tephra into the sediment and disregarding different dose rates of adjacent material.
Wei Chu
added a research item
The northern Carpathian Basin has important geological, paleoenvironmental, and archeological records that are key to our understanding of the first modern human occupation of Europe. However, the nature and timing of hominin settlements in the region during the Late Pleistocene remain poorly understood. New fieldwork at Seňa I, Slovakia, has identified the only known stratified open-air Aurignacian site in the region and assigned the assemblage to at least 33.5 ± 2.4 ka ago through infrared-stimulated luminescence dating. Additionally, new archeological and geoscientific data are presented. This paper discusses the Seňa I findings in the context of the regional archeological record and shows how they contribute to the establishment of clear time constraints for the Aurignacian in eastern central Europe.
Milivoj B. Gavrilov
added a research item
In investigating aridity in Vojvodina (a region in the northern part of Serbia), the Forestry Aridity Index (FAI) was used. This index was chosen due to being one of the most suitable indices for the analysis of the interaction of climate and vegetative processes, especially in forestry. The spatial distribution of the FAI for annual and decennial periods, as well as its annual trend, is analysed. Satisfactory compatibility between the low (forest) and high (steppe) FAI values with the forest and steppe vegetation on the Vojvodina terrains was obtained. The calculated values of the FAI showed that there was no particular annual trend. These results correspond to the earlier calculated values of the De Martonne aridity index and the Pinna combinative index. Therefore, it can be concluded that there were no recent changes in aridity during the observed period. Results of the correlation indicate weak linearity between the FAI, and the North Atlantic Oscillation and ElNiño South oscillation.
Christian Zeeden
added an update
Dear colleagues, The AGU session entitled “PP009: Cyclostratigraphy and Astronomical Forcing of Past Climates” aims to highlight recent advances in cyclostratigraphy and astronomical forced climate change. Also contributions on the various challenges in paleoclimatology and cyclostratigraphy are encouraged.
 
Stephan Pötter
added a research item
Loess-palaeosol sequences (LPSs) are widespread archives of Pleistocene environmental changes in Eurasia. In Europe, LPPs can be found from the oceanic regions of France in the NW via the Pannonian Basin to the continental plains to the north and east of the Black and Caspian seas. Their chronologies are determined by various direct and indirect dating methods; however, in most cases only a single method is applied. We present first results of a multidisciplinary dating study on a loess record from southeastern Romania, in which evidence of tephrochronology, magnetic stratigraphy, OSL dating, and radiocarbon dating are compared. The LPS of the Balta Alba Kurgan (BAK) profile is located in the steppe landscapes of the Lower Danube (Romania). The approximately 15 m thick LPS starts with an interglacial palaeosol complex at its base and is capped by the Holocene soil, which includes the distal flank of a Neolithic to Bronze Age tumulus. Furthermore, it comprises interstadial soil horizons and a tephra layer that was identified as the Campanian Ignimbrite (CI/Y5) tephra (39-40 ka BP). These chronostratigraphic markers function as anchor points for the high-resolution dating results. The chronostratigraphy obtained by the multiproxy dating approach forms the backbone of a detailed reconstruction of the spatio-temporal palaeoenvironmental changes during a time interval when anatomical modern humans (AMHs) dispersed into Europe.
Wei Chu
added a research item
Session description: Lithic artefacts are a principal source of information for reconstructing the cultural traditions, movement, behaviours and diets of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic people. While it is generally assumed that these artefacts were designed and used to carry out a wide range of specific tasks, in most cases we know little about the precise past functions of individual artefacts or artefact types. Our current poor understanding of the function of many tool types means that the epistemological challenge laid down decades ago by the influential calls for the development of middle-range theory (Binford 1962) remains largely unanswered. It also poses stumbling blocks for archaeological practice more widely, as a lack of understanding of artefact function stymies attempts to create robust artefact typologies, with consequent problems for the construction of cultural taxonomies. Nevertheless, piecemeal progress continues to be made in understanding archaeological artefact functions. New research methodologies and studies have generated unexpected results that have broadened our understanding of prehistoric subsistence strategies, technological habits and lithic material use. The aim of this session is to review current understandings and outstanding questions concerning archaeological and interdisciplinary approaches to identifying lithic tool use by past hunter-gatherer societies, including use-wear quantification and residue characterisation, experimental approaches and ethnoarchaeological studies. We invite papers focusing on methodological and interpretive questions and innovations, ideally supplemented with case studies expressing an engagement with questions of broad archaeological significance. We also welcome papers based on work by, collaborations with and ethnographies of contemporary and historical hunter-gatherer communities and their members. We intend the eventual publication of papers from this session as a special journal issue or collection. Proposals for oral presentations (15 mins) and posters welcome; please get in touch if you have any questions. Abstracts (150-300 words) can be submitted at www.e-a-a.org/EAA2019 until 14 February 2018.
