Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




ABOUT US
Archaeologists rediscover the lost home of the last Neanderthals
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Oct 22, 2013


File image: La Cotte de St Brelade cave.

A record of Neanderthal archaeology, thought to be long lost, has been re-discovered by NERC-funded scientists working in the Channel island of Jersey.

The study, published in the Journal of Quaternary Science, reveals that a key archaeological site has preserved geological deposits which were thought to have been lost through excavation 100 years ago.

The discovery was made when the team undertook fieldwork to stabilise and investigate a portion of the La Cotte de St Brelade cave, on Jersey's south eastern coastline.

A large portion of the site contains sediments dating to the last Ice Age, preserving 250,000 years of climate change and archaeological evidence.

The site, which has produced more Neanderthal stone tools than the rest of the British Isles put together, contains the only known late Neanderthal remains from North West Europe. These offer archaeologists one of the most important records of Neanderthal behaviour available.

"In terms of the volume of sediment, archaeological richness and depth of time, there is nothing else like it known in the British Isles. Given that we thought these deposits had been removed entirely by previous researchers, finding that so much still remains is as exciting as discovering a new site," says Dr Matt Pope of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London, who helped lead the research.

The team dated sediments at the site using a technique called Optically Stimulated Luminesce, which measures the last time sand grains were exposed to sunlight. This was carried out at the Luminescence Dating Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art at Oxford University.

The results showed that part of the sequence of sediments dates between 100,000 and 47,000 years old, indicating that Neanderthal teeth which were discovered at the site in 1910 were younger than previously thought, and probably belonged to one of the last Neanderthals to live in the region.

"The discovery that these deposits still exist and can be related to previously excavated deposits opens up a range of exciting possibilities," says Dr Martin Bates, University of Trinity St Davids, who is leading current fieldwork at the site.

The findings bring the large collections of stone tools, animal bone and the Neanderthal remains from the area under renewed study.

"Excavation in the future will provide us with the opportunity to subject the site to the wide range of approaches we use today in Palaeolithic archaeology and Quaternary science. For example we are hoping to be able to link our site with the broader Neanderthal landscapes through study of similarly aged deposits around the island and, through bathymetric survey, on the seabed," says Bates.

"We were sure from the outset that the deposits held some archaeological potential, but these dates indicate we have uncovered something exceptional," explains Pope. "We have a sequence of deposits which span the last 120,000 years still preserved at the site. Crucially, this covers the period in which Neanderthal populations apparently went 'extinct'."

It was during this period that Neanderthals appear to have been replaced by our own species - Homo sapiens.

The NERC-funded work represented the first formal programme of scientific research to be focused on the site since the early 1980s. The site has since then been managed and preserved by the Societe Jerisaise, the Jersey-based academic society involved in early investigation of the site and which continues to manage and protect the site through to the present day.

"For over a hundred years the Societe has tried to maintain the interest of the wider academic world in La Cotte, having realised its international importance from the beginning. We are delighted, therefore, that such a prestigious team is now studying the site, and, in addition, the wider Palaeolithic landscape of Jersey," says Neil Molyneux, president of the Societe Jersiaise

The wider project, supported also by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Jersey Government will now continue to investigate the site and material excavated from it over the past 110 years.

"Working with our partners to bring these rediscovered sediments under new analysis will allow us to bring the lives of the last Neanderthal groups to live in North West Europe into clearer focus," says Pope.

"We may be able to use this evidence to better understand when Neanderthal populations disappeared form the region and whether they ever shared the landscape with the species which ultimately replaced them, us," he concludes.

.


Related Links
Natural Environment Research Councilw
Jersey Heritage Ice Age Island
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ABOUT US
Sinking teeth into the evolutionary origin of our skeleton
Bristol, UK (SPX) Oct 22, 2013
For decades, it was thought that our skeleton and all its characteristic bony tissues originated in the predators, known as 'conodonts'. However new research, led by the University of Bristol and published in Nature, shows that they were evolutionary copy-cats who evolved tooth-like structures and tissues independently of other vertebrates. The origin of our skeleton is to be found in the ... read more


ABOUT US
Radioactive leaks top priority at Fukushima: nuclear watchdog

Storm caused radioactive leaks at Fukushima: operator

Australia's political parties claim asylum seeker success

Groundwater radiation spikes at crippled Fukushima

ABOUT US
NSF Awards $12 Million to SDSC to Deploy "Comet" Supercomputer

Rice scientists create a super antioxidant

Cracked metal, heal thyself

'Walking droplets'

ABOUT US
A bad break for fake pearls

Tiny sea creatures are heading for extinction, and could take local fisheries with them

13 Vietnamese arrested in Philippines over sea turtles

Jellyfish energy consumption inspires robotic designs for Navy

ABOUT US
Antarctic nations face off again over sanctuary plans

Dutch take Russia to maritime court over Greenpeace ship

Glacial history affects shape and growth habit of alpine plants

Nobel laureates call on Putin to drop piracy charges against Greenpeace

ABOUT US
Technology Developed for Use in Space, Now Applied to Agriculture Here on Earth

Maths study of photosynthesis clears the path to developing new super-crops

Nitrate from fertilizer lingers in soil for decades: study

Urban soil quality and compost

ABOUT US
Tropical storm Raymond heads toward Mexico's west coast

Death toll in Philippine quake nearing 200

Hundreds flee homes in typhoon-hit Japan island

Hurricane Raymond threatens Mexico coast

ABOUT US
UN urges DR Congo to prosecute soldiers for rape in east

Angola frees 55 Congolese troops captured during incursion

Zimbabwe man jailed for 15 years for poisoning elephants

France to keep 2,000 troops in Mali until end of year

ABOUT US
Marmoset monkeys know polite conversation

Unique skull find rebuts theories on species diversity in early humans

Archaeologists rediscover the lost home of the last Neanderthals

Complete skull from early Homo evokes a single, evolving lineage




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement