January 05, 2006

New dates for Vindija Neandertals: around 32-33kya

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (published online)

Revised direct radiocarbon dating of the Vindija G1 Upper Paleolithic Neandertals

Tom Higham et al.

The 1998/1999 direct dating of two Neandertal specimens from level G1 of Vindija Cave in Croatia to approximately 28,000 and approximately 29,000 radiocarbon (14C) years ago has led to interpretations concerning the late survival of Neandertals in south-central Europe, patterns of interaction between Neandertals and in-dispersing early modern humans in Europe, and complex biocultural scenarios for the earlier phases of the Upper Paleolithic. Given improvements, particularly in sample pretreatment techniques for bone radiocarbon samples, especially ultrafiltration of collagen samples, these Vindija G1 Neandertal fossils are redated to approximately 32,000-33,000 14C years ago and possibly earlier. These results and the recent redating of a number of purportedly old modern human skeletal remains in Europe to younger time periods highlight the importance of fine chronological control when studying this biocultural time period and the tenuous nature of monolithic scenarios for the establishment of modern humans and earlier phases of the Upper Paleolithic in Europe.


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