Paper No. 81-15
Presentation Time: 5:15 PM-5:30 PM
ESR DATING AT PALEOLITHIC SITES IN THE NORTHERN CAUCASUS, RUSSIA
MASS, S.V.1, BLACKWELL, Bonnie A.B.2, ROSENWASSER, N.L.1, GOLOVANOVA, L.V.3, DORONICHEV, V.B.3, SKINNER, Anne R.2, and BLICKSTEIN, Joel I.B.1, (1) RFK Science Research Institute, 7540 Parsons Blvd, Flushing, NY 11366, sergeymass@hotmail.com, (2) Dept. of Chemistry, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267, (3) Lab of Prehistory, St. Petersburg, Russia

At 1510 m elevation, Treugol'naya Cave is the highest cave showing evidence for human usage in the Northern Caucasus, Russia. It also contains the oldest archaeological deposits in Eastern Europe, which include numerous tools assigned to three different Lower Paleolithic flake tool industries and a pebble tool industry. These occur with abundant faunal remains, including several extinct Middle Pleistocene species.

Electron spin resonance (ESR) can date tooth enamel from 10 ka to 5 Ma in age. Cervid teeth associated with the Lower Paleolithic archaeological layers from Treugol’naya were dated using standard, isochron ESR, and coupled ESR-230Th/-234U analyses. Teeth ranged in age from 338 ± 21 ka to 405 ± 20 ka. Isochron and ESR-230Th/-234U analyses showed that U uptake in the teeth has followed an almost linear uptake model, with no significant leaching or secondary uptake events. Isochron analyses and volumetrically averaged external dose rate measured for the sediment are statistically similar. Therefore, ESR, paleomagnetic, palynological and paleontological analyses all suggest that Layers 4 and 5 correlate best with the OIS 9-11, providing one of the longest, nearly continuous, sedimentary sequences for this time range.

Two Middle Paleolithic sites, Matuzka and Mezmaiskaya, occur in caves at lower elevations. These have yielded classic eastern European Middle Paleolithic assemblages along with numerous faunal species. At Mezmaiskaya, a Neanderthal infant was discovered in Layer 3. Matuzka contains a long stratigraphic sequence estimated to range from Oxygen Isotope Stage (OIS) 2 to 5 from palynology.

At Mezmaiskaya, teeth associated with Middle Paleolithic and late Pleistocene faunal materials contain very low U concentrations, making the ESR ages independent of the U uptake model. Sedimentary geochemistry shows low dose rates consistent with limestone-rich caves. Preliminary ESR dates for cervid and bovid teeth range from 60 ± 7 ka to 120 ± 15 ka, suggesting correlations with OIS 4 and 5.

2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)
Session No. 81
Archaeological Geology
Colorado Convention Center: A205
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Monday, October 28, 2002
 

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