MASS-SPECTROMETRIC U-SERIES DATES FOR ISRAELI NEANDERTHAL EARLY-MODERN HOMINID SITES

F MCDERMOTT, R GRUN, C B STRINGER, Chris Hawkesworth

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    128 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    THE nature of the relationship between Neanderthals and early modern Homo sapiens is controversial, yet it is fundamental to our understanding of early human evolution1,2. The Middle Palaeolithic sites of Israel are critical to this debate, because unlike those of western Europe and Africa they contain both Neanderthal (at Tabun3 and Kebara4 for example) and anatomically modern hominids (as at Skhul5 and Qafzeh6). Here we present new mass spectrometric Th-230/U-234 dates for dental fragments from the Middle Palaeolithic burial sites of Tabun, Qafzeh and Skhul. These data, combined with published ages from electron spin resonance (ESR), provide compelling evidence that the Tabun Neanderthals and Qafzeh early modern Homo sapiens were approximately coeval in the southern Levant some 100 +/- 5 kyr ago, but indicate that some of the Skhul material is younger. The study also shows that combined mass-spectrometric Th-230/U-234 and ESR dating is an invaluable technique for dating archaeological sites beyond the range of radiocarbon dating.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)252-255
    Number of pages4
    JournalNature
    Volume363
    Issue number6426
    Publication statusPublished - 20 May 1993

    Keywords

    • BURIAL SITE
    • TABUN CAVE
    • ESR DATES
    • KEBARA
    • QAFZEH
    • TIME

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