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Investigating palaeoclimate variability in the Iberian peninsula during the last glacial period and implications for Neanderthals

The Iberian Peninsula has been central to the discussion as it was considered to be a 'last refuge' for the species at a time when H. sapiens occupation spread throughout Europe. Much speculation has centred around the idea that extreme climate fluctuations during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3 like Heinrich Stadial 4 (HS-4) were possible drivers for their disappearance.

A.K. Benson
07 April 2022
The publication in Open Access

These arguments were originally based on marine and ice core records of far-reaching origin that could provide little information at the local level. At the time this evidence was sufficient, as no other records were available. In recent years, studies have presented terrestrial palaeoclimate records from Iberia during the last glacial, but more are required to adequately understand the local response to Atlantic marine influences. Moreover, few terrestrial records are connected to known archaeological sites. The research presented in this thesis provides a more comprehensive understanding of palaeoclimate change during the Last Glacial Period and the potential implications for Neanderthal / H. sapiens movements in Iberian Peninsula. To achieve this, we examine the importance of a robust and direct U-Th chronology in conjunction with establishing local, terrestrial palaeoclimate records for the coastal Iberian Peninsula during the Holocene and Last Glacial Period.

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