Betovo, Russia

The open-air sites from East European Plane are of great importance when discussing the transition from the late Middle Palaeolithic to early Upper Palaeolithic. While in Europe, the LMP ends with the disappearance of Neanderthals at 41–39 ka BP (Higham et al., 2014), in the Russian plane the chronology is problematic and the dates may require revision.

The timing of the beginning of the UP has been recently discussed in a paper led by one of the members of the PalaeoChron project (Reynolds et al., 2015) who suggests the beginning of the Gravettian dates to around ~27 ka in Russia, but laments the sparse data when compared with the well-dated sequences in Europe.

This August Marine went to Russia at the Betovo site in the Bryansk region, located on the right bank of the Desna river. This site produced the youngest radiocarbon dates known for the LMP in this region, between 32– 24 ka BP (Ocherednoi et al., 2014). This open-air site has yielded a deep sequence of loess that has preserved three occupations levels containing lithic artifacts and animal bones. This loess deposit is ideal for the use of luminescence dating technique and the exceptional preservation of the bones suggests promising 14C results.

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