The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Volcanic ash layers illuminate the resilience of Neanderthals and early Modern Humans to natural hazards

Lowe, J., Barton, N., Blockley, S., Bronk Ramsey, C., Cullen, V.L., Davies, William, Gamble, Clive, Grant, K., Hardiman, M., Housley, R., Lane, C.S., Lee, S, Lewis, M., MacLeod, A., Menzies, M.A., Mueller, W., Pollard, M., Price, C., Roberts, A.P., Rohling, E.J., Satow, C., Smith, V.C., Stringer, C., Tomlinson, E.L., White, D., Albert, P.G., Arienzo, I., Barker, G., Boric, D., Carendente, A., Civetta, L., Ferrier, C., Guadelli, J.-L., Karkanas, P., Koumouzelis, M., Mueller, U.C., Orsi, G., Pross, J., Rosi, M., Shalamanov-Korobar, L., Sirakov, N. and Tzedakis, P.C. Reset Team (2012) Volcanic ash layers illuminate the resilience of Neanderthals and early Modern Humans to natural hazards Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109, (34), pp. 13532-13537. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1204579109).

Record type: Article


Marked changes in human dispersal and development during the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition have been attributed to massive volcanic eruption and/or severe climatic deterioration. We test this concept using new records of volcanic ash layers of the Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) eruption, dated to c. 40,000 years ago (40 ka BP). The
distribution of the CI has been enhanced by the discovery of ‘cryptotephra’ deposits, volcanic ash layers that are not visible to the naked eye, in archaeological cave sequences. They enable us to synchronise archaeological and paleoclimatic records through the period of transition from Neanderthal to earliest anatomically modern human populations in Europe. Our results confirm that the combined effects of a major volcanic eruption and severe climatic cooling failed to have lasting impacts on Neanderthals or early modern humans in Europe. We infer that modern humans proved a greater competitive threat to indigenous populations than natural disasters.

Text[1].pdf - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only
Download (1MB)

More information

Published date: 21 August 2012
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Archaeology


Local EPrints ID: 341084
ISSN: 0027-8424
PURE UUID: bf75ee98-0ddc-4bba-858b-fcb96a2e842a
ORCID for E.J. Rohling: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Jul 2012 09:02
Last modified: 03 Oct 2017 16:40

Export record



Author: J. Lowe
Author: N. Barton
Author: S. Blockley
Author: C. Bronk Ramsey
Author: V.L. Cullen
Author: William Davies
Author: Clive Gamble
Author: K. Grant
Author: M. Hardiman
Author: R. Housley
Author: C.S. Lane
Author: S Lee
Author: M. Lewis
Author: A. MacLeod
Author: M.A. Menzies
Author: W. Mueller
Author: M. Pollard
Author: C. Price
Author: A.P. Roberts
Author: E.J. Rohling ORCID iD
Author: C. Satow
Author: V.C. Smith
Author: C. Stringer
Author: E.L. Tomlinson
Author: D. White
Author: P.G. Albert
Author: I. Arienzo
Author: G. Barker
Author: D. Boric
Author: A. Carendente
Author: L. Civetta
Author: C. Ferrier
Author: J.-L. Guadelli
Author: P. Karkanas
Author: M. Koumouzelis
Author: U.C. Mueller
Author: G. Orsi
Author: J. Pross
Author: M. Rosi
Author: L. Shalamanov-Korobar
Author: N. Sirakov
Author: P.C. Tzedakis

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.