Wei Chu
added a research item
To examine how the first modern humans may have migrated across Europe, we combined an eco-cultural niche model (ECNM) with a least cost path model to understand the most parsimonious route between the earliest modern human remains at the Peștera cu Oase (42-37 kya) and the earliest associated archaeological site at Willendorf II-3 (43.5 kya). Our model indicates that the most likely corridor was along the palaeoDanube.
Christian Zeeden
added a research item
Loess-paleosol sequences represent the spatially most widespread geoarchives across Eurasia. Hence, the assessment of chrono-and lithostratigraphic patterns and differences of these terrestrial paleoclimatic records represents a key to unravel the climate evolution of Eurasia. Yet, the reconstruction of its climatic history is still challenging, i.e. due to time scale uncertainties and interpretation of paleoenvironmental proxy data. This represents a major limitation for understanding the interaction and evolution of Northern Hemisphere climate systems over the continental areas, and also their relation to marine proxy records. Inconsistencies and crucial issues concerning timing, correlation and interpretation of these loess-paleosol records are outlined. In this study, we aim to investigate the effect of time scale (in)consistency for paleoclimatic interpretations of several loess-paleosol sequences from Eurasia. Firstly, we test the effect of different stratigraphical relationships/correlations by using original time scales, and correlations to different reference datasets. Secondly, we utilize linear mathematical models of reference datasets (including orbital parameters and a deep marine oxygen isotope record)-Then we compare the observed relationships to explain the patterns observed in loess paleoclimate data. This way the effect of alignment and different stratigraphic (age model) interpretations onto inferred origins of paleosol formation in loess records are compared. Finally, we draw conclusions on how important time scale alignment is for the interpretation of forcing mechanisms driving loess-paleosol sequence formation. The outlined approach represents a crucial contribution to achieve a common stratigraphic interpretation, and represents a step forward in overcoming current timing/age differences between different records.
Zoran Peric
added a research item
Most of the loess sites in northeastern Serbia are situated on the bank of the Danube River. These sections are not characterized by the continuity as are the loess formations in Vojvodina. In this region we can mainly find smaller, isolated sections lying over older slopes and river terraces. The loess in this region can be described as a typical steppe sediment of terrestrial character, streaked with plant root channels and numerous remains of terrestrial gastropods and traces of steppe rodents.. Tephra dispersal during the Campanian Ignimbrite (Italy) eruption: implications for ultra-distal ash transport during the large caldera-forming eruption. Tzedakis PC (2012) Volcanic ash layers illuminate the resilience of Neanderthals and early modern humans to natural hazards.
Zoran Peric
added 2 research items
Aeolian sediments represent ideal materials for the application of luminescence dating methods due to their mineralogical composition showing high amounts of quartz and feldspars. These minerals possess a whole range of luminescence characteristics that make them suitable for luminescence dating. In the case of aeolian transported dust forming loess deposits, it can be assumed that individual mineral grains were completely exposed to sunlight and were sufficiently bleached prior to deposition. The investigated core near the section Veliki surduk (45 o 17-18'N and 20 o 12-15'E) on the Titel loess plateau was chosen for dating, as it shows high rates of sedimentation and no apparent hiatuses which makes this loess-palaeosol-sequence one of the most detailed palaeoclimatic archives of the last two glacial-interglacial cycles in Eastern Europe. In order to obtain detailed stratigraphic, climatic and chronological information from the Titel loess plateau, a core was drilled to a depth of 23 m in the northern area of the plateau, which provided 99 samples for luminescence dating. The results of this study represent the most detailed luminescence-based age model in Eastern European loess to date. Using the classic SAR protocol for dating, it has been found that the quartz grains from the Titel loess plateau are precise dosimeters up to ~120 Gy, followed by an apparent saturation of the signal. The highest established dose of feldspars measured by the modified SAR post-IRIR 200,290 protocol was 854.0±24 Gy. In this way, it has been proven that in the mentioned time range, OSL dating of coarse grain quartz yields reliable age estimates up to 35.8±3.7 ka while the feldspar grains yield ages up to 238±13 ka. Thus, quartz ages allow for reliable dating of MIS 2 deposits while feldspar ages shows better correspondence for the older sections up to MIS 7. The post-IRIR 200,290 protocol did not determine the saturation of feldspar minerals, which has largely raised the age limit for luminescence dating at the Veliki surduk section, and most probably, also on other loess profiles in Serbia. The application of various protocols and measurements applied to different groups of minerals and their fractions give these research a far-reaching methodological significance.
