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2019-12-05 15:13:25   •   ID: 2137

The many Questions about the Aurignacian of the East European Plain

Figure 1
The artifacts shown in Figure 1-4 consist of a carinated burin (core), an end scraper, both with lateral retouches, suggestive for hafting, and a biconvex Leafpoint from the Early Upper Paleolithic of the Western Ukraine, found during Soviet times.

The surface ensemble is comparable to other Aurignacian assemblages in the the East-Carpathian area (Western Ukraine, North-East Romania and Moldova), allthough leaf-points are very rare in these ensembles. Anyhow the Burin-Core and the thick, lateraly retouched, scraper are most probably diagnostic tools for an evolved Aurignacian.

Please compare the endscraper of this post with a delicate thin "Pavlov-Point" from the same area-see here: 2131 . This artifact shows a completely different design.

The East European Plain is a vast interior plain extending east of the North/Central European Plain, and comprising several plateaus stretching roughly from 25 degrees longitude eastward.

During an earlier post I have already described an Early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) with characteristic triangular bifacial elements from this area (Streletskian, “Eastern Szeletian”)- see 2053 .

Figure 2
In contrast to the upper Paleolithic bifacial tradition, and the EUP in the Carpathian Basin- see here: 1703 , the Aurignacian of the East European plain is rather rare and patchy. While the Kostenki group of sites provides evidence both for the northeast and most ancient manifestation of the Aurignacian, the Aurignacian ensembles in the East-Carpathian area are reliable dated 10 k.a. later.

Excavations of the last decade of the lowermost cultural layer (IVb) at Kostenki 14, under the CI tephra (~39.6 k.a. cal BP), provided evidence for an assemblage without typical "Aurignacian ancien" and "Streletskian" elements.

Renewed Archeological work and C-14 / geochronological dating programs in the Kostenki-Borshchevo region indeed confirmed the appearance of an Industry, resembling the Proto-Aurignacian of the western Mediterranean, the Fumanian of North Italy, and the Middle East early Ahmarian.

Such ensembles, present at ca 41 k.a. cal BP at Kostënki 17, Kostënki 14 and Kostënki 1, may represent a “pioneering” Upper Paleolithic wave, realized both as migrations and/or as cultural transmission.

Figure 3
It has to be mentioned, that a classic Aurignacian is is also present at Kostenki- locus 1/Stratum III at ca 30 k.a.

Compared with the Proto-Aurignacian at Kostënki, the eastern Carpartian Aurignacian is dated late (30-27 k.a. cal BP) and may even overlap with the earliest Gavettian in the Region, a hypothesis that is also of importance for the Aurignacian / Gravettian succession in Middle Europe.

It is characterized by "Classic" Aurignacian“ ensembles, not very different from the evolved Aurignacian in the West.

A Multidisciplinary team from Belgium is currently reevaluating the techno-typological characteristics of this complex at several sites including Molodova V and Korman IV in the Ukraine, in Romania (including Mitoc-Malu Galben) and Moldova.

Up to now, Siuren 1 is the only known Aurignacian site in Crimea.

Figure 4
It has nine different Aurignacian occupational layers in primary positions, which are attributed to the early/Protoaurignacian (units H and G; Dufour bladelets subtype Dufour; Krems-Points, St. Yves Points) and the late Aurignacian (unit F; Bladelets of subtype Roc-de-Combe ) due to techno-typological reasons.

Within all Aurignacian horizons, the assemblages are characterized mainly by bladelets.

In general Siuren 1 looks like a replication of the West and Middle European evolution: a „Protoaurignacian“ is followed by an evolved Aurignacian, but according to the C-14 data the site is only 30 k.a. old.

Because it is highly impossible that the Krimean Upper Paleolithic lagged behind the general lithic trend for ten thousand years after the (Proto)-Aurignacian started in West and Middle Europe, it is consequent to reject all C-14 data from this site. this great Site needs rigorous chronological reevaluation.,

Suggested Reading:

Hahn J: Aurignacien. Das ältere Jungpaläolithikum in Mittel- und Osteuropa. Böhlau, Köln u. a. 1977 (Fundamenta. Reihe A, Bd. 9).

Noiret P: Le Paléolithique supérieur de Moldavie - Eraul n° 121; 2009.