“Complexity in the Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition in Peninsular Southern Europe and application of refugium concepts”

New article published by Milena Carvalho and Nuno Bicho in Journal of Quaternary Science.

During the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in the Balkan, Italian and Iberian peninsulas of southern Europe, late Neanderthal and early Anatomically Modern Human (AMH) populations may have overlapped in some capacity. Many of the hypotheses and models for the transition interval suggest that Neanderthal populations remained in, or migrated to, refugial zones while AMHs colonized areas not suitable for, or abandoned by, Neanderthals. However, many hypotheses and models have not been conclusively tested due to general issues impeding a clear understanding of the relevant archeological record and because of a lack of specificity in defining and applying the term ‘refugium’. This paper briefly summarizes what is known about the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in southern European Peninsulas and discusses some new directions in the use of refugium concepts in the study of Neanderthal extinction and AMH dispersal. We highlight the complexity of the archeological record in each region and in the studies of refugia more generally. Finally, we make an appeal for generating local, multi-proxy paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic records to address these complexities so that hypotheses and models integrating refugial concepts in explanations of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition can be properly formulated and tested.

More info: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jqs.3350

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