On the territory of Serbia, Pleistocene aeolian deposits are mainly distributed in the Vojvodina region where they cover large areas only separated by the alluvial plains and terraces of the Danube and Tisza rivers. Unlike the loess sequences in the Vojvodina, in northeastern Serbia the loess formations are quite discontinuous. In this region we mainly find smaller, isolated loess blankets lying over older slopes and river terraces. Here we present first results from a typical loess site of this region located in the vicinity of the village of Kisiljevo. The investigated loess-paleosol sequence is exposed in the eastern part of the village (44.737548´N737548´N, 21.404791É). In the current stage of this study, it was possible to conduct a detailed description of the profile, color determination of the sediment and the determination of initial low field magnetic susceptibility The Kisiljevo loess sequence is fairly simple in its composition. The profile exposes a round 11 m thick series of loess and is interspersed with weakly developed paleosols. The profile displays a generally uniform coloration, varying from pale yellow, light yellowish brown to light olive brown loess. On a depth of about 7 meters, the loess is intercalated with a distinctive layer of approximately 50 cm thickness. This layer is densely intersected with insect channels and cavities of recent age and shows all features of volcanic ash. The most likely candidate for the origin of this potential tephra layer is the Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) super-eruption of the Phlegraean Fields (Italy) dated to 39-40 ka. The presence of CI tephra on this site would suggest a more western and northern distribution of the Campanian Ignimbrite eruption ash than stated in previous studies (e.g. Fitzsimmons et al., 2013; Smith et al., 2016; Veres et al., 2013). Nevertheless, it coincides with the finding of the CI ash at the eastern end of the Danube Iron Gates (Lowe et al., 2012) and thus, providing so far a minimum northern extend of the CI-tephra dispersal in the Carpathian Basin. The geographical location of the Kisiljevo loess profile presents a unique opportunity to reconstruct the paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental conditions in the transitional region between northeast Serbia and the Carpathian basin at the western end of the Iron Gates. The expected results of this study will contribute to the better understanding of the connections between the paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental conditions of the Carpathian Basin and the Balkan region.
Wei Chu
added a research item
Early dated modern human remains Aurignacian lithic assemblages and artifacts (c. 42 ka cal BP) along the Danube catchment have been put forward as evidence that the river was an important conduit for modern humans during their initial dispersal(s) into Europe. Central to this model is the Carpathian Basin, a region in Central European with unique geology and climate (c. 300k sq km) through which the Middle Danube flows. Still, the role of the Carpathian Basin in early modern human migrations is poorly understood as the region's early Upper Paleolithic sites have not been verified and tested alongside the more extensive surrounding archeological record. Current archeological research along the Danube catchment has been limited to specific regions such as the surrounding highlands while little is known from the Basin itself. Additionally, although a greater emphasis on collection reexamination, site formation processes and redating efforts has helped to clarify erroneous sites in the region, many findspots remain poorly understood while others with single and multiple layers are only just being identified/reexcavated. There is also surprisingly little debate among archeologists concerning topographic and paleoclimatic variability of the Middle Danube that could have influenced modern human migration. To evaluate this, data from the Carpathian Basin (CB), are compiled to explore the possible expansion of the early Upper Paleolithic from Southeastern Europe into Central Europe. Known sites are positioned within a broad synchronic perspective of modern human subsistence in the CB across a varied spatial, climatic and environmental context. This paper then presents results from new Aurignacian sites excavations at in the Carpathian Basin and integrates their new data into the existing frameworks of the earliest occupation of Europe.
Wei Chu
added a research item
Early Upper Paleolithic sites in the Danube catchment have been put forward as evidence that the river was an important conduit for modern humans during their initial settlement of Europe. Central to this model is the Carpathian Basin, a region covering most of the Middle Danube. As the archaeological record of this region is still poorly understood, this paper aims to provide a contextual assessment of the Carpathian Basin’s geological and paleoenvironmental archives, starting with the late Upper Pleistocene. Subsequently, it compiles early Upper Paleolithic data from the region to provide a synchronic appraisal of the Aurignacian archaeological evidence. It then uses this data to test whether the relative absence of early Upper Paleolithic sites is obscured by a taphonomic bias. Finally, it reviews current knowledge of the Carpathian Basin’s archaeological record and concludes that, while it cannot reject the Danube corridor hypothesis, further (geo)archaeological work is required to understand the link between the Carpathian Basin and Central and Southeastern Europe.
Christian Zeeden
added a research item
In September 2016, the annual meeting of the International Union for Quaternary Research’s Loess and Pedostratigraphy Focus Group, traditionally referred to as a LoessFest, met in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA. The 2016 LoessFest focused on “thin” loess deposits and loess transportation surfaces. This LoessFest included 75 registered participants from 10 countries. Almost half of the participants were from outside the United States, and 18 of the participants were students. This review is the introduction to the special issue for Quaternary Research that originated from presentations and discussions at the 2016 LoessFest. This introduction highlights current understanding and ongoing work on loess in various regions of the world and provides brief summaries of some of the current approaches/strategies used to study loess deposits.
