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Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 381–417 | Cite as

The Dating of a Middle Paleolithic Blade Industry in Southern Russia and Its Relationship to the Initial Upper Paleolithic

  • John F. HoffeckerEmail author
  • Vance T. Holliday
  • Pavel Nehoroshev
  • Leonid Vishnyatsky
  • Alexander Otcherednoy
  • Natalya Salnaya
  • Paul Goldberg
  • John Southon
  • Scott J. Lehman
  • Patrick J. Cappa
  • Biagio Giaccio
  • Steven L. Forman
  • Jay Quade
Article
  • 315 Downloads

Abstract

The open-air site of Shlyakh, located near Volgograd in southern Russia, contains two assemblages of stone artifacts assigned to the Middle Paleolithic. Most of the artifacts are buried in low-energy stream deposits and appear to be in primary context (i.e., they do not exhibit signs of stream transport). The lithic technology reflects an emphasis on blade production and Levallois products are present. The artifacts lie in sediments formed during and immediately following the Laschamp Paleomagnetic excursion (41.2 ± 1.6 ka); they underlie the Mono Lake excursion (34.2 ± 1.2 ka). Although the radiocarbon dating is broadly consistent with the paleomagnetic stratigraphy, the wide range of ages obtained on bone from the upper assemblage suggests that older materials may have been introduced to one or both cultural layers. The dating and contents of Shlyakh are discussed in the wider context of events in Europe during ~ 50–40 ka. At this time, an Initial Upper Paleolithic (IUP) industry (Bohunician), characterized by Levallois blade technology and a high proportion of Upper Paleolithic tool types, is established in central Europe and on the southwest plain of eastern Europe. A different pattern is evident on the south-central plain, however, where the IUP is absent and a local “transitional unit” in the form of a Middle Paleolithic blade industry is represented at Shlyakh and other sites during 50–40 ka.

Keywords

Eastern Europe Middle Paleolithic Initial Upper Paleolithic Blade technology 

Introduction

Between 50,000 and 40,000 years ago (50–40 ka), both a human biological and cultural transition occurred in Europe, as the local Neanderthal population was largely replaced by an incoming population of modern humans, and local Middle Paleolithic industries were either transformed into or replaced by Upper Paleolithic industries and/or various “transitional” industries comprising a mixture of characteristic Middle and Upper Paleolithic artifacts (e.g., Harrold 1988; Hublin 2015; Kozlowski 2007; Riel-Salvatore 2009; Svoboda 2004; Vishnyatsky 2008).

The analysis of ancient DNA extracted from human skeletal remains indicates that there was a significant amount of biological interaction between the two taxa (e.g., Fu et al. 2015, 2016; Harris and Nielsen 2016; Pääbo 2014; Sankararaman et al. 2016; Simonti et al. 2016). The nature and extent of the cultural interactions remains unclear, however, in part because the authorship of the transitional industries (i.e., Neanderthal and/or modern human?) has yet to be resolved (e.g., Benazzi et al. 2011; Hauck et al. 2016; Villa et al. 2018; Zilhão et al. 2015). Various explanations have been proposed to account for these industries. Some or all of them might represent an in-migration of modern humans from outside Europe—in the process of developing a fully Upper Paleolithic material culture—or local Neanderthal groups exhibiting cultural influences from modern humans. Alternatively, at least some transitional industries might reflect cultural change among European Neanderthals that began before modern humans arrived and/or exerted cultural influence on the local population (e.g., Allsworth-Jones 1990; Demars and Hublin 1989; Hoffecker 2009; Riel-Salvatore 2009; Tostevin 2000; Zilhão 2006; Zilhão and d’Errico 1999). More than one explanation may apply to the various industries.

In central Europe, the most prominent transitional industry is the Bohunician, which is found in Moravia, including the type site (Brno-Bohunice) and Stránská skála, southern Poland (Dzierżysław I), and the Balkans (Temnata, Bacho Kiro) (e.g., Svoboda and Bar-Yosef 2003; Svoboda and Škrdla 1995; Tsanova and Bordes 2003). This industry extends into eastern Europe (i.e., east of the Carpathians), where it is reported from Kulychivka in western Ukraine (Anikovich et al. 2007a; Cohen and Stepanchuk 1999; Sitnik and Koropets’kii 2010). The Bohunician is characterized by hard hammer production of Levallois blades and points and a high percentage of Upper Paleolithic tool types, especially end-scrapers (Meignen et al. 2004; Škrdla and Nikolajev 2014; Svoboda and Bar-Yosef 2003; Svoboda and Škrdla 1995). The industry is similar, both with respect to technology and tool typology, to the Emiran or Initial Upper Paleolithic (IUP) of the Levant and may be categorized as a European IUP industry (e.g., Hublin 2012, 2015; Kuhn et al. 2004; Marks and Ferring 1988).

The Bohunician is dated to the middle and later phases of MIS3 or between roughly 48 and 35 ka (and possibly slightly later); the earliest assemblages may date to a warm period that correlates with Greenland Interstadial 12 (Nejman et al. 2011; Richter et al. 2008; Svoboda 2003a). The dating is based on luminescence, radiocarbon, and soil–stratigraphic correlation and includes several dates from Kulychivka in western Ukraine (Sitnik and Koropets’kii 2014, pp. 70–72; Škrdla et al. 2016). In terms of soil stratigraphy, Bohunician assemblages are associated with two buried soils in central Europe that were formed during MIS3 (Svoboda 2003a).

Both Neanderthals and modern humans are present in Europe during the timespan of the Bohunician, but no diagnostic human skeletal remains have been found in association with the artifact assemblages and the authorship of the industry has yet to be established. (Most Bohunician sites are open-air localities—probably occupied during relatively warm intervals—and bone preservation is typically poor.) By itself, the presence of blade technology is not significant in this context, because blade technology is found in older Middle Paleolithic contexts, both in Europe and the Levant (e.g., Adler et al. 2014; Meignen 2000; Mellars 1996). On the other hand, the similarities of the Bohunician to IUP assemblages in Levant may be highly significant, and some investigators argue that the former represents a credible proxy for modern humans entering Europe (e.g., Hoffecker 2009; Hublin 2015).

Although the Bohunician is widely distributed in central Europe, its presence in eastern Europe is restricted to the westernmost area of the East European Plain. There are artifact assemblages, however, exhibiting blade technology distributed across the southern half of the East European Plain (Chernysh 1987; Kolesnik 2003), as well as in Crimea and the northern Caucasus (Belyaeva 1999; Kolosov 1972; Kolosov et al. 1993), at least some of which appear to be contemporaneous to the Bohunician (Haesaerts et al. 2003). They are not commonly labeled “transitional,” but rather usually categorized as “Middle Paleolithic” due to the predominance of Mousterian tool types (e.g., Praslov 1984). On the East European Plain, layer 11 at Molodova V in the Dnestr Valley may be considered a type-assemblage for this industry; it is characterized by Levallois blade production and Mousterian tools (side-scrapers, points) (Chernysh 1987; Meignen et al. 2004; Tostevin 2000). Although often assumed to have been produced by local Neanderthals, the east European blade industry has yet to yield diagnostic associated human skeletal remains (see Fig. 1).
Fig. 1

Map of eastern Europe, showing the location of sites mentioned in the text (base map after Google Maps 2018)

In the absence of associated human remains, the problem of how the east European blade assemblages fit into the wider context of the biological and cultural transitions in Europe 50–40 ka may be addressed in two ways: (1) systematic characterization of the technology and typology of the lithic assemblages; and (2) dating the artifact assemblages with as much precision as possible, not only to determine their temporal relationship to other industries, but also their paleoclimate setting. The first is approached with the application of established procedures for the description of lithic technology and tool classification (e.g., Bordes 1961; Dibble 1995; Kuhn 1995).

The second presents a challenge because archeological materials deposited 50–40 ka lie near the limit of radiocarbon dating and are easily contaminated by younger carbon. Application of more rigorous pretreatment methods has improved the reliability of dating charcoal and bone collagen (e.g., Beaumont et al. 2010; Bird et al. 1999; Higham et al. 2006), while wider use of other techniques (e.g., OSL [Forman et al. 2000]) has allowed dating of sites within and beyond this time range. Paleomagnetic stratigraphy has been increasingly helpful for late Pleistocene sites (e.g., Pospelova 2005), and in parts of central and eastern Europe, a well-dated volcanic ash (CI tephra) provides a major chronostratigraphic marker for ~ 40 ka (Giaccio et al. 2017).

Here, we examine a Middle Paleolithic blade industry at an open-air site on the south East European Plain. Earlier research at Shlyakh (1990–2001) suggested that it might be unusually young for a Middle Paleolithic assemblage (Nehoroshev 2006a), possibly even postdating the oldest Upper Paleolithic industries (below the CI tephra and associated with modern human skeletal remains) at Kostenki-Borshchevo on the central plain (Anikovich et al. 2007b; Holliday et al. 2007). The technology and typology of the two Middle Paleolithic blade assemblages have been described (e.g., Nehoroshev 1999). We revisited Shlyakh in 2013 to collect new data on the geoarcheology of the site, including its dating. Our goal was to define more precisely the relationship of the artifact assemblages to other blade industries in central and eastern Europe, including the Bohunician or IUP.

