OPTICALLY STIMULATED LUMINESCENCE
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This project aimed to investigate whether the present chronological data for late Mousterian sites in Europe are biasing our perception of Neanderthal populations by making them appear more cold-adapted than the incoming anatomically modern Early Upper Palaeolithic humans. In this study we focused on the part of the Neanderthal world that experienced the most continental climatic environments - namely, European Russia north of the Black Sea - for it is in such a region that the environmental preferences, in particular tolerance to temperature, are most discernible. By applying a series of cross-validated non-14C chronological methodologies (OSL, TL, palaeomagnetic intensity, and tephrostratigraphy) to late Middle Palaeolithic assemblages the project sought to identify spatial and temporal patterning which, when correlated with local environmental proxies and wider climate data, would provide a better understanding of Neanderthal climate tolerances. The project has produced a suite of new age determinations from a selection of archaeological sites that had previously undergone investigation and which were available to sample without requiring new excavations; the corresponding data on the cultural, lithic and environmental associations of the new age measurements derive mostly from earlier existing studies.