ESR dating at Mezmaiskaya Cave, Russia
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Mezmaiskaya Cave has yielded more than 10,000 artifacts, thousands of very well preserved faunal remains, and hominin remains, found in seven Middle Paleolithic (Mousterian) and three Upper Paleolithic levels. A complete Neanderthal infant skeleton was preserved in anatomical juxtaposition lying on a large limestone block, overlain by the earliest Mousterian layer, Layer 3. Twenty-four skull fragments from a 1–2 year-old Neanderthal infant, showing post-mortem deformation, occurred in a pit originating in the Mousterian Layer 2 and penetrating into underlying layers 2A and 2B(1). Bone from Layer 2A was dated by AMS 14C at 35.8–36.3±0.5 kyr BP. Direct dating of Neanderthal bone from Layer 3 gave an age of 29 kyr, but that is now considered to be due to contamination by modern carbon. Fourteen large mammal teeth from Layers 2 through 3 have been dated by standard electron spin resonance (ESR). Low U concentrations in both the enamel and dentine ensure that ESR ages do not depend significantly on the U uptake model, but do depend strongly on the sedimentary dose rates. Assuming a sedimentary water concentration equal to 20 wt%, ESR ages for the Mousterian layers range from 36.2 to 73.0±5.0 ka.
ESR Dating, Mezmaiskaya, Mousterian, Neanderthal
Applied Radiation and Isotopes, Vol. 62, no. 2 (2005-02-01).
Skinnera, A.R.; Blackwella, B.A.B.; Martina, Sara; Ortega, A.; Blickstein, J.I.B; Golovanova, L.V.; and Doronichevc, V.B., "ESR dating at Mezmaiskaya Cave, Russia" (2005). KIP Articles. 1884.