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Stratum Plus. 2000. № 1

V. P. Chabai (Simferopol, Ukraine)

On the specific features of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in Crimea

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Pages: 54-83

During the time from about 38 to about 27/28 ka, two Middle Paleolithic industries, Western Crimean Mousterian (WCM) and Crimean Micoquian, coexisted with two Early Upper Paleolithic industries, Aurignacian of Krems-Dufour type and Eastern Szeletian. This coexistence is demonstrated by the AMS chronology of Kabazi II, Buran-Kaya-III, and Siuren I and by the stratigraphy of Buran-Kaya-III. In addition, the presence of Middle Paleolithic tool types in the Aurignacian of Siuren-I Units G and H indicates, at least, the coexistence of Aurignacian and Micoquian industries in Crimea. Thus, the shift from Middle Paleolithic to Upper Paleolithic in Crimea covered a relatively long period of time: from about 38 to about 27/28 ka. BP in radiocarbon terms. At the same time, there is no reliable evidence of any kind of interactions between all of the mentioned assemblages. Nor are there any reliable data to suggest genetic links between the Crimean Middle and Early Upper Paleolithic. During the Pleniglacial, Crimea was a part of an open zone of dry lands in the East European Plain (that is, it was not a peninsula, as at present time), stretching from the Eastern Balkans to the Northern Caucasus. This fact caused the unique (for East Europe) mosaic of industrial variability seen among the late Middle Paleolithic and early Upper Paleolithic assemblages. Both west and east/north-east connections might be proposed for WCM, Crimean Micoquian, Eastern Szeletian, and Aurignacian industries in Crimea. In any case, the Pleniglacial Crimea cannot be viewed as a Neanderthal cul-de-sac on the territory of East Europe. It was rather a contact zone, «a yard with a through-passage,» for possible movements of Paleolithic populations.

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