PalaeoChron members were in Croatia this week at Velika Pećina (Kličevica) working with Ivor Karavanić and his team excavating at the site.
Croatia has always been a key place in terms of Neanderthals and modern humans by virtue of the famous sites of Vindija and Krapina, the latter produced almost 1000 human fossils. Vindija, of course, contributed the key DNA-rich bones to the Neanderthal genome project. These sites are in NW Croatia, where Pleistocene caves are more commonly found. In Dalmatia these types of site are more rare and most of the occupations are open-air. Some of the sites here contain elements of a so-called ‘Micro-Mousterian’ lithic industry.
We visited Velika Pećina (Kličevica), aiming to take samples for AMS dating, and we also sampled material from the site of Mujina Pećina in Dalmatia. Mujina is the only systematically excavated Middle Palaeolithic site in this region and the one with the deepest stratigraphic sequence, with up to 8 stratigraphic horizons identified. There are several excellent publications on the site by Karavanić and his multi-disciplinary team.
Velika Pećina-Kličevica, not to be confused with the Velika Pećina in the Hrvatsko Zagorje of Croatia, is a cave near the town of Zadar on the Dalmatian coast. It is quite shallow, ~1-1.5 m deep in the areas excavated, and contains evidence for Mousterian occupation, but the sequence is complicated by modernbioturbation, largely from badgers.
The site is being excavated currently by Ivor Karavanić. We obtained some very good samples from our visit, and hope to extend our work in Croatia in the near future.
(L) Thibaut Deviese (left) of the PalaeoChron team and Ivor Karavanić - at the Velika Pećina site, sorting bone for AMS dating.
(R) Tom Higham at the small entrance to the site of Velika Pećina.