Shlyakh: Location and History of Investigation

The open-air site of Shlyakh is located in the province of Volgograd (112 km N/NW of the city of Volgograd), Russian Federation, 13.5 km NE of the Don River at latitude 49° 35′ 54″ North longitude 43° 42′ 05″ East. Shlyakh is situated on Panika Ravine in an area characterized by undulating steppe, incised by ravines and small valleys. Operations at a large limestone quarry situated immediately east of the site exposed archeological remains in 1988, leading to its discovery by V. I. Kufenko (see Fig. 2).
Fig. 2

The site of Shlyakh, looking north/northwest with the western margin of the limestone quarry on the right and Panika Ravine visible behind the exposed late Pleistocene valley fill (photo by JFH, August 2013)

P. E. Nehoroshev conducted excavations at Shlyakh during 1990–1991 and additional field investigations with L. B. Vishnyatsky in 1998–2001 (Nehoroshev 1999, p. 48; Nehoroshev and Vishnyatsky 2002), exposing a total area of 236 m2 (Nehoroshev 2009, p. 111). The identified cultural layers and their artifactual contents are described below, including additional artifacts recovered during 2013. A stratigraphic profile for Shlyakh was recorded in 1999–2001 by Yu. E. Musatov (Saint Petersburg University) (Nehoroshev 1999, pp. 48–51).

Faunal remains at Shlyakh were confined to a small quantity of small and medium fragments of large mammal bone in layer 8, several of which were identified as Bison sp. by A. K. Kasparov (Institute for Material Culture History, Russian Academy of Sciences) (Nehoroshev 1999, p. 52; 2006a, p. 23).1 Pollen-spore analysis of samples collected from the profile was performed by T. V. Sapelko (Institute of Limnology, Russian Academy of Sciences) (Nehoroshev et al. 2003a, pp. 13–14, fig. 7).

The analysis of the paleomagnetic stratigraphy at Shlyakh was undertaken by V. V. Gernik (A. P. Karpinsky Russian Geological Research Institute) and E. G. Gus’kova (Pushkov Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation, Russian Academy of Sciences) during 1999–2000 (Nehoroshev et al. 2003a, pp. 11–12; Nehoroshev et al. 2003b). The results of their analysis are discussed below in light of recent developments in paleomagnetic stratigraphy.

In August 2013, the senior authors revisited the site and excavated three new profile cuts (зачистки) in order to record new stratigraphic profiles and sample sediments for radiocarbon dating, OSL dating, and analysis of pedogenic carbonates and soil micromorphology. Additional artifacts also were recovered. The two profile cuts at the site occupied the following units on the site grid: К-35, К-36, Л-35, Л-36 (profile cut #21) and Е-7, Ж-7 (profile cut #22). The location of all the profile cuts is shown in Fig. 3.
Fig. 3

Map of the Shlyakh site, showing the location of the 2013 profile cuts (#21, #22, and #23) (redrawn from Nehoroshev and Vishnyatsky 2002, fig. 2)

Geoarcheology

Stratigraphy

The Shlyakh site is exposed in late Pleistocene valley fill along Panika Balka (or Panika Ravine), an entrenched tributary of the Don River. This dry ravine is cut into Carboniferous rock comprising compact limestone, calcareous breccia, and conglomerates, exposed along the Don River and outcrops on the surface in the region.

The Upper Carboniferous formations include (from lower to upper): (1) Panik Suite, representing finely bedded limestone; (2) Shlyakh Suite, composed of interbedded mottled clays; and (3) Lapushin Suite, composed of metamorphosed limestone containing chert nodules. The Panik limestone is quarried in the area for use in road construction. The late Pleistocene deposits that contain the artifact assemblages unconformably overlie the Shlyakh formation (exposed at the base of the excavation units). The younger Lapushin Suite, which is exposed locally only on the southern wall of the quarry, was the primary source of raw material for the occupants of the site (Nehoroshev 2006b, pp. 30–34).

Quarrying of the limestone exposed the site as the quarry activity encountered the edge of the ravine. The quarrying, in addition to destroying part of the site, also largely destroyed evidence linking the stratigraphic and geomorphic relations between the late Pleistocene valley fill and the valley itself. A very small remnant of the margin of the southeast valley wall with the valley fill inset against it is preserved at the southeast corner of the site. Of the sections exposed and examined in 2013, profile cut #21 was closest to the valley margin and exposed both valley margin deposits as well as mainstream valley fill (see Table 1; Fig. 4), while profile cut #22 exposed mainstream valley fill. Profile descriptions and stratigraphic nomenclature follow the protocols discussed by Holliday et al. (2007, pp. 188–189).
Table 1

Stratigraphic profile descriptions, Shlyakh site

Layera

Depth,b cm

Soil horizon

Descriptionc

Profile 21

  1

0–10

A

Sandy loam, 10YR 4/3d, 3/3m; v weak medium prismatic and moderate medium subangular blocky structure; noncalcareous; clear, smooth

10–33

ABt

Sandy loam, 10YR 4/3d, 3/3m; strong medium prismatic and strong subangular blocky structure; thin, patchy clay films on ped faces; noncalcareous; clear, smooth boundary

  2?

33–42

Bt1

Sandy clay loam, 10YR 4/4d, 3/4m; strong medium prismatic and strong subangular blocky structure; thin, cont clay films on ped faces; noncalcareous; clear, smooth boundary

42–56

Bt2

Sandy clay loam, 10YR 4/4d, 3/4m; strong medium prismatic (but slightly weaker than above), strong medium subangular blocky structure; thin, cont clay films on ped faces; noncalcareous; very irregular boundary due to common, thin (< 5 cm wide) krotovinas penetrating Bw

  3?

56–73

Bw

Sandy loam, 10YR 4/4d, 3/4m; v weak medium prismatic and modern medium subangular blocky structure; noncalcareous; v irregular lower boundary, locally bioturbated (~ 73 cm = general upper depth on E wall)

  4

73–135

Bk

Fine sand, 10YR 5/4d, 4/4m (carb = 8/2d, 6/3m); moderate medium subangular blocky structure; carb in irregular patches (not dense bodies, but areas of pervasive accumulation in three distinct horizontal zones: 73–83, 95–110, 125–135 cm; a few to 15 cm across, a few to 5 cm thick, vary in distinctness); matrix calcareous; clear, smooth boundary

  5

135–157

Btk1b1

Sandy clay loam, 7.5YR 6/4d, 6.5/4sm (clay films 5/4m, 5/4sm); strong medium prismatic and strong medium subangular blocky structure; thick, cont clay films on ped faces; common 5–10 mm carb bodies; matrix calcareous; clear, smooth boundary

157–180

Btk2b1

Sandy clay loam, 7.5YR 6/4d, 5/4m (clay films 5/4m, 5/4sm); moderate medium prismatic and strong medium subangular blocky structure; thin, cont clay films on ped faces; few 2–5 mm carb bodies; matrix calcareous; clear, smooth boundary

  6

180–270

C

Laminated zoned; upper 10–20 cm indistinct due to wxing; 180–240 mostly 5–10 mm thick lenses; a few 1–3 cm thick; mostly 10YR 8/2d, 7/2m; 6/4d, 5/4m; 5/3d, 4/4m; some 7.5YR 6/4d, 5/4m; 5/4d, 4/4m); 240–270 has more thicker laminae (and generally reddish with the 7.5YR hues; redeposited Shlyakh beds?), mostly 2–3 cm thick, a few up to 4 cm, a few 5–10 mm; note local faults and block faults; some bioturbation (1–3 cm krotovinas) of underlying horizon; clear, wavy boundary

  7

270–280

Ab2

Clay loam, 10YR 5/4d, 4/4m; weak subangular blocky structure to massive; a few 1–2 mm Mn-ox bodies; few fine carb bodies; calcareous; clear smooth

  8

280–310

Akb2 (ABkb2)

Clay loam, 10YR 6/3d, 5/3m; weak coarse subangular blocky structure to massive; pervasive carb bodies and threads 1–2 cm; calcareous; clear smooth boundary

Upper noncalcareous silt lens on west and east wall dipping down to the north; to the south the lens rises and is obscured by Akb2; 10YR 6/3d, 6/4m; massive; clear, wavy boundary

310–325

ABb3

Mixed, unwxd str 8 and humified str 8; SL, 10YR 5/4d, 4/4m; fine strong crumb structure; noncalcareous; clear, smooth boundary

325–334

C1b3

Unwxd str 8; SL, 10YR 5/4d, 4/4m; massive to weak subangular blocky structure; noncalcareous; irregular wavy

334–338

C2b3

Middle noncalcareous silt lens, 10YR 6/3d, 6/4m; massive; clear, wavy boundary

338–360

ABb4

Weakly wxd str 8; SCL, 10YR 5/4sm; weak subangular blocky structure; noncalcareous; irregular boundary, due to bioturbation

  9

360–370

C1b4

Loamy fine sand, 10YR 6/4sm; massive; noncalcareous; clear, wavy boundary

370–371

C2b4

Lower noncalcareous med S lens; 10YR 6/3d, 6/4m; massive; clear, wavy boundary

371–385

 

Sandy clay loam, 10YR 5/4d, 4/4m; massive; noncalcareous; clear, smooth boundary

385–387

 

Medium sand, 7.5YR 4/6d, 4/4m; massive; common Mn-ox stains and bodies; noncalcareous clear, smooth boundary

387–396

 

Fine sand, 10YR 3.5d, 5/4m; massive; gradual boundary

396–408

 

Fine sand, 7.5YR 5/4d, 5.3.5m; mixed by bioturbation; abrupt, smooth boundary

  9?

408–414

 

Clay w common rock frags, 5YR 4/6 and 3/2m; massive; noncalcareous; abrupt boundary

  9?