Milivoj B. Gavrilov
added a research item
Magnetic properties of soils formed in and on loess substrate and their relation to climate are of general interest in paleoclimate and pedological research. The loess-paleosol sequences (LPS) in the Vojvodina region (Serbia) have been the subject of intensive study. On the Bačka loess plateau (BLP), covering approximately 2500 km2, six different soil types are observed. While the stratigraphy of the LPS has been investigated the relation between climatic factors and magnetic properties of surface soil have not yet been examined. In this study we analyze 50 samples of chernozem soils, which have been dominated by climatic factors during their formation. Previous studies have confirmed that the formation of magnetic properties in soils is related to climate, and especially rainfall, because of the response of hematite and goethite to different, climatically-driven regimes. The sensitivity of certain iron-bearing minerals to climate has also been documented in the literature. Climatic variables for the BLP were derived from six-decade national meteorological datasets. Low frequency magnetic susceptibility (X) and frequency dependent magnetic susceptibility (Xfd) were determined for each site and compared to the mean annual precipitation (MAP), mean annual temperature (MAT) and the De Martonne aridity index (IDM). The meteorological variables were interpolated to sampling points by Kriging method in ArcMap 10.1. Our results suggest that values of X and Xfd both decrease from south to north and so does the precipitation. Thus, our work provides new evidence for the relationship between precipitation, temperature, aridity and magnetic properties of modern top soils. The obtained and analyzed data may help in the future to improve transfer functions of the relationship between magnetic susceptibility and climatic data.
Christian Zeeden
added a research item
The correlation of loess sequences across global, hemispheric, regional and local scales is one of the most fundamental aspects to loess research. However, despite recent progress in stratigraphic and chronometric methods, the correlation of many loess sequences is often still based on untested assumptions over loess deposition, preservation, soil type and age. As such, the aim of this overview is to provide an adequate framework for evaluation of the accuracy of loess correlations applied on different temporal and spatial scales across Eurasia. This opens up possibilities for detailed temporal and spatial environmental reconstructions across the huge loess provinces of the Eurasia and provides a framework for future extension of this to North America. Additionally, we evaluate the potential development of appropriate sub-millennial scale loess correlations, as well as essentially important chronological approaches for establishing valid correlations between different loess records, such as current improvements in tephrochronology, 14C and luminescence dating techniques.
Janina J. Nett
added 6 research items
Eolian deposits such as loess-paleosol sequences are being used intensively for paleoenvironmental studies. In order to accurately interpret proxy data variability through time, reliable age models are essential. Age models are transferring stratigraphical thickness to geological time, and represent the basis of most studies investigating the timing and/or rate of changes in Earth's history. As such, age models are based on different methods. For last glacial terrestrial deposits, luminescence dating is often the most useful radiometric method, especially beyond the time range of radiocarbon dating. Although widely applicable, luminescence age estimates are often not precise, but age models can be improved by correlating clearly identifiable features in proxy data. This often increases the resolution of the age model, but statistical aspects are debated (see e.g. Hilgen et al., 2014). Different age models were created for the upper 16 m of the loess-paleosol sequence of Urluia in the Lower Danube Basin (cf. Obreht et al., 2017). One age model is based on luminescence dating of polymineral fine grain samples using the pIRIR290 protocol (Thiel et al., 2011); another one uses a correlative stratigraphy based on paleoenvironmental proxy data. While the performance of the luminescence data speaks for a reliable chronology, radiometric ages for the oldest samples do not fit the correlative age model. In a depth between 7.7-8.7 m there is a steep increase in equivalent doses by ∼260 Gy (ca. 60 ka). In the lower part of the profile, only a minor increase in equivalent doses was observed, which might suggest field saturation of these samples. As there are no sedimentological indicators of erosion in the sequence, the reason for the sudden increase and a corresponding overestimation of ages with regards to the expected stratigraphy remains elusive. Here we present a case study of the Urluia loess-paleosol sequence where age models based on lumines-cence dating and correlative methods are contrasted, and are challenging to bring into agreement.
Millennial scale climate variability is seen in various records of the northern hemisphere for the last glacial cycle. Their expression represents a promising stratigraphic correlation tool beyond the temporal resolution of numerical dating, e.g. luminescence dating. Highest (correlative) dating accuracy is a prerequisite of comparing different geoarchives, especially when related to archaeological findings or outstanding environmental events, e.g. volcanic ashes, dust storms, floods. Here we attempt to constrain the timing of loess geoarchives in southeastern Europe, and discuss the challenge of dealing with smoothed records. In this contribution, we use several paleoenvironmental proxy datasets from the middle and lower Danube catchment, which may be interpreted as showing smoothed millennial scale climate variability. A comparison of these loess data to the Greenland ice cores records indicates a rather unusual expression of millennial scale climate variability shown in these records, possibly due to smoothing of proxy signals by various processes. To explain the observed patterns, we experiment with low-pass filters of reference records to simulate a signal smoothing by natural processes such as e.g. bioturbation and pervasive diagenesis. Low-pass filters avoid high frequency oscillations and focus on the longer period (lower frequency) variability, here using cutoff periods from 1-15 kyr. In our opinion, low-pass filters represent simple models for the expression of millennial scale climate variability in low sedimentation environments, and in sediments where signals are smoothed by e.g. pedogentic processes. Using different low-pass filter thresholds allows to (a) explain observed patterns and their potential relation to millennial scale climate variability, (b) propose these filtered/smoothed signals as correlation targets for records lacking millennial scale recording, but showing smoothed climate variability on supra-millennial scales, and (c) determine which time resolution specific (loess) records can reproduce when sampled at a specific resolution, despite of pervasive signal smoothing. Comparing smoothed records to reference data may be a step forward especially for last glacial stratigraphies, where millennial scale patterns are certainly present but not directly recorded in some geoarchives. Last year, a concept was presented at the EGU. This poster focuses on the applicability, and presents several case studies.
