The Rhafas Cave (Morocco): Chronology of the mousterian and aterian archaeological occupations and their implications for Quaternary geochronology based on luminescence (TL/OSL) age determinations


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Publication Date

January 2007


The Middle Palaeolithic chronology of the Maghreb region of North Africa is poorly known because of the paucity of sites with a long stratigraphy and the limited number of available radiometric dates. In this paper, we report the age-estimates obtained by the TL and OSL methods on sediments and burnt lithic samples from the Rhafas Cave in Eastern Morocco. Our results indicate that the Mousterian is largely earlier than 100 ka, that the latest Mousterian dates to OIS 5 between 90–80 ka and the Mousterian to Aterian transition occurred about 70–80 ka, at the end of OIS 5 or during OIS 4. These dates will be most useful in the construction of a chronological framework of this unique sequence and for the interpretation of paleoenvironmental information.


Rhafas Cave, Mousterian, Aterian, Luminescence

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Quaternary Geochronology, Vol. 2, no. 43834 (2007).