Bohunician technology and thermoluminescence dating of the type locality of Brno-Bohunice (Czech Republic)

D. Richter, G. Tostevin, P. Škrdla

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46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Results of thermoluminescence (TL) dating of 11 heated flint artifacts from the 2002 excavation at Brno-Bohunice, Czech Republic, are presented. The samples are from the eponym locality for the Bohunician, an industrial type considered technologically transitional between Middle and Upper Paleolithic core reduction strategies. The Bohunician is the first early Upper Paleolithic technocomplex in the Middle Danube of Central Europe and, therefore, is implicated in several issues related to the origins of modern humans in Europe. The Bohunician provides an example of how one technological strategy combines crested blade initiation of a core with the surficial (almost Levalloisian) reduction of blanks as blades and points. As the Middle Danube lacks antecedents of the behavioral steps within this technology, several hypotheses of inter-regional cultural transmission, with and without hominin gene flow, could explain the appearance of the Bohunician. The elucidation of the temporal context of Bohunician assemblages is, therefore, a critical step in understanding the behavioral, and potentially biological, succession in this region. Radiocarbon age estimates from charcoal associated with Bohunician sites suggest a wide age range between 33 and 41 ka 14C BP, which is also observed for individual sites. TL dating of heated flint artifacts provides ages on the calendric time scale of an archeological event, the firing. The weighted mean of 48.2 ± 1.9 ka BPTL for 11 heated flint samples from Brno-Bohunice provides the first non-radiocarbon data on archeological material from the Bohunician. The TL dating, in conjunction with the archeological and sedimentological analysis, allows the evaluation of the integrity of this new type-collection. The hypothetical possibility of the incorporation of Szeletian artifacts (i.e., leaf points) into the site formation processes can therefore be refuted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-885
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume55
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The thermoluminescence dating of the 2002 excavations at Brno-Bohunice were funded by a research grant from the Leakey Foundation (USA) as well as travel support from the American School of Prehistoric Research, Harvard University (USA). We would like to thank Adriana Schatton and Steffi Albert (MPI-EVA; Germany) for preparing and measuring the TL samples, and Lad Nejman for permission to use unpublished 14 C data. The excavations themselves were funded by the Grant-in-Aid Program of the University of Minnesota (USA) and the Institute of Archaeology, Brno (Czech Republic). The authors would also like to thank Ofer Bar-Yosef (Harvard University), Jiří Svoboda (Institute of Archaeology, Brno), and Karl Valoch (Moravian Museum, Brno) for their help and fruitful discussions concerning the project. We also appreciate the suggestions and corrections of unknown referees and the editors which helped to improve the paper.

Keywords

  • Central Europe
  • Early Upper Paleolithic
  • Leaf points
  • Middle Danube

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