Universiteit Leiden

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Dissertation

Optically stimulated luminescence dating of Palaeolithic cave sites and their environmental context in the western Mediterranean

The Western Mediterranean is a key region to understand human dispersal events within and out of the African continent as well as for the eventual replacement of Neanderthals by anatomically modern humans during the Pleistocene. Central to any conclusive interpretation of archaeological and palaeoclimatic datasets that can be found in Palaeolithc caves is the establishment of a reliable chronostratigraphic framework for the investigated site.

Author
Nina Dörschner
Date
03 May 2018
Links
Publication in Open Access

In this thesis, Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating was applied to determine the burial age of sedimentary deposits at three Palaeolithic cave sites in the Western Mediterranean - the Thomas Quarries and Rhafas, both Morocco, and Vanguard Cave, Gibraltar. Dating results were coupled with archaeological, sedimentological and geological proxy data to allow conclusive statements regarding the timing of human occupation phases and the appearance of technological innovations at the sites, local site formation processes and palaeoenvironmental conditions in the region in the past. Reliable OSL chronologies were developed for stratigraphical sequences at Rhafas and Vanguard Cave, while the applied standard single-grain dating turned out to be an inadequate technique for age determination of the Thomas Quarries sediments.

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