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Science. 2007 Jan 12;315(5809):223-6.

Early Upper Paleolithic in Eastern Europe and implications for the dispersal of modern humans.

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Institute of the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences, 191186 St. Petersburg, Russia.


Radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence dating and magnetic stratigraphy indicate Upper Paleolithic occupation-probably representing modern humans-at archaeological sites on the Don River in Russia 45,000 to 42,000 years ago. The oldest levels at Kostenki underlie a volcanic ash horizon identified as the Campanian Ignimbrite Y5 tephra that is dated elsewhere to about 40,000 years ago. The occupation layers contain bone and ivory artifacts, including possible figurative art, and fossil shells imported more than 500 kilometers. Thus, modern humans appeared on the central plain of Eastern Europe as early as anywhere else in northern Eurasia.

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