Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Archaeologists Find Earliest Evidence of Modern Humans in Eastern Europe

12.01.2007
A University of Arizona archaeologist is a member of a team of scientists that has uncovered new evidence that modern humans moved out of Africa and occupied parts of eastern Europe as early as 45,000 years ago.

The Russian Academy of Sciences and the University of Colorado at Boulder, and including Vance T. Holliday, a UA professor of anthropology and geosciences, excavated three and worked on six of the more than two dozen ancient sites along the Don River, about 240 miles south of Moscow, Russia. Their discovery is published in the current (Jan. 12) issue of the journal Science ("Early Upper Paleolithic in Eastern Europe and Implications for the Dispersal of Modern Humans").

The excavations are located in the villages of Kostenki and Borshchevo, on the low terraces just above the Don River, overlooking a broad valley. Holliday says the uplands at Kostenki closely resemble rural Iowa. The area also has a number of natural springs and seeps that would have been an important source of fresh water for both the humans and the animals they hunted.

While there is little human skeletal evidence except for a few teeth, other artifacts found at Kostenki - including stone tools and elegant beadwork and figurines made from shells and ivory - are consistent with Upper Paleolithic humans. Stone used for tools were imported from quarries at least 60 miles away. The animal remains on site indicate that these people were technologically adept at hunting a variety of small and large game - hares, foxes, birds, fish and a number of very large animals, including mammoth.

The notion that modern people lived that long ago in what was then a sub-Arctic region intrigued Holliday, who analyzed the stratigraphy of the sites. Some of the digs are several meters deep in places, covered by silt from centuries of repeated flooding. Bones and artifacts have been exposed there for centuries, and scientific archaeology missions have dug there since 1879.

Getting a precise fix on the age of the sites is a bit complicated. Radiocarbon dating and a technique called OSL, or optically stimulated luminescence - measuring the time an artifact was last exposed to sunlight - offer varying levels of certainty.

But Holliday says the key is a thin layer of volcanic ash overlaying the oldest modern sites. The ash deposit is evidence of a very large volcanic eruption known to have occurred in Italy about 40,000 years ago, guaranteeing that anything underneath is older.

"OSL goes back much farther than C14, but it isn't as reliable as C14, so the ash provide a nice check on the OSL dates from levels beyond the reliability of C14 as well as being a superb marker bed and dating tool in its own right," Holliday says.

There are older deposits of artifacts below the settlements created by humans, likely belonging to Neanderthals, although no skeletal evidence of them remains either. Neanderthals roamed across Ice Age Europe for 200,000 years and largely vanished as modern humans advanced out of Africa through the Middle East and into central Asia and Europe.

Vance T. Holliday can be reached at 520-621-4734 or by e-mail at vthollid@email.arizona.edu.

John F. Hoffecker, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder who led the American team, is at john.hoffecker@colorado.edu.

Jeff Harrison | University of Arizona
Further information:
http://www.arizona.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA eyes Pineapple Express soaking California
24.02.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht 'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field
23.02.2017 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>