414–420

 

Medium sand, 5YR5/8m; bedded; noncalcareous; abrupt (down to 430 cm on west wall)

  11

420–450

 

Gravel and cobbles of limestone and flint (thinner on west wall); 5YR 4/6m w some 3/2m Mn-ox stains and bodies and gley 2.5Y 5/6m mottling and in matrix; abrupt boundary

  Shlyakh Suite

450–470+

 

Clay, 2.5YR 5/6d, 3/6m

Profile 22

  1

0–8

A

Sandy loam, 7.5YR 4/3d, 4/4m; mixed crumb and moderate medium subangular blocky structure; noncalcareous; clear, smooth boundary

8–30

AB1

Sandy loam, 7.5YR 4/3d, 4/4m; strong coarse prismatic and strong coarse subangular blocky structure; noncalcareous; clear, smooth boundary

30–40

AB2

Sandy loam, 7.5YR 4/3d, 4/4m (slightly redder than above); strong coarse prismatic and strong coarse subangular blocky structure; noncalcareous; clear, smooth boundary

  2, 3

40–60

Bt

Sandy loam, 7.5YR 4/4d, 4/6m; strong medium prismatic and strong coarse subangular blocky structure; noncalcareous; thin patchy clay films on ped faces; clear, smooth boundary

  4

60–100

Bk

Sandy loam, 10YR 6/4d, 5/6m; moderate medium prismatic and strong medium subangular blocky structure; common carb bodies 1–3 cm diam; decrease in number w depth; clear, smooth boundary

100–125

C1

Sandy loam, 10YR 6/4d, 5/6m; compact; weak subangular blocky structure; strongly calcareous; clear, smooth boundary

125–145

C2

Fine sand, 10YR 6/6d, 5/6m; compact; massive; strongly calcareous; abrupt, wavy boundary

  5

145–166

Btkb1

Sandy loam, 7.5YR 6/4d, 5/4m; weak medium prismatic and moderate coarse subangular blocky structure; carbonate in domains 5–10 cm across; thin, patchy clay films; clear, smooth boundary

166–195

Btb1

Sandy loam, 7.5YR 6/4d, 5/4m; weak medium prismatic and moderate coarse subangular blocky structure; thin, patchy clay films; noncalcareous; clear, smooth boundary

195–220

Bkb1

Sandy loam, 7.5YR 7/3d, 5/4m; moderate medium subangular blocky structure; pervasive carbonate as distinct and indistinct domains (no distinct bodies); clear, smooth boundary

  6

220–265

Cb1

Laminated zone; mostly 2–10 mm thick laminae; a few up to 3 cm thick; varying amounts of fine-medium sand; colors mostly 10YR 8/2d, 7/2m; 6/4d, 5/4m; 5/3d, 4/4m; abrupt, wavy boundary

  7

265–267

Ak1b2

Thin zone of pervasive carbonate accumulation on Ab2; ubiquitous small (< 5 cm) krotovinas from above

  8

267–273

Ak2b2

Mud, 10YR 6/4d, 4/4m; weak crumb structure; common carbonate bodies 1–3 cm; clear, smooth boundary

273–305

Ak3b2

Mud, 10YR 6/4d, 4/4m; weak crumb structure; pervasive carbonate; clear, smooth boundary

305–317

Ak4b2

Transition from Ak4 to Ak5

317–327

Ak5b2

Mud, 10YR 6/4d, 4/4m; weak crumb structure; carbonate in common 1–2 cm bodies; boundary is a v irregular due to bioturbation into str 8 below (the depths were measured on south end of profile; on north end the base of Akb2 is at 318 cm)

  9

327–350

 

Fine sandy loam, 7.5YR 6.5/6d, 6/6m; massive; noncalcareous; clear, smooth boundary

350–365

 

Fine sandy loam, 7.5YR 6/6d, 5/6m; massive, compact; noncalcareous; abrupt boundary

  10

365–435

 

Cobbles in sand; common Mn-ox bodies; abrupt boundary

  Shlyakh Suite

435–465

 

Cobbles in red clay

Profile 23 (main quarry west wall; ~ 50 m north of site area)

  1, 2, 3

0–25

ABw

Sandy loam, 10YR 3/2d; weak medium prismatic and strong coarse subangular blocky structure; noncalcareous; clear, smooth boundary (upper 5 cm has crumb structure)

25–50

Bt

Sandy clay loam, 10YR 4/4d; strong medium prismatic and strong medium subangular blocky structure; thin, patchy clay films and some organic matter coats (in upper half) on ped faces; noncalcareous; clear, smooth boundary

50–70

Bk1

Sandy loam, 10YR 5/4d, 4/4m; weak medium prismatic and moderate medium subangular blocky structure; common films and bodies of carb; calcareous; clear, smooth boundary

70–80

Bk2

Sandy loam, 10YR 6/6d, 5/6m; weak medium prismatic and moderate medium subangular blocky structure; more pervasive carb; strongly calcareous; clear, smooth boundary

  4, 5

80–110

Btkb1

Sandy clay loam, 7.5YR 4/4d, 4/3m; moderate medium prismatic and strong medium subangular blocky structure; thin, cont clay films on ped faces; common 5–10 mm carb bodies; strongly calcareous; clear, smooth boundary

110–160

Bwb1

Sandy loam (w more silt), 7.5YR 4/6d; weak medium subangular structure; calcareous; abrupt

  6

160–170

Cb1

Laminated zone; 10YR 6/4d and 7/3d, 4/4m; 305 mm thick lenses, some carbonate; abrupt boundary

  7?

170–177

Akb2 (ABk?)

Sandy clay loam, 10YR 4/4cm; weak prismatic and moderate medium subangular blocky structure; heavily bioturbated with krotovinas; common fine carb bodies; strongly calcareous; abrupt, irregular boundary due to bioturbation

  8?

177–202

C1b2

Sandy loam, 10YR 3/4sm; weak medium subangular blocky structure; calcareous; abrupt, irregular boundary

  8?

202–222

C2b2

Sandy loam, 10YR 6/6d, 5/6sm; massive; strongly calcareous; some krotovinas; abrupt boundary

  9?, 10?

222+

 

Limestone cobbles and rock fragments with flint on uncleared face of quarry wall below 222 cm

aThe numbers in this column correspond to the stratigraphic layers identified by Yu. E. Musatov (Nehoroshev et al. 2003a, pp. 9–10)

bMeasurements from historic surface below recent spoil

cFor descriptions: Boundary refers to lower boundary of horizon or stratum. v = very, cont = continuous, wxing = weathering, wxd = weathered, unwxd = unweathered, str = stratum, Mn-ox = manganese oxide, carb = carbonate, frags = fragments

dLaminae on the east wall are horizontal; laminae on the south wall dip gently west

Fig. 4

Cross-section of valley, showing location of profiles (redrawn from Nehoroshev et al. 2003a, fig. 2)

The deposits preserved at the site are a remnant of valley fill that likely extended all the way across Panika Ravine. The modern drainage is an incised meander along the north and west and southwest margins of the ravine, which isolated the late Pleistocene deposits and their archeology, along the east and southeast margins of the ravine, i.e., on the inside of the meander. The basal valley fill is alluvial sand and gravel resting unconformably on shale and limestone of the Upper Carboniferous section. The basal strata include redeposited shales and clays of the Carboniferous bedrock. They were probably locally derived from the bedrock valley walls or the floor of the valley as “rip-up clasts.” These deposits grade up into well-sorted sands and limestone gravel typical of mainstream alluvium. The alluvial deposits, equivalent to layers 9 and 10 in the profiles recorded earlier (e.g., Nehoroshev et al. 2003a, p. 23), are up to ~ 1 m in thickness across the exposures.

Above layer 9 are sands, silts, and muds, probably equivalent to layers 7 and 8 in Nehoroshev et al. (2003a, pp. 22–23). These deposits are thicker (~ 1.5 m) and more clearly bedded toward the east–southeast valley margin (profile cut #21). Toward the northwest (profile cut #22), the deposits are more homogenized and somewhat thinner (~ 1.0 m). The thicker deposits include multiple, weakly expressed buried soils (b2 soil at 270–310 cm, b3 soil at 310–325 cm, and b4 soil at 338–360 cm in profile #21). In profile #22, these soils apparently merge to form the single b2 soil (at 265–327 cm). The soils and sediments are indicative of a very low-energy, slowly aggrading floodplain system with some valley margin additions. The multiple buried soils and soil facies represent a pedocomplex. The Paleolithic occupants of the site represented in layers 7 and 8 apparently were living on and around a generally stable floodplain landscape with minimal flooding (Fig. 5a, b).
Fig. 5

Stratigraphic profile #21 (a) and profile #22 (b) at Shlyakh (photos by LV, August 2013)

Above the pedocomplex is a zone of laminated sand, silt, and clay (layer 6). Reddish to purple clay lenses nearer the valley margin are indicative of slopewash additions off the valley wall bedrock. Otherwise, the sediments are indicative of floodplain aggradation. The upper ~ 2 m of the section above layer 6 in both profile cuts #21 and #22 is composed of five layers of sandy loam. Layer 5 was modified by pedogenesis and subsequently buried (soil b1) by Layers 4 to 1. The surface soil formed through those upper four layers (see Fig. 4; Table 1). The massive fine-grained character of layers 5 to 1 suggests eolian deposition (i.e., loess) or local redeposition off the upland loess that characterizes the region.

The well-developed nature of the surface soil (Bt–Bk horizon development) and the absence of an overlying loess suggest prolonged stability and pedogenesis. The regional upland landscape, based on our reconnaissance, displays a similar soil with minimal overlying loess. This is in contrast to the well-known loess–soil stratigraphy of the glacial and periglacial landscapes to the north and northwest with the thick, classic Chernozem soils (Mollisols in U.S. terminology), but with relatively weak subhorizons (Bw and/or Bk horizonation) formed in terminal Pleistocene (i.e., LGM or post-LGM) loess and burying relatively poorly expressed soils (e.g., the Gmelin and Bryansk soils of MIS3 or early MIS2 age [e.g., Holliday et al. 2007; Sedov et al. 2010; Velichko et al. 2006]). The warmer and more southerly soils of the Shlyakh region had much more time to form and did so under conditions promoting both clay translocation and carbonate formation.

A profile examined to the north of profile cuts #21 and #22, and north of the main site area (profile cut #23), exposed similar stratigraphy but compressed into a section of ~ 2.5 m in thickness. This conforms to the data generated by the early work at the site, which showed that the thickest and most complete stratigraphic sequence was in the area of profiles #21 and #22. The sequence thins to the north, on-lapping a bench or perhaps an older terrace cut on the bedrock (see Fig. 4).

Analysis of Pedogenic Carbonates

Samples of pedogenic carbonates were collected from the buried soil horizons (profile cut #21). The δ18O and δ13C of carbonates were measured using an automated carbonate preparation device (KIEL-III) coupled to a gas-ratio mass spectrometer (Finnigan MAT 252). Powdered samples were reacted with dehydrated phosphoric acid under vacuum at 70 °C. The isotope ratio measurement is calibrated based on repeated measurements of NBS-19 and NBS-18 and precision is ± 0.11‰ for δ18O and ± 0.08‰ for δ13C (1 sigma).

The δ13C (VPDB) values from pedogenic carbonate range from − 5.5 to − 8.3‰, and δ18O (VPDB) from − 7.8 to − 13.0‰. δ13C and δ18O values are strongly co-variant (r2 = 0.89), with the lowest values found in oldest soil horizons (layer 7) and the higher isotopic values in the younger pedogenic carbonate horizons above (see Table 2).
Table 2

Isotopic analysis of pedogenic carbonates from buried soils at Shlyakh

Sample no.

Soil/layer

Depth (cm)

%CaCO3

δ13Ccarbonate (VPDB)

δ13Corganic (VPDB)*

δ18Ocarbonate (VPDB)

PC-1

Bk (layer 3?)

70–75

6.4

− 6.0

− 22.1

− 7.8

PC-2

Bk (layer 3?)

92–97

10.7

− 6.5

− 24.0

− 8.4

PC-3

Bk (layer 3?)

128–133

14.0

− 6.1

− 23.9

− 8.3

PC-4

Btk1b1 (upper buried soil: upper level)

140–145

21.1

− 5.00

− 24.4

− 7.8

PC-5

Btk2b1 (upper buried soil: lower level)

160–165

14.2

− 5.5

− 23.6

− 8.0

PC-6

Akb2 upper (layer 7)

274–284

2.9

− 7.8

− 28.6

− 12.5

PC-7

Akb2 lower (layer 7)

294–304

2.4

− 8.3

− 28.8

− 13.0

*Calculated δ13C value of plant-derived CO2, using equations from Quade et al. (2007) and assuming 10 °C and a high soil respiration rate of > 5 mmol/m2/h

The δ13C (VPDB) values obtained for Shlyakh decrease with profile depth from − 8.3 to − 5.5‰, a pattern that can be interpreted in several ways. The lowest values are consistent with formation in the presence of soil-respired CO2 with a value of around − 28‰, close to the global average of − 27.0‰ (Kohn 2010; after correction for an industrial decrease of ~ 1.5‰) for C3 plants. These low values are found at the bottom of the profile in layer 7. δ13C (VPDB) values increase upwards to − 5.5‰, which can be explained by an expansion of C4 plants after layer 7 deposition, an increase in water stress on C3 plants, a decrease in soil respiration rates because of lower plant cover, or some combination of all three of these factors. Colder temperatures could also account for a small part of the isotopic decrease.

Whatever the exact balance of causes, we interpret the record to reflect a drying and cooling trend above layer 7. This interpretation is supported by the loess accumulation and concurrent decrease in δ18O values upwards in the profile, from − 13 to − 7.8‰. Combined with the carbon isotopic evidence, this increase in values probably reflects drier, more evaporative conditions above layer 7.

Soil Micromorphology

Thin section samples were collected from the base of layer 7 (at the contact with layer 8) and the uppermost layer 8 in profile cut #22, and from the middle of layer 8 in profile cut #21, to search for microscopic evidence of human impacts in the associated soils and to complement the field observations of the lithology. The samples were analyzed for soil micromorphology (Courty et al. 1989).

In the field, layer 7 was noted as calcareous based on reaction to dilute HCl, but no carbonate was observed in thin section. It also was identified as a mud (i.e., mostly silt and clay). Sand was common in thin section, which probably is a component of the loam. But the ubiquity of the sand in the thin section indicated that domains of sandier material are locally common. This bimodal lithology (with respect to grain size) supports the interpretation of floodplain deposits as the source of the sediment (e.g., Courty et al. 1989, pp. 86–89). The thin section of upper layer 8 confirms the field observation of noncalcareous soil. The lithology in the field was observed to be a fine sandy loam, and the thin section sampled displayed finer (i.e., less sandy) sediment. Layer 8 is locally bedded and both this observation and the thin section analysis are indicative of sediment layering, characteristic of a floodplain (Fig. 6a, b).
Fig. 6

Soil micromorphology of layer 8 (sample collected at a depth of 435 cm from profile cut #21 in August 2013) illustrates the bimodal lithology typical of flood deposits and clay coating around sand grains (PPL). b The same as a but in cross-polarized light (XPL). The reddish areas are thin and patchy limpid clay coatings around some of the sand grains (arrows) (photos by PG)

The thin section from profile cut #21, in conjunction with the field observations, also is indicative of a bimodal lithology typical of flood deposits. The thin sections provided no evidence of human occupation impact, and none was observed in the field. These data show that the human activity in layers 7 and 8 was ephemeral and consistent with the archaeological interpretations of lithic procurement without extended habitation or other signs of intensive occupation (e.g., Nehoroshev and Vishnyatsky 2000).

Cryptotephra Analyses

Shlyakh lies within the reconstructed ash plume of the CI volcanic eruption (e.g., Costa et al. 2012; Giaccio et al. 2006), and CI tephra deposits have been identified at the Kostenki-Borshchevo sites, which are located roughly 400 km NW of Shlyakh on the Middle Don River (Giaccio et al. 2008; Hoffecker et al. 2008; Pyle et al. 2006). At two Kostenki localities, traces of the CI tephra (isolated shards) were identified through microscopic analysis of sediments in places where the ash horizon was not visible (Hoffecker et al. 2016; Holliday et al. 2007). The CI tephra is dated in proximal volcanic setting by 40Ar/39Ar method to 39.85 ± 0.14 ka (95% confidence level; ± 0.08 ka at 2σ), while the radiocarbon dating of a large charred tree branch embedded in CI yielded the age 34.29 ± 0.09 14C kyr BP (Giaccio et al. 2017) or 38,500–39,000 cal BP (IntCal13; Reimer et al. 2013). These precise age constraints, coupled with its wide area of dispersal and stratigraphic proximity with relevant late Pleistocene climatic (Heinrich Event 4 [HE4]) and geomagnetic (Laschamp excursion) events, render the CI a major chronological and stratigraphic marker in southern and eastern Europe (e.g., Fedele et al. 2008; Giaccio et al. 2017).

In order to determine if traces of the CI tephra were present at Shlyakh (where no ash horizon has been observed), a 1.6-m column of sediment samples was collected from the south wall of profile cut #21, extending from the lowermost 10 cm of layer 6 down to the uppermost 16–17 cm of layer 9 (i.e., between ~ 260 and ~ 420 cm below the surface), for microscopic analysis of volcanic shards. Each sediment sample represented 10 cm of vertical profile, and there were no gaps in the sampling column. A total of 16 samples were collected and analyzed with a stereomicroscope, but no traces of volcanic glass were observed.

Radiocarbon Dating

Prior to the 2013 reinvestigation of Shlyakh, four radiocarbon dates were obtained on samples of bone from layer 8, including a conventional infinite date of > 26,000 14C years BP (LE-5522) and AMS dates of 42,100 ± 1900 14C years BP (OxA-8405), 45,700 ± 3000 14C years BP (OxA-8307), and 46,300 ± 3100 14C years BP (OxA-8306) (Bronk Ramsey et al. 2002, p. 38; Nehoroshev 2006a, p. 26). Although the Oxford AMS dates were obtained before new ultrafiltration protocols were in place (Bronk Ramsey et al. 2000, pp. 459–460), the uncalibrated results are broadly consistent with the new radiocarbon dates on bone from Shlyakh.

New radiocarbon dates were obtained on soil organics from the upper and lower portions of layer 7 and on bone from the main occupation layer (layer 8). No charcoal has ever been identified at Shlyakh. The soil organic samples were collected by Holliday, and the bone samples all were obtained from earlier excavations (1990–1991).

