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A revised, last Interglacial chronology for the Middle Palaeolithic sequence of Gruta da Oliveira (Almonda karst system, Torres Novas, Portugal)

A revised, last Interglacial chronology for the Middle Palaeolithic sequence of Gruta da Oliveira (Almonda karst system, Torres Novas, Portugal)
A revised, last Interglacial chronology for the Middle Palaeolithic sequence of Gruta da Oliveira (Almonda karst system, Torres Novas, Portugal)
Based on previous radiocarbon and U-series (Diffusion/Adsorption) dating of bone samples, the Middle Palaeolithic has been thought to persist at Gruta da Oliveira until ∼37 thousand years (ka) ago. New U-series ages for stratigraphically constraining speleothems, coupled with new luminescence ages for sediment infill, show that the site’s ∼6 m-thick archaeological stratigraphy dates entirely within a <30 ka interval spanning substages 5a-5b of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5. Significant technological change is observed across the sequence, akin to that seen in the Upper Palaeolithic over similar timescales. Flake-cleavers and bifaces, normatively definitional of the Vasconian facies, are restricted to a short interval correlated with Greenland Stadial (GS) 22, 85.1–87.6 ka ago. In cave and rock-shelter sites of southern and western Iberia, intact archaeological deposits securely dated to the ∼37–42 ka interval remain elusive. Geological dynamics (e.g., erosion, sedimentation hiatuses, palimpsest formation) and human adaptive responses to climate-driven environmental change (e.g., abandonment of now forest-covered low- and mid-altitude karst areas, concentration of settlement in alluvial plains and coastal settings) are possible explanations for this pattern.
Middle Palaeolithic, Neandertals, Optically stimulated luminescence dating, Palaeogeography, Pleistocene, Radiocarbon, Speleothems, U-series, Vasconian, Western Europe
0277-3791
1-9
Zilhão, João
ee37d05b-42ad-4c2a-9d59-de29e90db35a
Angelucci, Diego E.
b85f93d8-aa64-4111-b8be-788337cb06f4
Arnold, Lee J.
6a61ebbb-1072-4343-9879-a01e418d7df0
Demuro, Martina
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Hoffmann, Dirk L.
c0692e66-6bca-4e4d-adf3-19dc980fa524
Pike, Alistair W.g.
e8603e20-0a89-4d57-a294-247b983fc857
Zilhão, João
ee37d05b-42ad-4c2a-9d59-de29e90db35a
Angelucci, Diego E.
b85f93d8-aa64-4111-b8be-788337cb06f4
Arnold, Lee J.
6a61ebbb-1072-4343-9879-a01e418d7df0
Demuro, Martina
5e62ae8f-728e-489d-9e19-a9bac720293a
Hoffmann, Dirk L.
c0692e66-6bca-4e4d-adf3-19dc980fa524
Pike, Alistair W.g.
e8603e20-0a89-4d57-a294-247b983fc857

Zilhão, João, Angelucci, Diego E., Arnold, Lee J., Demuro, Martina, Hoffmann, Dirk L. and Pike, Alistair W.g. (2021) A revised, last Interglacial chronology for the Middle Palaeolithic sequence of Gruta da Oliveira (Almonda karst system, Torres Novas, Portugal). Quaternary Science Reviews, 258, 1-9, [106885]. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.106885).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Based on previous radiocarbon and U-series (Diffusion/Adsorption) dating of bone samples, the Middle Palaeolithic has been thought to persist at Gruta da Oliveira until ∼37 thousand years (ka) ago. New U-series ages for stratigraphically constraining speleothems, coupled with new luminescence ages for sediment infill, show that the site’s ∼6 m-thick archaeological stratigraphy dates entirely within a <30 ka interval spanning substages 5a-5b of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5. Significant technological change is observed across the sequence, akin to that seen in the Upper Palaeolithic over similar timescales. Flake-cleavers and bifaces, normatively definitional of the Vasconian facies, are restricted to a short interval correlated with Greenland Stadial (GS) 22, 85.1–87.6 ka ago. In cave and rock-shelter sites of southern and western Iberia, intact archaeological deposits securely dated to the ∼37–42 ka interval remain elusive. Geological dynamics (e.g., erosion, sedimentation hiatuses, palimpsest formation) and human adaptive responses to climate-driven environmental change (e.g., abandonment of now forest-covered low- and mid-altitude karst areas, concentration of settlement in alluvial plains and coastal settings) are possible explanations for this pattern.

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Accepted/In Press date: 28 February 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 16 March 2021
Published date: 15 April 2021
Keywords: Middle Palaeolithic, Neandertals, Optically stimulated luminescence dating, Palaeogeography, Pleistocene, Radiocarbon, Speleothems, U-series, Vasconian, Western Europe

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 448045
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/448045
ISSN: 0277-3791
PURE UUID: e3a9e628-cdd2-4fad-a71f-5b0ec09c8b09
ORCID for Alistair W.g. Pike: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5610-8948

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Date deposited: 01 Apr 2021 15:11
Last modified: 22 Nov 2021 03:03

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Contributors

Author: João Zilhão
Author: Diego E. Angelucci
Author: Lee J. Arnold
Author: Martina Demuro
Author: Dirk L. Hoffmann

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