Natural Environment Research Council

Environmental Factors in the Chronology of Human Evolution and Dispersal

Neanderthal climate preferences and tolerances: the need for a better chronology

NERC funded EFCHED project aims to investigate whether the present chronological data for the late Mousterian in Europe is biasing our perception of Neanderthal populations by making them appear more cold adapted than the incoming anatomically modern humans. We therefore aim to focus on the part of the Neanderthal world that experienced the most continental climatic environments namely, European Russia and the Ukraine north and east of the Black Sea for we surmise that it is in such a region that the environmental preferences will be most discernible. By applying a range of cross-validated non-14C chronological methodologies (OSL, TL, magnetic palaeointensity, and argon-argon) to horizons with late Middle Palaeolithic assemblages we aim to identify spatial and temporal patterning which, when correlated with local environmental proxies and wider climate data, should permit a better understanding of Neanderthal climatic tolerances.

Weasel Cave from  a distances

Myshtulagty Lagat (Weasel Cave), North Ossetia

Archaeologist taking a sample 
		  from section

Sampling section at Kabazi II (Crimea) for OSL