Christian Zeeden
added a research item
In this study, we compare two independent paleoenvironmental proxies for a loess sequence in northern Serbia, in the southern Carpathian Basin: novel n-alkane biomarkers and traditional land snail assemblages. Both are associated with other, more widely used proxy data for loess sections, such as environmental magnetism, grain size, and geochemical indices. Together, these paleoenvironmental proxy records provide evidence for the continued dominance of grasslands during the Late Pleistocene in the Southern Carpathian Basin. It is contrary to other European loess provinces, which are characterized by high diversity of Late Pleistocene environments (ranging from tundra-like to deciduous forest habitats). These findings highlight the southeastern part of Carpathian Basin as an important, but still insufficiently investigated, biogeographical refugium, and biodiversity preservation zone. The reason for this is a mostly stable paleoclimate for much of the Late Pleistocene.
Christian Zeeden
added a research item
The possibility to use colour data, as extracted from two selected loess-paleosol sequences, is discussed here. Colour data are a fast and inexpensive method of proxy data generation. We compare the outcome from analysing outcrop images taken by digital cameras in the field and spectral colour data as determined under controlled laboratory conditions. By nature, differences can be expected due to variations in illumination, moisture, and sample preparation. Outcrop inclination may be an issue for photographs; correction for this is possible when marks can be used for rectification. In both cases the data extracted from the images match the visual impression of the photos well, and are useful for obtaining a more quantitative measure for field observations. Smoothness (as measured by autocorrelation) is high for an image from Achenheim/France, where an image with a width of ca. 1.1 m and a depth of 1.6 m was analysed. Data from a narrower image part from Şanoviţa/Romania are noisier. In both cases, a significant correlation between data extracted by digital image analysis and laboratory measurements could be established, suggesting that image analysis is a useful tool where outcrop- and light-conditions allow good photographs with similar illumination, especially where high resolution proxy data is required.
Frank Lehmkuhl
added a research item
Local to regional paleoenvironmental reactions to past climate changes are preserved in loess-paleosol sequences (LPS). In order to extract this information we used a multi-methodological approach in the Upper Paleolithic site of Krems-Wachtberg East in Lower Austria. Detailed field studies and high-resolution geochemical, colorimetric, and granulometric analyses help to understand the interplay between soil formation, loess accumulation, and surface processes. In comparison to the main profile/excavation of Krems-Wachtberg 2005–2015 it can be stated that OSL- and 14C-ages as well as the (archeological) stratigraphy of both profiles are comparable. However, pedogenic features are more evident at Krems-Wachtberg East. The new investigations show that well-established weathering indices do not clearly trace interstadial soil formation in the studied profile. Apart from this fact, single specific elements like Fe and Mg react more sensitive to initial pedogenic processes. Weak pedogenesis can further be evidenced by quantitative spectrophotometric results. The latter is also capable of refining and supporting the stratigraphy/pedology based on field analyses. As a general rule, next to loess also initial soil horizons of the MIS 3 are remarkably rich in primary carbonates indicating that soil formation took place in an alkaline environment. Due to the fact that hydrolysis of feldspars could not clearly be detected by the application of pedochemical indices, soil formation was probably limited to the oxidation of iron bearing minerals and weak carbonate leaching. These phases of favorable climatic conditions in terms of pedogenesis were terminated by increasing dust input towards the onset of MIS 2. The eolian deposits are overprinted during reducing conditions in soils and/or modified by colluvial processes. Altogether, weak pedogenesis can be reliably detected using a multi-methodological approach which leads to enhanced paleoenvironmental interpretations. The OSL-ages put the profile in a range of ∼41 to 30 ka. We present a tentative correlation of the studied loess profile to the record of the North Greenland Ice Core Project (NGRIP) for the part of the profile where OSL and 14C complement each other.
Zoran Peric
added 2 research items
R script associated with the manuscript 'Quartz OSL dating of late Quaternary Chinese and Serbian loess: a cross Eurasian comparison of dating results and mass accumulation rates' by Zoran Peric et al.
