The initial radiocarbon results were 29,080 ± 400 B. In addition to the Neanderthal remains, level G has yielded a small archaeological assemblage that contains techno-typologically Middle and Upper Paleolithic lithic artifacts plus several distinctively early Upper Paleolithic osseous points (12).
It has been argued that the mix of Neanderthals, Middle Paleolithic tools, and Upper Paleolithic technology was the result of cryoturbation and lithic assemblage has parallels with the Szeletian technocomplex, and further, that there is a mixture of elements of Szeletian and Aurignacian I and II within the level [see also Svoboda (18)].
Vi-207 is a right posterior mandible and Vi-208 is a parietal fragment, both showing Neanderthal-specific morphology (11, 12). This would imply a more extensive temporal overlap between Neanderthals and early modern humans in central Europe than has recently been documented (4).
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The latest data, both radiometric and genetic, suggest Neanderthals and modern humans coexisted or overlapped for up to several thousand years in Europe until Neanderthal disappearance at around 40,000 cal B. Our understanding of the biocultural processes involved in the transition have been greatly influenced by improved accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating methods and their application to directly dating the remains of late Neanderthals and early modern humans, as well as artifacts recovered from the sites they occupied. (10) showed that, when redated using ultrafiltration methods, the bones that produced ages of ∼33,000 B. were in fact beyond the radiocarbon limit, suggesting the Neanderthal remains were unlikely to be as young as previously thought. For sample Vi-208, after ultrafiltration, the C/N atomic ratio was 3.4, which indicates collagen of acceptable quality.
It has become clear that there have been major problems with dating reliability and accuracy across the Paleolithic in general, with studies highlighting issues with underestimation of the ages of different dated samples from previously analyzed sites (6). At Mezmaiskaya, the AMS dates obtained for the Neanderthal excavated above the previously dated individual were substantially older (9). In both cases, revised radiocarbon dates produced with more robust chemical pretreatment methods have illustrated significant underestimates in the previous dates that cannot be reconciled with a hypothesis of late-surviving refugial Neanderthals. However, for Vi-207, the 30-k Da fraction obtained produced a C/N ratio of 4.3, which indicates the presence of a high molecular weight contaminant.