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J Hum Evol. 2008 Nov;55(5):858-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.08.018. Epub 2008 Oct 19.

From the Bay of Naples to the River Don: the Campanian Ignimbrite eruption and the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in Eastern Europe.

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  • 1Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1560 30th Street, Boulder, CO 80309-0450, USA. John.Hoffecker@colorado.edu


The Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) eruption, dated by 40Ar/39Ar and various stratigraphic methods to ca. 39,000 cal BP, generated a massive ash plume from its source in southern Italy across Southeastern and Eastern Europe. At the Kostenki-Borshchevo open-air sites on the Middle Don River in Russia, Upper Paleolithic artifact assemblages are buried below, within, and above the CI tephra (which is redeposited by slope action at most sites) on the second terrace. Luminescence and radiocarbon dating, paleomagnetism, and soil and pollen stratigraphy provide further basis for correlation with the Greenland and North Atlantic climate stratigraphy. The oldest Upper Paleolithic occupation layers at Kostenki-Borshchevo may be broadly correlated with warm intervals that preceded the CI event and Heinrich Event 4 (HE4; Greenland Interstadial: GI 12-GI 9) dating to ca. 45,000-41,000 cal BP. These layers contain an industry not currently recognized in other parts of Europe. Early Upper Paleolithic layers above the CI tephra are correlated with HE4 and warm intervals that occurred during 38,000-30,000 cal BP (GI 8-GI 5), and include an assemblage that is assigned to the Aurigancian industry, associated with skeletal remains of modern humans.

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