Equivalent dose measurements (De, recycling ratio and recuperation), dose recovery tests (Dr) and luminescence ages for the Titel loess core and the the Lingtai loess section. The file also includes the grain-size distribution data for the Lingtai loess section and the Loess Mass Accumulation Rate (MAR g m-2 a-1) calculated for Titel and Lingtai based on modelling output.
Zoran Peric
added 2 research items
Luminescence dating of the Titel loess core from the Veliki Surduk section in Serbia.
In this paper we introduce the term “loess pyramid” for an unusual form of relief in thick loess deposits. From a distance, the loess pyramid resembles a haystack; this is why it is known as “the haystack” by the local residents. Its erosional origin is conditional, occurring only where loess deposits are thick and gully erosion changes direction significantly. We describe a loess pyramid on a thick loess section near the Tisa (Tisza) River in Titel province, Serbia. The pyramid has a maximum altitude of 111.6 m, a width of 82 m and a length of 52 m. It is framed by two smaller gullies that belong to one hydrological system, but each has different morphological properties. The gullies output directly to the floodplain of the Tisa River, which cut the escarpment that the pyramid is set within. Given the relatively small number of references from the international and geomorphological literature on such landforms, this study represents an interesting contribution to the geomorphology of loess landscapes.
Igor Obreht
added a research item
Reconstructing dust Mass Accumulation Rate (MAR) from loess deposits is critical to understanding past atmospheric mineral dust activity and requires accurate independent age models from loess deposits across Europe and Asia. Previous correlations of loess in Europe and China have tended to focus on multimillennial timescales, with no detailed examination of dust MAR at the two ends of the Eurasian loess belt on shorter, sub-orbital scales. Here we present a detailed quartz optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) chronology from the Serbian Titel Loess Plateau (Veliki Surduk loess core) and the Chinese Loess Plateau (Lingtai section). The luminescence ages pass internal tests and show consistent increases in age with depth, with no obvious major hiatuses. However, as reported before, it seems the quartz OSL technique is only capable of accurate age determination up to accrued doses of ca. 150 Gy (ca. 30-40 ka) due to approaching field saturation of the quartz OSL signal. Two age-depth models were used to reconstruct dust MARs, where one utilises OSL data solely and the other additionally makes assumptions about sedimentation rates. Although short-term fluctuations in MAR are model dependent, general MAR patterns between the two sites are very similar, with peak MAR occurring rather late in the last glacial (ca. 13-25 ka). This suggests that at least broad scale trends in dust activity within the last glacial period may be similar at a continental scale.
Christian Zeeden
added a research item
Loess-paleosol sequences are the most extensive terrestrial paleoclimate records in Europe and Asia documenting atmospheric circulation patterns, vegetation, and sedimentary dynamics in response to glacial-interglacial cyclicity. Between the two sides of the Eurasian continent, differences may exist in response and response times to glacial changes and finding these is essential to understand the climate systems of the northern hemisphere. Therefore, assessment of common patterns and regional differences in loess-paleosol sequences (LPS) is vital, but remains, however, uncertain. Another key to interpret these records is to constrain the mechanisms responsible for the formation and preservation of paleosols and loess layers in these paleoclimate archives. This study therefore compares LPS magnetic susceptibility records as proxies for paleosol formation intensity for selected sites from the central Chinese Loess Plateau and the Carpathian Basin in Europe over the last 440 kyr. Inconsistencies and crucial issues concerning the timing, correlation and paleoclimate potential of selected Eurasian LPS are outlined. Our comparison of Eurasian LPS shows generally similar patterns of paleosol formation, while highlighting several crucial differences. Especially for paleosols developed around ~ 200 and ~ 300 ka, the reported timing of soil formation differs by up to 30 ka. In addition, a drying and cooling trend over the last ~ 300 ka has been documented in Europe, with no such evidence in the Asian records. The comparison shows that there is still uncertainty in defining the chronostratigraphic framework for these records on glacial-interglacial time scales in the order of 5–30 kyr for the last ~ 440 ka. We argue that the baseline of the magnetic susceptibility proxy in loess from the Carpathian Basin is the most striking difference between European LPS and the Chinese Loess Plateau. In our opinion, many of the current timing/age differences may be overcome once a comparable stratigraphic interpretation is achieved.
Rudenc Ruka
added a research item
Neziri Cave is a large cavity in the karst region of Mati District in northcentral Albania. It belongs to a series of caves that are known since decades for their long Holocene cultural sequences, including Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age remains. Starting in 2012, three of the caves became the subject of investigations by the German Albanian Palaeolithic project (GAP) in the framework of the Collaborative Research Centre 806 “Our Way to Europe”, funded by the German Science Foundation. Test excavations reached Pleistocene deposits and give access to Middle and Upper Palaeolithic layers in Blazi Cave as well as a Mesolithic level in Neziri Cave. The latter is presented in this paper. The Neziri Cave assemblage is one of the rare in situ and well dated early Mesolithic samples in Albania. Furthermore, the cultural sequence of Neziri Cave is of scientific importance as it records the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition and therefore adds valuable information to the ongoing debate about culture change at the beginning of the Holocene. In Neziri Cave, the earliest Neolithic fireplaces are separated by a sterile deposit from the underlying Mesolithic level. The limited extent of the test excavation and the small size of the archaeological sample preclude any definite interpretation so far. However, Neziri Cave holds a great potential to further explore the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic history of north-central Albania.
