Pleistocene geochronologies for fluvial sedimentary sequences: an archaeologist's perspective
Hosfield, R. T. and Chambers, J. C. (2005) Pleistocene geochronologies for fluvial sedimentary sequences: an archaeologist's perspective. Journal of Quaternary Science, 20 (3). pp. 285-296. ISSN 0267-8179
To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/jqs.909
Current models of Pleistocene fluvial system development and dynamics are assessed from the perspective of European Lower and Middle Palaeolithic stone tool assemblages recovered from fluvial secondary contexts. Fluvial activity is reviewed both in terms of Milankovitch-scale processes across the glacial/interglacial cycles of the Middle and Late Pleistocene, and in response to sub-Milankovitch scale, high-frequency, low-magnitude climatic oscillations. The chronological magnitude of individual phases of fluvial activity is explored in terms of radiocarbon-dated sequences from the Late Glacial and early Holocene periods. It is apparent that fluvial activity is associated with periods of climatic transition, both high and low magnitude, although system response is far more universal in the case of the high magnitude glacial/ interglacial transitions. Current geochronological tools do not permit the development of high-resolution sequences for Middle Pleistocene sediments, while localised erosion and variable system responses do not facilitate direct comparison with the ice core records. However, Late Glacial and early Holocene sequences indicate that individual fluvial activity phases are relatively brief in duration (e.g. 10(2) and 10(3) yr). From an archaeological perspective, secondary context assemblages can only be interpreted in terms of a floating geochronology, although the data also permit a reinvestigation of the problems of artefact reworking. Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley I Sons, Ltd.