Current Anthropology doi: 10.1086/588540
A New Cultural Frontier for the Last Neanderthals: The Uluzzian in Northern Italy
The Middle–Upper Paleolithic shift was a crucial event intimately involved in Neanderthal biogeography and the patchy scenario that emerges from the last marked cultural and behavioral evolution our extinct relatives underwent during the interval 50-30 k.yr. BP. In Mediterranean Europe, this behavior, considered modern, gave rise to the Uluzzian, a cultural complex confined to central-southern Italy and Greece as a consequence of the supposed retreat of archaic humans in the face of the rapid diffusion of Homo sapiens. The recent discovery of dwelling structures and lithic implements at Fumane Cave in northeastern Italy redraws this scenario and depicts at 33.4 k.yr. BP the northernmost frontier to which the Uluzzian spread around the Great Adriatic Plain, a pivotal region near the western edge of the Middle Danube basin, where the last Neanderthals were using very different cultural items.