Les débuts du Paléolithique supérieur dans l'Est des Balkans. Réflexion à partir de l'étude taphonomique et techno-économique des ensembles lithiques des sites de Bacho Kiro (couche 11), Temnata (couches VI et 4) et Kozarnika (niveau VII)


Tsenka Tsnova


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January 2006


The subject of this work, “The debut of the Upper Paleolithic in the East Balkans: A taphonomic and techoeconomic analysis of Bacho Kiro (level 11), Temnata (levels VI and 4) and Kozarnika (layer VII)”, presents a thorough documentation and critical analysis of these three important sites located in northern Bulgaria. The archaeological assemblages studied, dated by 14C to between 45 and 32 kyr, have been at the core of discussions concerning the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition which witnessed the disappearance of the Neanderthals and the dispersal of the first anatomically modern humans into Europe. Situated between the Near East and Europe, these Balkan sites would have played a crucial role in the passage of these early anatomically modern human groups into western Europe. Furthermore, these sites are often interpreted as representing the oldest manifestations of the Aurignacian (Bacho-Kirian), a techno-complex traditionally associated with the arrival of early modern humans and considered as the first Upper Paleolithic techno-complex whose distinct character would have been established ‘on route' towards the west. The aim of this study is to test this model, accepted by many researchers for over 20 years, based on a consideration of new evidence and a thorough re-analysis of relevant older material. An integration of the lithic assemblages from Bacho Kiro and Temnata as part of the technological innovations and marked variability of the end of the Central European and Near Eastern Middle Paleolithic is favored over their traditional association or attribution with or to the ‘Aurignacian'. The third site considered within the framework of this study, and still in the course of excavation, has produced a novel bladelet industry previously unknown in the Balkan region. This industry, known as the Kozarnikian ancien and up until recently consider more readily comparable with the Gravettian, strongly differs from Bacho Kiro and Temnata, most notably in the production of bladelets intended to be employed in


Ahmarian, Aurignacian, Bacho-Kirian, Baradostian, Later Stone Age, Cultural Modernity, Middle Stone Age, Prehistory, Lithic Taphonomie, Lithic Technology, Middle/Upper Transition

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