Sample preparation for the soil organics was performed at the INSTAAR Radiocarbon Laboratory (University of Colorado at Boulder), utilizing humic acid isolation and purification procedures described in Abbott and Stafford (1996), and AMS ages on the humic acid fraction were obtained at the Keck Carbon Cycle AMS facility at the University of California at Irvine (UC-Irvine). Because both samples were very low in carbon (0.03–0.09%) in comparison to typical soil samples (1–5%), the potential for contamination from a very small amount of younger carbon from overlying sediments was high.

The bone samples from layer 8 were prepared by John Southon (UC-Irvine) in accordance with the following gelatin extraction/ultrafiltration protocols, described in detail in Beaumont et al. (2010). The samples were physically cleaned and subsampled with a rotary Dremel tool, and samples of 150–200 mg were crushed to ~ 1 mm powder and decalcified for 24–36 h at room temperature in 0.5 N HCl. The resulting collagen was washed with MQ water and gelatinized overnight in 0.01 N HCl at 60 °C. The high molecular weight fraction (> 30 kDa) of the gelatin solution was selected using precleaned ultrafilters and then lyophilized for subsequent combustion, graphitization, and 14C measurement by AMS (on the Keck Carbon Cycle facility at UC-Irvine). Of the seven bone samples submitted for analysis, four yielded no ultrafiltered collagen and could not be measured (see Table 3).
Table 3

Radiocarbon dates from Shlyakh obtained in 2013–2014 (by Keck Carbon Cycle AMS Facility, Earth System Science Department, University of California, Irvine)

Lab no.

Material (provenience)

δ13C (‰)

Fraction modern

Collagen yield (%)

C:N (wt%)

C:N (atomic)

14C age (years BP)

Calibrated agea (cal BP)

Layer 7: buried soil

  CURL #17631

Decalcified sediment (upper layer)

− 23.7 ± 0.1

0.0392 ± 0.0012

N/A

26,020 ± 240

30,817–29,628

  CURL #17626

Decalcified sediment (lower layer)

− 25.7 ± 0.1

0.0404 ± 0.0011

N/A

25,770 ± 230

30,634–29,402

Layer 8: main cultural layer

  UCIAMS #133290

Bone (Bison?)

− 19.4 ± 0.1

0.0181 ± 0.0010

1.4

2.96

3.45

32,230 ± 460

37,624–35,120

  UCIAMS #143876

Bone (Bison?) (depth = 350–450 cm)

− 19.6 ± 0.1

0.0035 ± 0.0008

5.1

2.81

3.27

45,400 ± 1900

> 46,015

  UCIAMS #143877

Bone (Bison?) (depth = 508 cm)

− 19.7 ± 0.1

0.0188 ± 0.0008

2.4

2.76

3.22

31,940 ± 360

36,606–35,020

a95.4% probability (OxCal 4.3.2 Bronk Ramsey 2017 r.5 IntCal13 atmospheric curve) (Reimer et al. 2013)

The new radiocarbon dates are generally consistent with the earlier dates on Shlyakh. The two ages from the buried soil (layer 7) that overlies the main cultural horizon should be treated as minimum dates, due to the high potential for contamination from younger carbon. They indicate that the soil is not of Holocene age, but at a minimum, was formed during the late or final phase of MIS3. The two finite dates on bone collagen from the main cultural layer (layer 8) support the position of the Laschamp Paleomagnetic Excursion (see below), but the minimum date (along with the two older dates obtained by Oxford) suggest that some older bone was introduced into this layer, presumably by stream action.

Luminescence Dating

Thermoluminescence (TL) dates were obtained on a total of 12 sediment samples collected from the profiles of earlier excavations (1990–2001) and exposed walls of the limestone quarry by A. I. Shlyukov (N. N. Zubov State Oceanographic Institute). TL dates also were obtained on two other sediment samples from layer 8 by O. A. Kulikov (Lomonosov Moscow State University) (Nehoroshev 2006a, pp. 25–26). TL ages on three samples from the upper portion of the sequence fell between 15,400 ± 2300 years (03-Vol-01) and 24,500 ± 2400 years (13-Vol-01), while two dates on layer 7 yielded a mean TL age of 132,500 years and seven dates on layer 8 yielded a mean of 170,000 years. Two samples from layer 9 yielded a mean TL age of 112,000 years (Nehoroshev 2006a, p. 24, fig. 3).

Because of the discordance between the TL ages and other elements of the geochronology, a new set of luminescence dates was a goal of the reinvestigation of Shlyakh. In August 2013, the senior authors collected a column of 10 sediment samples from profile #21 for optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating. OSL ages were obtained on quartz grains by Steven L. Forman in 2014 in the Luminescence Dating Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Several problems were encountered during the dating process, and only six of the ten samples yielded OSL ages. The UIC3554 sample was collected from a buried soil horizon (Btk1b1) and yielded equivalent doses (De) that varied by more than 100-fold, presumably due to the effects of B horizon development. Two samples collected from depths of 290–320 cm below the surface (UIC3548, UIC3549), and the lowermost sample from layer 9 (UIC3554), yielded a saturated response to additive beta dose and were not datable. Minimum OSL ages subsequently were estimated for these samples (see Table 4).
Table 4

Optically stimulated luminescence ages on quartz grains (150–250 μm) for sediments from Shlyakh (S. L. Forman)

Lab no.

Layer (depth)

Aliquotsa

Overdispersion (%)b

Equivalent dose (Gy)c

U (ppm)d

Th (ppm)d

K (%)d

H2O (%)

Cosmic dose (mGy/year)e

Dose rate (mGray/yr)

OSL age (yearsr)f

UIC3545

4 (0.83 m)

28/30

22 ± 3

14.131 ± 0.81

0.6 ± 0.1

2.4 ± 0.1

0.44 ± 0.01

15 ± 5

0.18 ± 0.02

0.78 ± 0.04

18,280 ± 1720

UIC3554

6 (1.57 m)

5/30

Noncalculable

Noncalculable

0.7 ± 0.1

2.6 ± 0.1

0.56 ± 0.01

15 ± 5

0.18 ± 0.02

0.84 ± 0.04

Noncalculable

UIC3547

6 (2.15 m)

35/40

20 ± 3

76.54 ± 3.91

1.8 ± 0.1

6.4 ± 0.1

1.12 ± 0.01

15 ± 5

0.17 ± 0.02

1.82 ± 0.09

42,070 ± 3665

UIC3548

7 (2.93 m)

23/50

> 85

4.4 ± 0.1

7.7 ± 0.1

1.24 ± 0.01

30 ± 5

0.16 ± 0.02

2.19 ± 0.11

> 39,000

UIC3549

8 (3.20 m)

11/30

> 75

3.8 ± 0.1

7.3 ± 0.1

1.10 ± 0.01

30 ± 5

0.15 ± 0.02

1.96 ± 0.10

> 38,000

UIC3550

8 (3.42 m)

31/40

29 ± 4

85.44 ± 6.73

4.0 ± 0.1

6.1 ± 0.1

0.88 ± 0.01

30 ± 5

0.15 ± 0.02

1.77 ± 0.09

48,170 ± 4905

UIC3551

8 (3.75 m)

35/45

28 ± 4

57.96 ± 3.56

1.2 ± 0.1

2.4 ± 0.1

0.50 ± 0.01

30 ± 5

0.14 ± 0.02

0.80 ± 0.05

72,255 ± 6610

UIC3552

8 (3.95 m)

27/30

27 ± 4

45.87 ± 2.60

0.6 ± 0.1

1.4 ± 0.1

0.15 ± 0.01

30 ± 5

0.14 ± 0.02

0.40 ± 0.03

116,120 ± 11,215

UIC3553

8 (4.01 m)

29/30

20 ± 3

53.07 ± 2.84

0.7 ± 0.1

1.4 ± 0.1

0.17 ± 0.01

30 ± 5

0.14 ± 0.02

0.44 ± 0.03

124,925 ± 11,625

UIC3554

9 (4.32 m)

27/30

23 ± 3

> 77

2.5 ± 0.1

4.0 ± 0.1

0.57 ± 0.01

30 ± 5

0.13 ± 0.02

1.25 ± 0.06

> 62,000

aAliquots used in equivalent dose calculations versus original aliquots measured

bValue reflects precision beyond instrumental errors; value indicates low dispersion in equivalent dose values and a unimodal distribution

cEquivalent dose calculated on a pure quartz fraction with about 200–500 grains/aliquot (~ 2 mm plate area) and analyzed under blue-light excitation (470 ± 20 nm) by single aliquot regeneration protocols (Murray and Wintle 2003). Equivalent dose calculated using the central age model (Galbraith et al. 1999) when overdispersion is ≤ 20% (at 1 sigma limits) and a finite mixture model with an overdispersion between 29 and 27%

dU, Th, and K content analyzed by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry analyzed by Activation Laboratory LTD, Ontario, Canada

eCosmic dose rate calculated from parameters in Prescott and Hutton (1994)

fSystematic and random errors are included and reported errors are at 1 sigma; reference year for ages is AD 2000

The remaining six samples produced OSL ages that were consistently older than expected for both the upper and lower parts of the profile. The uppermost sample (UIC3545) from the lower portion of the modern soil yielded an OSL age of 18,280 years. The four samples from the level containing the principal artifact assemblage (layer 8) yielded OSL ages ranging between 48,170 and 124,925 years with a mean of 90,368 years, which is roughly twice the estimated age of this layer on the basis of radiocarbon dating and paleomagnetic stratigraphy. The discrepancy might be at least partly a function of erroneous soil moisture estimates, which were a problem in dating another MIS3 age equivalent site in an alluvial setting in southern Ukraine (Hoffecker et al. 2014, pp. 68–69).