Janina J. Nett
added 2 research items
This contribution focuses on two PhD projects, which are integrated within the collaborative University (Germany). The main research focus is the migration of anatomical modern human (AMH) to Europe. We concentrate on the paleoenvironmental conditions on the route through southeastern Europe. This links the region with the earliest fossils of Homo sapiens sapiens (so far known) in the Middle East, Anatolia, the Northwestern Black Sea, the Balkans and the Pannonian Basin. One PhD topic deals with the sedimentological and geochemical approach mainly from loess and loess-like sediments to reconstruct the paleoenvironmental conditions; the other PhD topic places an emphasis on the exact timing of those sedimentary records via luminescence dating. In particular the investigation of loess-paleosol sequences plays a central role. Geoarchives in Hungary, Serbia and Romania are of main interest for the project. The investigations will focus mainly on the loess and loess like sediments. However, data will be compared to further geoarchives, such as lacustrine sediments, speleothemes and marine records, to get a complete insight into the climatic evolution. First analyses include the loesspaleosol sequences at Bodrogkereztúr (Hungary, east of Miskolz), Orlovat (Serbia, north of ce of South and West Morava).
The Bodrogkeresztúr loess-paleosol sequence in northeastern Hungary was investigated to improve our understanding of the paleoenvironmental conditions at the foothills of the Carpathians and their impact on the Gravettian population. The main part of the section is comprised of eolian deposits that enable the reconstruction of the paleoenvironmental conditions. This study comprises grain size, geochemical, color and rock magnetic analysis, as well as luminescence and radiocarbon dating. The chronological data place this section from later MIS 3 until present, but also suggest erosion of the sediment in the late MIS 2 and the (early) Holocene. Moreover, generally more humid conditions during late MIS3 and early MIS2 are observed, in comparison to other regions in the Carpathian Basin. Main dust source was most likely the Tisza floodplain, and the material was probably transported to the site from a northeastern wind direction. Increased weathering led to the formation of a well-developed MIS3 paleosol. The loess exhibits elevated values of frequency dependent magnetic susceptibility that highlight the relatively mild conditions during loess formation. Nevertheless, two loess layers with high sand abundance in the profile indicate colder and dryer conditions with increased eolian dynamics during short periods within MIS2. Finally, the Bodrogkeresztúr section highlights the unique microclimatic conditions at the foothill areas of the Carpathian Basin, which may have offered a favorable environment for the Gravettian population.
Jürgen Richter
added 2 research items
The leaf-shaped pieces of the Central Europan Micoquian resulted from complex operatory sequences comprising numerous steps. Their analysis has proved the diversity of their production modes and the variety of their use as long-tem tools. Criteria of analysis are discussed, particularly the observation of sequences among the negatives of detachments on the surface of a piece (neighbouring and intersecting detachments). In order to standardise data collections, a form sheet has been set up for the description of operaty sequences. As an example, one leaf-shaped tool from Sesselfelsgrotte (Bavaria) was analysed.
Janina J. Nett
added an update
 
Janina J. Nett
added a research item
The concerns brought forward by Lengyel and Wilczyński (2017) deal mainly with the putatively erroneous archeostratigraphical classification of the Ságvár Upper Paleolithic site in the context of two loess-paleosol sequences that were investigated in Bösken et al. (2017). The aim of the original study by Bösken et al. (2017) was not to re-evaluate the archeology of the site, but to investigate the paleoenvironmental conditions. According to the published literature, it is still not clear how to allocate the site culturally. While the authors were not in the position to validate a new archeological classification of the site, the classical interpretation of the site was followed. Nevertheless, possible future changes in the archeostratigraphy have no effect on the fidelity of the paleoenvironmental results, which are based on absolutely-dated proxy data.
Christian Zeeden
added a research item
The culture and dispersal of early modern humans are top priorities of many research agendas. While the debate primarily centers on genetics, dispersal trajectories and points of earliest presence, the context (climate, landscape, demography, culture) of the colonizing process is usually considered in a coarse-grained manner or even ignored. To understand the context of human dispersal and to decipher relevant push and pull factors requires the consideration of multiple environmental proxies and the research on different geographic scales. In this paper, we present the Late Quaternary Carpathian Basin as a specific context area of early modern human dispersal into Europe. The multitude of Early Upper Paleolithic sites in this region suggests that it was part of a major dispersal corridor along the Danube and its catchment area some 40,000 years ago. The Aurignacian land-use model describes the interaction of early modern humans with their environment. One important parameter is the specific distribution of archaeological sites that exemplifies their boundedness to specific eco-zones. To reconstruct the latter, paleo-environmental proxies and archaeological data are examined together in regional vector models and in a GIS based landscape archaeology approach. In the final section, we present the Carpathian Basin as an idiosyncratic habitat that mirrors the dynamics and complexity of early modern human adaptation.
