GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 275-3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


BLACKWELL, Bonnie A.B.1, HUANG, Clara L.C.2, MIHAILOVIĆ, Dusan3, ROKSANDIC, Mirjana4, SINGH, Impreet5, DIMITRIJEVIĆ, Vesna6, BLICKSTEIN, Joel I.B.5 and SKINNER, Anne R.7, (1)Department of Chemistry, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267, (2)RFK Science Research Institute, Glenwood Landing, NY 11547-0866, (3)Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade University, Cika Ljubina 18-20, Belgrade, 11000, Serbia, (4)Department of Anthropology, University of Winnipeg, Winnepeg, MB R3B 2E9, Canada, (5)RFK Science Research Institute, Box 866, Glenwood Landing, NY 11547-0866, (6)Department of Archaeology, Belgrade University, Cika Ljubina 18-20, Belgrade, NY 11000, (7)Department of Chemistry, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267-2692; RFK Science Research Institute, Box 866, Glenwood Landing, NY 11547-0866

The Mousterian site at Pešturina overlooks a tributary to the Nišava River southeast of Niš, in southeastern Serbia near the Sićevo Gorge. A series of matrix-supported conglomerates have yielded a Charentian Mousterian, a Denticulate Mousterian, and a blade-rich Gravettian industry in Layers 4, 3, and 2 respectively. In all three sedimentological layers, the large mammalian faunae suggest a mixed environment with temperate forest, rocky cliffs, and steppe within walking distance from the cave. Although hyenas likely contributed some bone, the fragmentation patterns and butchering marks plus the many lithic tools demonstrate that many faunal remains in the cave were human kills. From 16 ungulate teeth, 74 enamel subsamples have been independently dated from the Mousterian layers with standard ESR. With low U concentrations in both the enamel and dentine, the ages do not depend on the U uptake model assumed for the age calculation. To find the volumetrically averaged sedimentary dose rates, 96 bulk sediment samples and individual mineralogically distinct components were analyzed by NAA, then volumetrically averaged using a four-component dose averaging model. To find time-averaged cosmic dose rates, ramped box models were used. Four teeth had been reworked, likely associated with the erosion event that removed part of Layer 4 before the deposition of Layer 3 that postdated early MIS 4. The Layer 4c/4d boundary correlated to Marine (Oxygen) Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e, while Layer 4b correlated to MIS 5c, Layer 4a to MIS 5b. Correlating best with Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) Event 8, Les Cottés Interstadial, tooth from Layer 3, the youngest Mousterian deposits, represents one of the latest Middle Paleolithic dates in the central Balkans, while the Gravettian tools in Layer 2 dated to late MIS 3, probably during DO Event 6 in the Denekamp Interstadial. This quasi-continuous occupation from 117 ka to 33 ka, among the longest in the central Balkans, and one of the few with deposits dating to MIS 5.