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Early hominins in north-west Europe: a punctuated long chronology?

Hosfield, R. and Cole, J. (2018) Early hominins in north-west Europe: a punctuated long chronology? Quaternary Science Reviews, 190. pp. 148-160. ISSN 0277-3791

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.04.026

Abstract/Summary

In light of changing views regarding the identity and evolutionary positions of Europe’s Lower Palaeolithic hominins, a re-consideration of the hominin occupation of North-West Europe from c. 1 million years ago (mya) to c. 400 thousand years ago (kya) is timely. A change in the scale and character of the overall European Palaeolithic record around c. 800-600 kya has been well documented and argued over since the mid-1990s. Hominin expansion into the European north-west, potentially from southern Europe, Africa or south-western Asia, has been linked to the introduction of a new lithic technology in the form of the biface. We evaluate three potential drivers for this northern range expansion: changing palaeo-climatic conditions, the emergence of an essentially modern human life history, and greater hominin behavioural plasticity. Our evaluation suggests no major changes in these three factors during the c. 800-600 kya period other than enhanced behavioural plasticity suggested by the appearance of the biface. We offer here a model of hominin occupation for north-west Europe termed the ‘punctuated long chronology’ and suggest that the major changes in the European Lower Palaeolithic record that occur at a species wide level may post-date, rather than precede, the Anglian Glaciation (marine isotope stage (MIS) 12).

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:69498
Publisher:Elsevier

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