Grants / RFBR 11-06-12020

RFBR # 11-06-12020

The stages of geoecological units as an environment and way of migrations of archantrops during Early and Middle Pleistocene in Caucasus and East Europe.

The main aim of the project is investigation of the oldest paleolithic sites (oldovanean) in the North Caucasus and East Europe. Previous investigations revealed exciting materials about Myhkay-2 and Bairaki paleolithic sites. These two sites are higly important to understanding the way of ancient people migrations from Africa to Europe through Caucasus.

Report 2011
Early Paleolithic site Bayraki (Southern East Europe) from alluvial and cover beds of VII Dniester terrace (Lower Eopleictocene) was studied for age and environmental reconstruction determination. River Dniester alluvial terraces system near Dubossary town is studied and corrected. 5 high terraces system represented by: three terraces VIII, VII, VI (Eopleictocene age) with artefacts and 3 terraces VI high, VI low, V (Early Neopleictocene) were investigated. Paleomagnetic event Jaramillo (0.98-1.07 mln. years) was found in upper alluvium of VII terrace. This date supported by RTL dates 1.1 mln. 0,25 and 0.940 0,2 mln. years and Tamanean complex of mammals (Epivilafranchean). The age of the oldest oldovanean tools from alluvial pebble is 1.1 1.2 mln. years. This is the oldest Early Paleolithic site in the Europe. For environmental reconstruction interdisciplinary investigations were provided: sedimentology, including grain size and carbonate content, thin slices of sediments, X-ray clay minerals study. Fossil soils and pedosediments are studied: 3 fossil soils were identified. Palinologycal analysis recovered some palinozones with forest (oak, beech, hornbeam, elm, linden, hazel, etc.) and steppe vegetation. Climatic environment is reconstructed.

In the Caucasus Mountain the detail study of multyfacieses sediments 80-100 meter thickness with oldovan culture tools is studied. New stratigraphic unit 80 m thickness Akusha formation (Eopleistocene) is described. Morphological features is recovered: spread in Akusha-Usisha interfluvial 4 km., space 0.7 km2, hypsometric position of the surface +1635 +1500 m asl., basement high +1545 +1499 m asl. Area of Akusha formation is divided by erosion on six isolated clusters.

Excavations of 2011 oldovan site Mukhkay-2 is studied from surface to depth 36 m and only sampled up to 57 m depth from total thickness 75 meter. Paleomagnetic studies recovered Matuyama epoch with normal events: Jaramillo (6 m thickness), Kamikatsura (0.85 mln. years) and estimated Cobb-Mountain (1.21-1.24 mln. years). This age confirms by paleontological rests: mammals, including Archidiscodont meridionalis meridionalis, foxes, antelopes, goats, predators, fish, reptiles (turtles). Palinological investigations from upper 24 meters (38 samples and 9 palinozones) showed alternation more cold and warm vegetation and climate oscillation.

New material allow to discover much more earlier appearance of archanthrops on Northern Caucasus (1.5 mln. years) and south of East Europe (1.2 mln. years) and suggest new migration ways to the north of the Black Sea from Caucasus, Dniester valley to Europe.

Report 2012

The newest archaeological sites of oldowan culture Mukhkay-2 (Caucasus, Dagestan), Bayraki and Kretceshty (Dniester valley, Moldova) were discovered and investigated.

On the base of multidisciplinary studies (paleomagnetism, paleontology, palinology, sedimentology etc) the absolute age 1.0 1.5 mln years were estimated as well as environmental reconstruction of ancient archantrops on the South of East Europe.

High resolution stratigraphy and correlation of archaeological sites were developed. Relation of oldowan culture layers with main climatic oscillations and marine transgressions and river terrace complexes were established.

Geoecological area of inhabited and their megastructure in space (interregional rate) and temporal megastages were reconstructed. Proposed conception of Barrier and Bridges were used for reconstruction of the ancient migration.

The role of water (marine, river), mountain (Caucasus), landscape (forest zones and deserts) barriers for archantrops migration were determined. New migration North-Black Sea way between Caucasus and Europe via North Caucasus, NW Black Sea shelf and upstream of Danube and Dniester river valleys is proposed.

Four migration stages from Africa to the Europe during Eopleistocene were described. Harsh turn of migration direction after 1.5 mln years from the North Caucasus to the Black Sea shelf was founded and explained by need to avoid two barriers: water (Apsheronean Sea) and landscape (Eurasian forest zone).

Read more:
Geoarchaeology of the Earliest Paleolithic Sites (Oldowan) in the North Caucasus and the East Europe