Precision dating of the Palaeolithic :
chronological mapping of the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic of Eurasia
PalaeoChron is working in several countries with a wide range of teams (see map). From Western Europe to eastern Siberia and Mongolia, we are working with archaeologists and museum curators to build reliable chronologies for some of the key Middle and Upper Palaeolithic sequences. Without this, comparisons between different sequences are virtually impossible. Here are some examples of the sites we are involved with:
DENISOVA CAVE, RUSSIA
We are working with Anatoliy Derevianko, Mikhael Shunkov and their team on the dating of this key site that has yielded a new member of the Homo family.
Since the discovery of the new Denisovan species at the eponymous site, the focus of the archaeological world has been on Denisova Cave. PalaeoChron is working at the site to attempt to place a chronological framework on the complex presence of Denisovan, modern human and Neanderthal at the site. In addition, we are also working on other sites in the area such as Ohkladnikov and Kara Bom.
KOSTENKI-BORSCHEVO SITES, RUSSIA
A complex of key sites on the Don River, near Voronezh
The Kostenki-Borschevo complex of sites is virtually unique in the Palaeolithic world in terms of the sheer concentration of important sites in one location. We have been working for several years at the site of Kostenki 14 with Andrey Sinitsyn and Paul Haesaerts to date the Palaeolithic sequence and the human remains. We will continue with dating other sites from the complex (Kostenki 1, 8, 21, etc).
Several stunning rich burials dating to the Mid-Upper Palaeolithic
Otto and Nicholas Bader worked at the site of Sungir, near Vladimir, NE of Moscow, one of the most important sites for documenting the arrival of complex burial rituals and early Upper Palaeolithic behaviours never seen before at such scale. Radiocarbon dating has been hampered by treatments applied to the burials but new single amino acid dating undertaken at the ORAU has delivered reliable results for the first time. PalaeoChron aims to continue this work. In addition, we are involved in the renewed investigations at the site with the help of Konstantin Gavrilov, Alexandra Buzhilova and other colleagues.
KSAR AKIL, LEBANON
Important for the discovery of the "Egbert" fossil in 1938
Ksar Akil is the reference Palaeolithic site for the Near East. It was excavated by the American Jesuits Doherty, Ewing, and Murphy (see photo) between 1937-38 and 1947-48, and later by Tixier between 1969-1975.
In 1938, Ewing’s team discovered the skull and postcranial remains of a juvenile Homo sapiens, commonly known as “Egbert”. More fossil were discovered from lower and higher levels. PalaeoChron will be investigating the age of the sequence at Ksar Akil and the inferred age of all human fossils, building on previous work at the site by Dr Katerina Douka. The help of Christopher Bergman and other colleagues and museum curators is invaluable in this work.