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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Research Postgraduates

Publication details for Professor Mark White

Bridgland, D.R., Antoine, P., Limondin-Lozouet, N., Santisteban, J.I., Westaway, R. & White, M.J. (2006). The Palaeolithic occupation of Europe as revealed by evidence from the rivers: data from IGCP 449. Journal of Quaternary Science 21(5): 437-455.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

IGCP 449 (2000-2004), seeking to correlate fluvial records globally, has compiled a dataset of archaeological records from Pleistocene fluvial sequences. Many terrace sequences can now be reliably dated and correlated with marine oxygen isotope stages (MIS), allowing potentially useful patterns in artefact distribution to be recognised. This review, based on evidence from northwest European and German sequences (Thames, Somme, Ilm, Neckar and Wipper), makes wider comparisons with rivers further east, particularly the Vltava, and with southern Europe, especially Iberia. The northwest and southern areas have early assemblages dominated by handaxes, in contrast with flake-core industries in Germany and further east. Fluvial sequences can provide frameworks for correlation, based on markers within the Palaeolithic record. In northwest Europe the first appearance of artefacts in terrace staircases, the earliest such marker, dates from the mid-late Cromerian Complex. Flake-core industries may have significantly preceded handaxe industries in southern Europe. An important technological innovation - Levallois technique - occurs at the Lower-Middle Palaeolithic boundary, correlated with MIS 9-8. Humans deserted northern Europe during MIS 6, apparently returning to central Germany and northern France (Somme valley) by MIS 5e but not reaching southern England until the appearance of Mousterian culture during MIS 4-3.

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