Range of radiocarbon dating gets a boost
This has been an important story, and I’ve written about it several times (my “dating” category hits most of the posts).I think I once told a journalist that this was the most underreported story in paleoanthropology.The authors’ doubt in the later dates for Neandertal specimens is genuine; their experience is that the newer treatments to remove recent contaminating carbon from samples is eliminating Neandertal dates under around 40,000 years.A systematic revision of the radiocarbon chronology of late Middle and early Upper Paleolithic Europeans has been underway for several years.The authors additionally report many other date estimates for faunal materials from the site.These form a pattern in which most are consistent with a relatively narrow range of date estimates, but a few are outliers. Contrary to traditional arguments for up to 10,000 y of coexistence, these data suggest that Neanderthal extinction across Western Eurasia, including the Caucasus, was probably a rapid process, and that coexistence with AMHs, when it occurred, may have been of limited duration. No reliably dated Neandertal fossils anywhere after 40,000 years ago?Here it is tomorrow, and there’s this story about Neandertals all being dead before modern humans showed up, which for Americans is now yesterday’s news.Unless you take the paper NY Times, of course, in which case you probably haven’t read it yet.
The second child burial, Mez 2, comes from layer 2 of the site, which is also Mousterian but younger than the first burial.These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'archaic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. old, ancient, venerable, antique, antiquated, archaic, obsolete mean having come into existence or use in the more or less distant past.old may apply to either actual or merely relative length of existence.One of the important conclusions from the outliers is that contaminated carbon is hard to get out of a sample, even with the advanced ultrafiltration performed by the Oxford lab. The paper includes this passage in its discussion: The critical reanalysis of directly dated Neanderthal and AMH fossils from across Eurasia, taking into consideration pretreatment histories and redating results (5), supports our findings in the Caucasus and highlights the lack of reliably dated Neanderthal fossils younger than ? I thought that was so surprising that I corresponded with the study authors today.The conclusion is narrowly interesting and solid, and it’s very important to iron out such inconsistencies – compare, for example, my 2008 post on the Gorham’s Cave chronology. One distinct advantage of being in Rome is that I’m synchronized with Europeans, so Tom Higham was able to write back with some of his thoughts.