Middle Paleolithic variability in Central Asia: Lithic assemblage of Sel'Ungur cave

Andrey Krivoshapkin , Bence Viola , Temirlan Chargynov , Maciej T. Krajcarz , Magdalena Krajcarz , Stanisław Fedorowicz , Svetlana Shnaider , Kseniya Kolobova


Since the beginning of 21st century, a new stage began in investigations of the Central Asian Palaeolithic. The main concern is to re-study the key regional sites, applying modern excavation techniques and up-to-date laboratory methods (including chronometric dating) in order to clarify the rationale and chronology of the local cultural sequences. This research allowed some crucial corrections about the chronological and cultural interpretations of the lithic industries in western Central Asia. This paper presents the first results obtained during our reexcavation of Sel’Ungur cave – usually assumed to be one of the earliest Paleolithic sites in Central Asia, described in the late 1980s as belonging to the early Acheulian technocomplex. Sel’Ungur cave is among the most important pre-Upper Palaeolithic site for our understanding of the Pleistocene inhabitants of Central Asia, as did not only yield rich lithic collections found stratified context but also numerous fossil faunal and even some hominin remains. Re-started at 2014, the new excavations at the site have provided enough evidence to refuse an Acheulian interpretation of site's assemblages. Based on detailed technological and typological analyses of the new lithic collection we argue that Sel’Ungurian complex fits better into the early stage of the regional Middle Paleolithic cultural variability. The previously available U-series date of around 126 ka (albeit without a reliable stratigraphic and spatial context), the new TL date 112 ± 19 ka establishing the lower limit, paleontological analyses of newly obtained material as well as the re-examination of the available information on macro- and microfaunal remains excavated in the earlier excavations, as well as the re-study of the anthropological finds support this assessment.
Publication typeIn press (online first, early view)
Author Andrey Krivoshapkin
Andrey Krivoshapkin,,
, Bence Viola
Bence Viola,,
, Temirlan Chargynov
Temirlan Chargynov,,
, Maciej T. Krajcarz
Maciej T. Krajcarz,,
, Magdalena Krajcarz
Magdalena Krajcarz,,
, Stanisław Fedorowicz (FOG / IG / DGQG)
Stanisław Fedorowicz,,
- Department of Geomorphology and Quarternary Geology
, Svetlana Shnaider
Svetlana Shnaider,,
, Kseniya Kolobova
Kseniya Kolobova,,
Journal seriesQuaternary International: The Journal of the International Union for Quaternary Research, ISSN 1040-6182, (A 30 pkt)
Issue year2018
Noonline first
Publication size in sheets0.75
Keywords in EnglishSel'Ungur cave, Archaeology, Lower paleolithic, Middle paleolithic, Variability, Reassessment, Lithic assemblage, Techno-typological analysis
ASJC Classification1904 Earth-Surface Processes
URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2018.09.051
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)30
ScoreMinisterial score = 30.0, 24-07-2019, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2017 = 0.964; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 2.163 (2) - 2017=2.488 (5)
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