Paleomagnetic Stratigraphy

The refinement of late Pleistocene geomagnetic stratigraphy in the past few decades has rendered it a potentially useful tool in dating late Middle and early Upper Paleolithic sites (e.g., Fedele et al. 2008; Pospelova 2005). Uncertainties over the number and timing of paleomagnetic excursions during the past 130,000 years (a result in part of uneven visibility of short-term events in many sedimentary records) appear to have been resolved (Laj and Channell 2007; Pospelova 2002). Two brief excursions now are firmly dated to MIS3: Mono Lake and Laschamp (Laj et al. 2014; Nowaczyk et al. 2012; Tauxe 2010, pp. 278–280). Each exhibits a characteristic (although similar) pattern with respect to paleosecular variations in the position of the magnetic pole and geomagnetic field intensity (reduced) over an interval of less than 2000 years (Channell 2006; Ingham et al. 2014; Lund et al. 2005; Negrini et al. 2014). A third event (Blake Event), entailing two brief intervals of reversed polarity over an interval of roughly 5000 years, is dated to MIS5e or roughly 120,000 years ago (Laj and Channell 2007, pp. 385–387; Osete et al. 2012; Tric et al. 1991).

The original analysis of the paleomagnetic stratigraphy at Shlyakh was undertaken by V. V. Gernik (A. P. Karpinsky Russian Geological Research Institute) and E. G. Gus’kova (Pushkov Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation, Russian Academy of Sciences). Samples were collected from profile #15 and the south wall of excavation #2 in 1999 and from profiles #19 and #20, north wall of excavation #4, and the sondage in 2000. A total of 782 samples were collected during 1999–2000 (Nehoroshev et al. 2003a, pp. 11–12; Nehoroshev et al. 2003b, p. 125).

Gernik and Gus’kova found evidence of two paleomagnetic excursions in the Shlyakh profiles. Significant variations in inclination (I) and declination (D), as well as ancient field intensity (Banc), were observed for the upper part of layer 4 in all examined profiles and in layer 9 in profiles #15 and #19. Based on virtual geomagnetic pole (VGP) plots, the two excursions were identified, respectively, as Mono Lake (layer 4A) and Laschamp (layer 9) (Nehoroshev et al. 2003a, pp. 12–13; Nehoroshev et al. 2003b).

In 2018, we undertook a fresh assessment of the paleomagnetic stratigraphy at Shlyakh in the context of developments in the field during the past decade and half (noted above). A new VGP plot for sample nos. 2–40 collected from layer 9 in profile #15 was prepared (see Fig. 7). The VGP plot indicates a clockwise loop in the western Pacific Ocean and southern Asia, which conforms to the pattern observed in marine cores for the Laschamp excursion (Laj et al. 2006), now dated at 41.2 ± 1.6 ka (Ingham et al. 2014; Laj et al. 2014). Some discrepancies between the VGP data from Shlyakh and the marine core plots for Laschamp probably reflect an incomplete record of the excursion in the terrestrial deposits at the site.
Fig. 7

Virtual geomagnetic pole (VGP) plot for sample nos. 2–40 collected from profile #15 in 1999 (prepared by NS 2018)

The VGP plot for layer 9 at Shlyakh also is similar to the pattern for the Mono Lake Excursion, now dated at 34.2 ± 1.2 ka (Laj et al. 2014; Negrini et al. 2014) and cannot be firmly differentiated from the latter. However, a similar VGP plot generated by Gernik and Gus’kova from samples collected from layer 4A suggests that the Mono Lake Excursion is represented in the upper portion of the profile and that the paleomagnetic excursion documented in layer 9 probably is Laschamp (Nehoroshev et al. 2003b, pp. 129–134). By contrast, the VGP plots for both excursions can be readily differentiated from the pattern of the Blake Event (~ 120 ka), which follows a path over North and South America (first phase), followed by an abrupt jump to Australia (Laj and Channell 2007, p. 386; Tric et al. 1991). In sum, the paleomagnetic stratigraphy at Shlyakh supports assignment of the artifact-bearing layers to MIS3 (and less than 50 ka).

Depositional Context of Artifact Assemblages

An analysis of site formation processes at Shlyakh is critical to interpretation of the age of the stone artifacts recovered from the site. Only the uppermost artifact assemblage—at the base of layer 4—is associated with an occupation lens (see below) indicating that the artifacts are in situ and not redeposited from an older context. The artifacts in the underlying layers, including the principal assemblage in layer 8 and lowermost assemblage in layer 9, are buried in alluvial sediment without associated features or occupation lenses and potentially contain items in secondary context.

As described above, the paleomagnetic chronology indicates that layer 9 was deposited during the Laschamp excursion roughly 41 ka, while overlying layer 8 contains large mammal bone fragments that are radiocarbon-dated to time periods that both precede and follow the Laschamp excursion. At least some of the bone fragments thus appear to be derived from an older context.

There are no obvious traces of rolling on the artifacts recovered from layers 8 and 9 and no evidence of artifact sorting by size and shape. The edges of the artifacts from all assemblages are sharp and fresh, and signs of fluvial transport are absent (see Fig. 8a). The assemblages from layers 7, 8, and 9 comprise artifacts of widely varying size and shape, ranging from relatively heavy and thick cores and core fragments to small flakes and fragments (including a < 1-cm-long fragment in the thin section sample collected from the base of layer 7). The lack of evidence for high-energy fluvial transport is consistent with the sedimentology and soil micromorphology of layers 7 and 8 (see above), which represent low-energy floodplain deposits that probably lacked the energy to move the heavier items for any significant distance or to sort the artifacts by size and shape.
Fig. 8

Artifacts and bone fragments from layer 8 at Shylakh, including Levallois blades (upper) and two large mammal fragments (lower) (photos by JFH)

Artifact Assemblages

More than 5700 stone artifacts were recovered at Shlyakh during the 1990–1991 and 1999–2000 excavations (Nehoroshev 2009, pp. 111–114), and an additional 132 items were found during the 2013 visit to the site. A total of five artifact assemblages were defined; the principal assemblage was found in layer 8, while smaller assemblages were identified in layers 4, 6, 7, and 9 (and isolated artifacts were found in layers 1, 2, and 5 [Nehoroshev 1999, p. 106]).

All of the artifacts recovered at Shlyakh are stone; none of the small quantity of mammal bone fragments found at the site exhibited traces of working. The source of the stone appears to be the locally available chert (tan, gray, and black) nodules derived from the Upper Carboniferous Lapushin Suite (Nehoroshev and Vishnyatsky 2000, p. 257). With the exception of the uppermost assemblage, the artifacts were not associated with features or other traces of occupation. The artifact inventory is presented in Table 5 and assemblages are described individually below.
Table 5

Artifacts recovered from Shlyakh during 1990–1991, 1999–2000, and 2013 (Nehoroshev 2009, pp. 111–114)

Description

Layer 4C

Layer 6

Layer 7

Layer 8

Layer 9

Cores

  

4

83

50

Nucleiform fragments

  

2

48

8

Flakes

10

6

66

1629

411

Bladesa

1

2

28

546

185

Bladeletsa

2

11

1

39

0

Microbladesa

1

7

0

0

0

Small flakes and fragments

134

60

15

2059

148

Tools (percent)

2 (1%)

0

5 (4%)

97 (2%)

73 (8%)

Points

  

1

2

0

Side-scrapers

1

 

1

10

8

Backed knivesa

   

9

1

End-scrapers

  

1

11

9

Burins

   

11

3

Borers

   

2

2

Retouched flakes

   

7

16

Retouched blades

   

0

15

Manuports

  

2

0

0

Other

1

  

35

19

Totals

150

86

123

4623

912

aIncludes fragments assigned to this category

Layer 4C

The artifact assemblage lies in situ within a 2–5-cm-thick zone in the lowermost portion of layer 4 at the contact with layer 5 (Nehoroshev 2009, p. 111). The artifacts are associated with a carbonaceous lens and yellow ochre stain. The assemblage is small (n = 150 items) and has yielded no cores and only one tool (side-scraper) but contains evidence of blade, bladelet, and microblade technology. Presumably, this assemblage, which antedates the Mono Lake excursion and the Last Glacial Maximum, represents one of the early Upper Paleolithic industries of the East European Plain, but the sample is too small for more specific assignment.

Layer 6

The smallest artifact assemblage (n = 86) was recovered from layer 6 and yielded no cores or tools, but, as in the case of layer 4C, it contains fragments of blades, bladelets, and microblades (Nehoroshev 2009, p. 111) and presumably represents an early Upper Paleolithic industry of the East European Plain. It probably dates to the same time range as the layer III occupation zone at Kostenki 1 (Hoffecker et al. 2016).

Layer 7

The artifact assemblage in layer 7 also is small and difficult to characterize, but yielded several cores and tools (Nehoroshev 2009, p. 111). The latter include a point (recovered in 2013), an end-scraper on a flake, and a retouched blade. In contrast to the overlying assemblages, there was no evidence of microblade technology, but a bladelet fragment was recovered in 2013.

Layer 8

The principal assemblage, which yielded 78% of the total number of artifacts at Shlyakh, is buried in layer 8. The assemblage contains more than 4600 artifacts, including more than a hundred cores and nucleiform fragments and roughly a hundred tools (Nehoroshev 2009, pp. 111–114). The cores comprise (a) flat-faced forms (total = 54), including radial (n = 5), standard (n = 23), bipolar (n = 21), and orthogonal or multidirectional (n = 1); (b) protoprismatic forms (total = 24), including edge-faceted (n = 10), wedge-shaped (n = 8), and low-backed (n = 5); and (c) irregular or amorphous forms (total = 5). Levallois products include blades, flakes, and typical unretouched points (n = 6) (Nehoroshev 2009, p. 114).