Christian Zeeden
added a research item
Age-depth-relationships are essential to understand expressions of Earth history. Age-depth-relationships reveal the environmental significance of (terrestrial) sediment deposits and relate them to other paleoenvironmental archives. Although luminescence-based ages are of paramount importance, their incorporation in age-depth- models is limited due to the convolved uncertainties with unknown proportions of systematic and random parts. Here, we use an inverse modelling approach for fine-grained quartz OSL ages of loess deposits to (i) generate a probability density function of the random uncertainty part and (ii) use this function to recalculate and improve stratigraphically related OSL ages. Our approach can be applied to other luminescence dating techniques. Applying the algorithm to synthetic data sets generates valid results, despite an average underestimation of the relative random uncertainty by ∼18%. All tests show that precision of the inverse modelling of uncertainty parts depends only on the number of samples per dataset. By using the output of the approach on published data the precision of a late Pleistocene loess sequence chronology was improved by 21–30%.
Thomas Hauck
added 2 research items
After more than 80 years of Yabrud II rock-shelter excavations by A. Rust in Syria, the site’s Levantine Mousterian and Early Upper Paleolithic archaeological sequence does not have yet a unanimous archaeological interpretation. The present paper tries to propose new understanding for the sequence and, as a result, it appears to be of a “dotted line” character with no continuity at all except the layer 5–2 Levantine Aurignacian A / Phase 3 industry sequence. The latter industry is suggested to have its origin in a specific facies of Southern Levantine Early Ahmarian and being then transformed into Levantine Aurignacian B / Phase 4 industry, a possible “industrial starting point” for European Proto-Aurignacian.
- 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, chronological and archaeological reassessment of Banat Aurignacian settlements at Tincova, Coşava and Româneşti- Dumbrǎviţa. This study presents the attribute analysis of the Aurignacian lithic assemblage at Româneş ti-Dumbrǎviţa I, involving both old and recently excavated collections. Alongside the more accurate identification of the main technological and typological features, pointing to a Protoaurignacian/Early Aurignacian assignation of the Early Upper Palaeolithic industry here, new chronological landmarks, much older than previously considered, became available. Preliminary thermoluminescence results point to an estimated age between 45 and 40 ka for the main accumulation in GH3 at Româneşti, thus indicating a possible contemporaneity of the Banat Aurignacian and the Oase AMH finds. A brief comparative outline of the Banat Aurignacian settlements is also provided, followed by and attempt at placing the local Aurignacian into the European Early Upper Palaeolithic landscape.
Rudenc Ruka
added 2 research items
Hulumtimi sistematik për periudhën e paleolitit në Shqipëri është ende në hapat e tij të parë. Me gjithë numrin në rritje të objekteve parahistorike prej guri në koleksionet e fondeve muzeale, numri i objekteve që vijnë nga gërmime të kujdesshme mbetet i ulët (Korkuti dhe Petruso 1993. Petruso et al. 1994;. Schuldenrein 1998 2001; Runnels et al. 1999;. Leblanc 1996; Harrold 1999; Përzhita et al. 2014;. Hauck et al. 2016). Shumica e pikave të shënuara si vendgjetje paleolititike në hartën arkeologjike të Shqipërisë janë site sipërfaqësore të cilave u mungon konteksti stratigrafik (Ruka et al. 2014). Identifikimi i vendgjetjeve të hapura dhe të shpellave të padëmtuara është sfiduese për shkak të ndërhyrjeve intensive antropogjenike në peizazh në disa rajone (bujqësia, shpyllëzimi etj.) si dhe për arsye të terrenit të thyer në zonën malore të Shqipërisë. Projekti GAP aktualisht ka përqendruar vëmendjen në tri zona: Në Lagunën e Butrintit në pjesën jugore të Shqipërisë, në gjirin e Orikumit në bregdetin jugor pranë Vlorës dhe në krahinën e Matit në Shqipërinë veri-qendrore (Fig. 1). Puna arkeologjike në terren ka përfshirë sërvei rreth pikave të njohura si dhe gërmime në vendgjetje të përzgjedhura. Në kuadër të Qendrës Kërkimore Bashkëpunuese 906 “Rruga jonë drejt Evropës” kërkimi arkeologjik është shoqëruar me një projekt të shpimit të ujërave të ëmbla në liqenin e Ohrit dhe një sërvei gjeo-elektrik në jug të Butrintit (Wagner et al 2009, 2010, 2011,. Panagiotopoulos et al . 2014).