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The oldest anatomically modern humans from far southeast Europe: direct dating, culture and behavior.

Prat S, Péan SC, Crépin L, Drucker DG, Puaud SJ, Valladas H, Lázničková-Galetová M, van der Plicht J, Yanevich A - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: Based on a multidisciplinary approach for the study of human and faunal remains, we describe here the oldest AMH remains from the extreme southeast Europe, in conjunction with their associated cultural and paleoecological background.The direct-dating results of human bone establish a secure presence of AMHs at 31,900+240/-220 BP in this region.These findings are essential for the debate on the spread of modern humans in Europe during the Upper Paleolithic, as well as their cultural behaviors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratoire Dynamique de l'Evolution Humaine/UPR 2147, CNRS, Paris, France. sandrine.prat@evolhum.cnrs.fr

ABSTRACT

Background: Anatomically Modern Humans (AMHs) are known to have spread across Europe during the period coinciding with the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition. Whereas their dispersal into Western Europe is relatively well established, evidence of an early settlement of Eastern Europe by modern humans are comparatively scarce.

Methodology/principal finding: Based on a multidisciplinary approach for the study of human and faunal remains, we describe here the oldest AMH remains from the extreme southeast Europe, in conjunction with their associated cultural and paleoecological background. We applied taxonomy, paleoecology, and taphonomy combined with geomorphology, stratigraphy, archeology and radiocarbon dating. More than 160 human bone remains have been discovered. They originate from a well documented Upper Paleolithic archeological layer (Gravettian cultural tradition) from the site of Buran-Kaya III located in Crimea (Ukraine). The combination of non-metric dental traits and the morphology of the occipital bones allow us to attribute the human remains to Anatomically Modern Humans. A set of human and faunal remains from this layer has been radiocarbon dated by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry. The direct-dating results of human bone establish a secure presence of AMHs at 31,900+240/-220 BP in this region. They are the oldest direct evidence of the presence of AMHs in a well documented archeological context. Based on taphonomical observations (cut marks and distribution of skeletal elements), they represent the oldest Upper Paleolithic modern humans from Eastern Europe, showing post-mortem treatment of the dead as well.

Conclusion/significance: These findings are essential for the debate on the spread of modern humans in Europe during the Upper Paleolithic, as well as their cultural behaviors.

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General view of Buran-Kaya III rock-shelter.
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pone-0020834-g002: General view of Buran-Kaya III rock-shelter.

Mentions: We report here the discovery and subsequent first scientific investigation of the human remains from the Buran-Kaya III site. This shelter-cave, overhanging the Burulcha river in the Belogorsk region (N45°00′10.5′′; E34°24′16.3′′) (Figure 2), was discovered in 1990 by A. Yanevich and excavated up to 2001 by a team under the direction of A. Yanevich and A. Marks, with the participation of V. Chabai, Y. Demidenko, K. Monigal, M. Otte and Y. Yamada. Nineteen cultural layers have been identified spanning a period stretching from the Middle Paleolithic to the Middle Ages [26]–[28]. The site was reopened for excavation in 2009 under the direction of A. Yanevich and S. Péan. The excavation and detailed analyses of the human and faunal remains are still continuing.


The oldest anatomically modern humans from far southeast Europe: direct dating, culture and behavior.

Prat S, Péan SC, Crépin L, Drucker DG, Puaud SJ, Valladas H, Lázničková-Galetová M, van der Plicht J, Yanevich A - PLoS ONE (2011)

General view of Buran-Kaya III rock-shelter.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3117838&req=5

pone-0020834-g002: General view of Buran-Kaya III rock-shelter.
Mentions: We report here the discovery and subsequent first scientific investigation of the human remains from the Buran-Kaya III site. This shelter-cave, overhanging the Burulcha river in the Belogorsk region (N45°00′10.5′′; E34°24′16.3′′) (Figure 2), was discovered in 1990 by A. Yanevich and excavated up to 2001 by a team under the direction of A. Yanevich and A. Marks, with the participation of V. Chabai, Y. Demidenko, K. Monigal, M. Otte and Y. Yamada. Nineteen cultural layers have been identified spanning a period stretching from the Middle Paleolithic to the Middle Ages [26]–[28]. The site was reopened for excavation in 2009 under the direction of A. Yanevich and S. Péan. The excavation and detailed analyses of the human and faunal remains are still continuing.

Bottom Line: Based on a multidisciplinary approach for the study of human and faunal remains, we describe here the oldest AMH remains from the extreme southeast Europe, in conjunction with their associated cultural and paleoecological background.The direct-dating results of human bone establish a secure presence of AMHs at 31,900+240/-220 BP in this region.These findings are essential for the debate on the spread of modern humans in Europe during the Upper Paleolithic, as well as their cultural behaviors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratoire Dynamique de l'Evolution Humaine/UPR 2147, CNRS, Paris, France. sandrine.prat@evolhum.cnrs.fr

ABSTRACT

Background: Anatomically Modern Humans (AMHs) are known to have spread across Europe during the period coinciding with the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition. Whereas their dispersal into Western Europe is relatively well established, evidence of an early settlement of Eastern Europe by modern humans are comparatively scarce.

Methodology/principal finding: Based on a multidisciplinary approach for the study of human and faunal remains, we describe here the oldest AMH remains from the extreme southeast Europe, in conjunction with their associated cultural and paleoecological background. We applied taxonomy, paleoecology, and taphonomy combined with geomorphology, stratigraphy, archeology and radiocarbon dating. More than 160 human bone remains have been discovered. They originate from a well documented Upper Paleolithic archeological layer (Gravettian cultural tradition) from the site of Buran-Kaya III located in Crimea (Ukraine). The combination of non-metric dental traits and the morphology of the occipital bones allow us to attribute the human remains to Anatomically Modern Humans. A set of human and faunal remains from this layer has been radiocarbon dated by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry. The direct-dating results of human bone establish a secure presence of AMHs at 31,900+240/-220 BP in this region. They are the oldest direct evidence of the presence of AMHs in a well documented archeological context. Based on taphonomical observations (cut marks and distribution of skeletal elements), they represent the oldest Upper Paleolithic modern humans from Eastern Europe, showing post-mortem treatment of the dead as well.

Conclusion/significance: These findings are essential for the debate on the spread of modern humans in Europe during the Upper Paleolithic, as well as their cultural behaviors.

Show MeSH