The layer 8 assemblage was subject to a detailed technological analysis that entailed reconstruction of the most commonly used core reduction strategy, which is summarized in Table 6. The importance of the sample size is underscored by the fact that the complete sequence was represented by a single example in layer 8 (Nehoroshev 2004, p. 122).
Table 6

Comparison of technology and tool manufacture at Bohunician sites, Molodova V, and Shlyakh (see notes for sources)

Operational steps

Stránská skála IIIa

Kulychivka, layer IIIb

Molodova V, layer 11c

Shlyakh, layer 8d

Raw material procurement

Local chert available in nodules and prismatic blocks (averaging 10–20 cm in length)

Local (Turonian) chert available in large nodules and blocks

Local chert available (size of cobbles?)

Local angular, flattened pieces of chert or, less often, slightly flattened “egg-shaped” nodules

Core shaping and modification

Longitudinal core orientation; frontal crest preparation; opposing platforms prepared

Longitudinal core orientation

Broad-face core orientation

Longitudinal core orientation; lateral crest preparation; “wedge-shaped” cores

Platform maintenance

Faceted platforms; some lipped platforms (soft hammer?)

Faceted platforms; some lipped platforms (soft hammer?)

Faceted platforms

Faceted platforms rare; platforms prepared with longitudinal or transverse removals

Direction of core reduction

Bidirectional, changing to unidirectional as core size reduced

Unidirectional and bidirectional (opposed) flaking

Unidirectional and bidirectional flaking

Unidirectional and bidirectional (perpendicular) flaking

Blank production

Hard hammer percussion (probably soft hammer also); “elongated Levallois points”

Hard hammer percussion predominant (but soft hammer also used); Levallois blades, blade-like flakes, and flakes

Hard hammer percussion (?); elongate Levallois blanks, often 8–12 cm long, and relatively wide (“elongate Levallois flakes”)

Hard and soft hammer percussion; Levallois blades (averaging 8 cm in length)

Tool manufacture

End-scrapers, side-scrapers, Levallois points, bifacial points (tools = 4%)

End-scrapers, Levallois points (tools = 3.4%)

Mousterian points, side-scrapers (tools = 2%)

Side-scrapers, end-scrapers, burins (tools = 2%)

aŠkrdla (2003), Škrdla and Nikolajev (2014), and Tostevin (2003a, b)

bMeignen et al. (2004), Sitnik and Koropets’kii (2010), Škrdla and Nikolajev 2014, and V.N. Stepanchuk and J.F. Hoffecker, unpub. notes, 2018

cChernysh (1987), Meignen et al. (2004), and Tostevin (2000)

dNehoroshev (1999, 2004)

The process began with selection of a piece of chert of suitable size and shape and a series of transverse removals designed to form a crest, followed by formation of a thinned distal end or keel and a ridge. After removal of a crested flake, a series of blanks were detached from the face of the core, producing a convex surface, which was subject to additional removals to create multiple ridges (see Fig. 9) (Nehoroshev 2004, pp. 122–124). Blades were struck from this surface (Fig. 10). The reduction sequence varied, however, and specific steps described in Table 6 sometimes were omitted.
Fig. 9

Core reduction strategy for layer 8 at Shlyakh (adapted from Nehoroshev 1999, p. 163, fig. 41)

Fig. 10

Blades from layer 8 at Shlyakh (adapted from Nehoroshev 1999, p. 156, fig. 34)

The most common tool types in layer 8 are (a) side-scrapers, which include single straight (n = 5), double straight (n = 2), convergent (n = 1), and canted (n = 1); (b) end-scrapers, which are atypical and have been characterized as “Mousterian end-scrapers” (see Nehoroshev 1999, p. 54, 2004, p. 119); and (c) “burin-like tools,” which are described as “crude and inexpressive,” made on snapped pieces, splinters, and a natural flake (Nehoroshev 1999, p. 55, 2004, p. 119; see Fig. 11). A number of tools, including side-scrapers, points, and knives, exhibit traces of “truncation-faceting” (Nehoroshev 2004, p. 124).
Fig. 11

Tools from layer 8 at Shlyakh, including points (1–2) and side-scrapers (3–9) (adapted from Nehoroshev 1999, p. 145, fig. 23)

With respect to both primary flaking technology and tool typology, the layer 8 assemblage may be firmly assigned to the Middle Paleolithic (Nehoroshev 2009, p. 114). Despite some similarities to Upper Paleolithic blade technology (e.g., formation of crests on the cores), the core reduction strategy is fundamentally Mousterian. The unretouched blanks include Levallois points, while the retouched tools are represented by typical Middle Paleolithic forms, such as side-scrapers, and atypical examples of Upper Paleolithic types, such as burins (Nehoroshev 1999, pp. 52–55).

Layer 9

Although smaller than the layer 8 assemblage, the artifacts recovered from layer 9 (> 900 items), which unconformably overlies the Upper Carboniferous bedrock, constitute another important assemblage (Nehoroshev and Vishnyatsky 2002). Because the percentage of cores and tools is significantly higher in layer 9, their numbers are comparable to those in layer 8 (see Table 5).

Among the 45 cores are flat-faced forms (e.g., radial, standard, bipolar), protoprismatic forms (edge-faceted and wedge-shaped), and amorphous, as in layer 8. Levallois products include flakes and blades and the index of blades is higher (24%) than it is for layer 8 (Nehoroshev 2009, p. 114; Nehoroshev and Vishnyatsky 2002, p. 153). The primary flaking technique has been described as a “simplified” version of the layer 8 core reduction strategy (Nehoroshev 2009, p. 114). Retouched pieces also are similar to layer 8, but some forms in layer 8 are not found in the lowermost artifact assemblage (e.g., backed knives, points) (Nehoroshev and Vishnyatsky 2002, pp. 150–154).

Summary and Discussion

Our 2013 revisit to Shlyakh and follow-up analyses of samples collected during the new field research yielded a new perspective on the site and its Middle Paleolithic artifact assemblages. Most important, the new stratigraphic profiles, supplemented with soil micromorphology and analysis of pedogenic carbonates, provided a more detailed and complete picture of the stratigraphic and depositional context of the site.

With respect to the dating of Shlyakh, the new research largely duplicated the earlier results, including anomalous luminescence ages and wide range of dates on the main cultural layer (layer 8). We were unable to find traces of the CI tephra in the stratigraphic profile. A fresh assessment of the paleomagnetic stratigraphy, in the light of developments in this field during the past two decades (i.e., since the earlier research was undertaken), suggests that paleomagnetic stratigraphy provides the most reliable basis for dating the artifact assemblages at Shlyakh.

The open-air site of Shlyakh is located on a small tributary of the Don River on the southern plain of eastern Europe. The site was occupied during the late Pleistocene, when riverine sediment was accumulating in areas excavated between 1990 and 2001, as well as in 2013. The lowermost assemblage of artifacts (layer 9) was buried in mainstream alluvium, but younger assemblages (layers 8 and 7) lie in a low-energy floodplain setting with minimal flooding. The absence of evidence on the artifacts for stream transport (i.e., rolling) and for sorting by size and shape indicates that the assemblages probably are in primary context and have not been redeposited from a significantly older context.

Shlyakh has been interpreted as a quarry workshop (Nehoroshev 1999, 2004) and it is apparent that the abundance of locally available chert nodules eroding from exposed Upper Carboniferous limestone was the primary—if not exclusive—attraction of the site (Nehoroshev and Vishnyatsky 2000, p. 257). The high percentage of cores and core-related items in the lowermost layers suggests that primary stone flaking was the principal activity at Shlyakh (at least during the period that layers 8 and 9 were occupied). Although a small quantity of large mammal bone fragments was recovered from layer 8, it is unclear if they represent the remains of animals killed and/or butchered at the site.

The dating of Shlyakh is based primarily on paleomagnetic stratigraphy. Two paleomagnetic excursions were identified in the site profile on the basis of samples collected in 1999–2000 and analyzed by the late V. V. Gernik and E. G. Gus’kova (Nehoroshev et al. 2003b). A new assessment of the Shlyakh paleomagnetic stratigraphy indicates that these excursions most probably represent the Mono Lake and Laschamp excursions, now dated at 34.2 ± 1.2 and 41.2 ± 1.6 ka, respectively (Laj et al. 2006, 2014; Negrini et al. 2014). The radiocarbon chronology supports the paleomagnetic stratigraphy, although large-mammal bones from time periods separated by several thousand years may be represented in layer 8. The pollen and soil stratigraphy (including the analysis of pedogenic carbonates) is consistent with the paleomagnetic stratigraphy (i.e., with climate conditions between 41 ka and the beginning of the LGM, following the Mono Lake excursion).

We conclude that layer 9 accumulated roughly 41,000 years ago, shortly before the CI eruption and beginning of the ~ 2000-year-long Heinrich Event 4 (HE4) cold interval (~ 40–38 ka) (Andersen et al. 2006; Weninger and Jöris 2008). Layer 8 probably accumulated within a few thousand years of layer 9; the absence of extreme cold/dry conditions in the pollen record in this layer2 may indicate a depositional hiatus during HE4, and two of the ultrafiltered collagen dates on layer 8 suggest an age of between 38,000 and 35,000 cal BP.

