PalaeoChron has been working in the Basque part of the French Pyrenees at the site of Isturitz. Isturitz is a key site located in an area of great interest in the story of Neanderthals and modern humans. The site is situated in the Aquitaine-Cantabrian region and, importantly, has Protoaurignacian and Early Aurignacian levels that have been found superimposed within the same stratigraphic sequence. Previous dates obtained by Szmidt et al. (2009) have shown a very early presence of potential Proto-Aurignacian modern humans. We are interested in further developing this important chronology.
Tom Higham visited the site in December and took samples for AMS dating from all levels of the new excavations by Christian Normand (2nd left) and his team. He worked with Marie-Cécile Soulier (far left) and Christian in Hasperren where the archaeological material from the excavations is stored. Joelle Darricau (right), the owner of the Isturitz site, was also present and has given her support to the research.
We are very grateful to Christian and Marie-Cécile as well as Randall White of New York University for his help in the work, and also to Carolyn Barshay-Szmidt for her collaboration on this project.
In a few months we hope to have some new results to report from this great site.