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U-Th dating of carbonate crusts reveals Neandertal origin of Iberian cave art

U-Th dating of carbonate crusts reveals Neandertal origin of Iberian cave art
U-Th dating of carbonate crusts reveals Neandertal origin of Iberian cave art

The extent and nature of symbolic behavior among Neandertals are obscure. Although evidence for Neandertal body ornamentation has been proposed, all cave painting has been attributed to modern humans. Here we present dating results for three sites in Spain that show that cave art emerged in Iberia substantially earlier than previously thought. Uranium-thorium (U-Th) dates on carbonate crusts overlying paintings provide minimum ages for a red linear motif in La Pasiega (Cantabria), a hand stencil in Maltravieso (Extremadura), and red-painted speleothems in Ardales (Andalucía). Collectively, these results show that cave art in Iberia is older than 64.8 thousand years (ka). This cave art is the earliest dated so far and predates, by at least 20 ka, the arrival of modern humans in Europe, which implies Neandertal authorship.

0036-8075
912-915
Hoffmann, D.L.
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Standish, C.D.
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García-Diez, M.
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Pettitt, P. B.
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Milton, J.A.
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Zilhão, J.
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Alcolea-González, J.J.
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Cantalejo-Duarte, P.
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Collado, H.
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De Balbín, R.
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Lorblanchet, M.
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Ramos-Muñoz, J.
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Weniger, G. Ch
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Pike, A.W.G.
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Hoffmann, D.L.
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Standish, C.D.
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García-Diez, M.
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Pettitt, P. B.
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Milton, J.A.
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Zilhão, J.
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Alcolea-González, J.J.
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Cantalejo-Duarte, P.
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Collado, H.
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De Balbín, R.
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Lorblanchet, M.
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Ramos-Muñoz, J.
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Weniger, G. Ch
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Pike, A.W.G.
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Hoffmann, D.L., Standish, C.D., García-Diez, M., Pettitt, P. B., Milton, J.A., Zilhão, J., Alcolea-González, J.J., Cantalejo-Duarte, P., Collado, H., De Balbín, R., Lorblanchet, M., Ramos-Muñoz, J., Weniger, G. Ch and Pike, A.W.G. (2018) U-Th dating of carbonate crusts reveals Neandertal origin of Iberian cave art. Science, 359 (6378), 912-915. (doi:10.1126/science.aap7778).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The extent and nature of symbolic behavior among Neandertals are obscure. Although evidence for Neandertal body ornamentation has been proposed, all cave painting has been attributed to modern humans. Here we present dating results for three sites in Spain that show that cave art emerged in Iberia substantially earlier than previously thought. Uranium-thorium (U-Th) dates on carbonate crusts overlying paintings provide minimum ages for a red linear motif in La Pasiega (Cantabria), a hand stencil in Maltravieso (Extremadura), and red-painted speleothems in Ardales (Andalucía). Collectively, these results show that cave art in Iberia is older than 64.8 thousand years (ka). This cave art is the earliest dated so far and predates, by at least 20 ka, the arrival of modern humans in Europe, which implies Neandertal authorship.

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Accepted/In Press date: 1 December 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 February 2018
Published date: 23 February 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 418540
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/418540
ISSN: 0036-8075
PURE UUID: eb3a76ab-354e-46b0-8408-2b93a4369f59
ORCID for A.W.G. Pike: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5610-8948

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Date deposited: 09 Mar 2018 17:32
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:20

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Contributors

Author: D.L. Hoffmann
Author: C.D. Standish
Author: M. García-Diez
Author: P. B. Pettitt
Author: J.A. Milton
Author: J. Zilhão
Author: J.J. Alcolea-González
Author: P. Cantalejo-Duarte
Author: H. Collado
Author: R. De Balbín
Author: M. Lorblanchet
Author: J. Ramos-Muñoz
Author: G. Ch Weniger
Author: A.W.G. Pike ORCID iD

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