Where do the artifact assemblages from layers 8 and 9 at Shlyakh fit in the wider context of the biological and cultural transition in Europe 50–40 ka? The dating of the site indicates that they lie near or at the end of this interval. At this time, i.e., roughly 40,000 cal BP, both Neanderthals and modern humans appear to be present in Europe (Higham et al. 2011, 2014), although it has yet to be confirmed that both taxa are present on the East European Plain at this time. Modern human skeletal remains are reliably dated to > 40,000 cal BP at Kostenki (located upstream from Shlyakh on the Don River), where they underlie the CI tephra (Anikovich et al. 2007b; Holliday et al. 2007),3 but no Neanderthal remains on the East European Plain are dated to less than 50,000 cal BP (Gerasimova et al. 2007). We conclude that the authorship of the Shlyakh assemblages is undetermined and conceivably might be either Neanderthals or modern humans.

The dating of Shlyakh indicates that the artifact assemblages in layers 8 and 9 are broadly contemporaneous to—they fall within the upper and lower temporal boundaries of—the Bohunician (i.e., IUP) sites of central and eastern Europe (Kuhn and Zwyns 2014; Nejman et al. 2011; Richter et al. 2008; Škrdla et al. 2016). The Shlyakh assemblages also are contemporaneous to at least some assemblages in northern Asia assigned to the IUP (e.g., Kara-Bom, Kamenka [Zwyns et al. 2012; Zwyns and Lbova 2019]). If anything, our new research on the dating of Shlyakh suggests that layers 8 and 9 may be slightly younger than many or most of the IUP sites in Europe and northern Asia.

Despite some similarities with the IUP industries in Europe and Asia, the assemblages from layers 8 and 9 at Shlyakh are appropriately classified as Middle Paleolithic. The blade technology at Shlyakh entails the formation of crests on the cores—although examples of crested blades are absent—which is highly unusual for the Middle Paleolithic and recalls the crested blade technique in the IUP (e.g., Meignen et al. 2004; Škrdla 2003; Zwyns and Lbova 2019). Also uncharacteristic of the Middle Paleolithic is the presence of truncated-facetted pieces, which are found in some IUP sites (e.g., Zwyns et al. 2012, pp. 41–42). Overall, however, the retouched items in layers 8 and 9 are typical of the Middle Paleolithic but not of the IUP (see Table 6),4 and the pattern is unlikely to be generated or heavily influenced by raw material characteristics or site function. While the size and shape of the chert nodules affects the core technology, they have limited influence over the pattern of retouch (e.g., Škrdla 2003, p. 139). And, although Shlyakh represents a quarry-workshop site, Middle Paleolithic types also dominate the tools in the lower levels at Biryuch’ya Balka 2 (Matyukhin 2012), which is not a quarry but may be included in the same regional late Middle Paleolithic blade industry, as described below.

Shlyakh is one of a group of Middle Paleolithic sites located in the south-central plain of eastern Europe that date to the period of the biological and cultural transitions in Europe. Assemblages with close parallels to Shlyakh are found at three sites in the Donbass region (Kurdyumovka, Zvanovka, and Belokuz’minovka) (Kolesnik 2003; Nehoroshev 1999, pp. 78–83) and Biryuch’ya Balka 1a and 2 on the Severskii Donets near its confluence with the Don River (Matyukhin 2006, p. 168, 2012; Stepanchuk 2006, p. 105) (see Fig. 1). At least two of these sites—Belokuz’minovka and Biryuch’ya Balka—contain assemblages/layers that probably date to less than 50,000 cal BP, based on soil–stratigraphic correlation and, in the case of the latter, some supporting radiocarbon dates (Matyukhin 2012, pp. 26–30; Otte et al. 2006; Stepanchuk 2006, pp. 106–107). In terms of both dating and characteristics, the industry represented in these sites may be included in the broad category of “transitional” industries, which are widely distributed across Europe and Northern Asia 50–40 ka.5

The “transitional industry” on the south-central plain of eastern Europe presents an anomaly for the period 50–40 ka, when compared to most other parts of northern Eurasia. In central Europe and the southwest plain of eastern Europe, as well as in the Levant, central Asia, and northern Asia, a local IUP industry is documented during this interval (Hublin 2015; Kuhn and Zwyns 2014; Hoffecker 2017). On the south-central plain, the IUP is absent and this conclusion is supported by the sequence of industries at Kostenki—located upstream from Shlyakh on the Don River—where a well-dated and well-sampled context for the 45,000–40,000 cal BP interval yields no trace of the IUP (e.g., Anikovich et al. 2008). In its place, we see both one or more Upper Paleolithic industries and the late Middle Paleolithic blade industry represented at Shlyakh and the other sites mentioned above. The anomalous pattern in the archeological record suggests that the biological and/or cultural transitions during 50–40 ka across much of northern Eurasia followed a different course on the south-central plain of eastern Europe.

Conceivably, the late Middle Paleolithic blade assemblages of the south-central plain (i.e., the Shlyakh group) represent a local manifestation of the IUP. The features common to both, although limited, support this possibility. If the IUP is an archeological proxy for modern humans (e.g., Hoffecker 2009; Hublin 2015), which remains to be confirmed, the Shlyakh group may indicate that the lithic technology and tool types produced by the people who made the IUP are more varied than previously assumed (Kuhn and Zwyns 2014).

An alternative explanation, which cannot be excluded at this point, is that the Shlyakh group of assemblages was made by a local Neanderthal population (that would have shared the south-central plain with the modern humans represented at Kostenki for at least a few thousand years). Instead of a relationship to the IUP industries in other parts of northern Eurasia, the Shlyakh group might be linked to other Middle Paleolithic blade assemblages in eastern Europe, such as those found in the southwest plain at sites like Molodova 1 and 5 (Chernysh 1982, 1987), which date to the earliest phase of MIS3 (slightly older than 50,000 cal BP) (Haesaerts et al. 2003; Sitnik et al. 2007). To understand the role of the Shlyakh group in the biological and cultural transitions that took place on the south-central plain during later phases of MIS3, the authorship of the assemblages must be resolved.

Footnotes

  1. 1.

    One of the bone fragments from layer 8 dated by the Oxford AMS Laboratory was identified as Equus sp. (Bronk Ramsey et al. 2002, p. 38).

  2. 2.

    Overall, the pollen–spore record at Shlyakh appears to reflect interstadial climates, with some warm and cool oscillations; the uppermost pollen zone indicates significantly cooler and drier conditions (Nehoroshev et al. 2003a, pp. 14–15).

  3. 3.

    Two isolated teeth recovered from beneath the CI tephra at Kostenki are assigned to modern humans (Gerasimova et al. 2007, pp. 95–108).

  4. 4.

    While the IUP sites contain high percentages of Upper Paleolithic tools (e.g., typical end-scrapers [e.g., Svoboda 2003b, pp. 153–157]), typical Upper Paleolithic tools are virtually absent at Shlyakh (the tools classified as burins and end-scrapers are atypical). The contrast in tool inventories also is found in the IUP assemblages of northern Asia (e.g., Kuhn and Zwyns 2014; Zwyns et al. 2012, p. 43; Zwyns and Lbova 2019). The exception to the pattern at Shlyakh is a high-backed end-scraper, similar to tools recovered from—and considered especially diagnostic of—the early Upper Paleolithic in western and central Europe. The artifact was discovered in fill deposits apparently derived from layer 9, although its provenience is problematic.

  5. 5.

    Although initially applied specifically to the Emiran/IUP (Bar-Yosef 2000), the term “transitional industry” (or “transitional units”) subsequently was applied to a broad range of local industries in northern Eurasia, such as the Szeletian and Uluzzian, that (a) contain elements of both the Middle and Upper Paleolithic technology and/or tool types and (b) date to the end of the Middle, and the beginning of the Upper, Paleolithic (e.g., Kozlowski 2007; Villa et al. 2018).

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Catherine M. Cameron, Sarah J. Kurnick, Stephen Lekson, Payson Sheets, Timothy Webmoor, and multiple anonymous reviewers for two journals, all of whom reviewed earlier drafts of the manuscript. The senior author thanks Ruslan Koropets’kii and Vadim Stepanchuk for the opportunity to examine the Bohunician assemblages from Kulychivka in western Ukraine.

Funding Information

The field and laboratory research was supported by a Leakey Foundation 2013 general grant and multiple grants from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research. The Leakey Foundation grant was administered by the Illinois State Museum.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Hoffecker
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vance T. Holliday
    • 2
  • Pavel Nehoroshev
    • 3
  • Leonid Vishnyatsky
    • 3
  • Alexander Otcherednoy
    • 3
  • Natalya Salnaya
    • 4
  • Paul Goldberg
    • 5
    • 6
  • John Southon
    • 7
  • Scott J. Lehman
    • 1
  • Patrick J. Cappa
    • 1
  • Biagio Giaccio
    • 8
  • Steven L. Forman
    • 9
  • Jay Quade
    • 10
  1. 1.Institute of Arctic and Alpine ResearchUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Anthropology and GeosciencesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  3. 3.Institute for the History of Material CultureRussian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia
  4. 4.Schmidt Institute of Earth PhysicsRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  5. 5.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  6. 6.Institute for Archaeological SciencesUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  7. 7.Earth System Science DepartmentUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA
  8. 8.Istituto di Geologia Ambientale e GeoingegneriaCNRRomeItaly
  9. 9.Geoluminescence Dating Research Laboratory, Department of GeologyBaylor UniversityWacoUSA
  10. 10.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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