Late Middle Paleolithic of Southern Poland: Radiocarbon dates from Ciemna and Obłazowa Caves

Bridget Alex, Paweł Valde-Nowak, Lior Regev, Elisabetta Boaretto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


New radiocarbon dates are reported for Late Middle Paleolithic (MP) layers of Ciemna and Obłazowa Caves in Southern Poland. The sites present methodological challenges for radiocarbon dating related to post-depositional mixing, materials preservation, and radiocarbon measurements near the detection limit. We describe strategies to address these issues, which allowed for estimation of the timing of lithostratigraphic layers. At Ciemna, bones associated with Late MP artifacts are older than 50 ka. At Obłazowa, bones associated with Late MP artifacts produced dates 50‐45 ka cal BP and a possible Szeletian phase occurred sometime 45‐39 ka cal BP. These new dates add to the regional chronology and strengthen the case that a number of distinct archaeological industries appeared in Southern Poland and Moravia during Marine Isotope Stage 3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-380
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Eugenia Mintz for assistance in radiocarbon sample preparation and measurement; M. Moskal-del Hoyo for paleobotanical identifications of Ciemna material; Valentina Caracuta for paleobotanical identifications of Obłazowa material; Damian Stefański for assistance with Ciemna material; and Magda Cieśla for assistance with Obłazowa material. Analytical work was funded by National Science Foundation [Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant #1334615 and Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award #DGE-1144152] and the US-Israel Education Foundation [Fulbright Student Scholarship]. AMS dates were supported by the Exilarch's Foundation, the DANGOOR Research Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory (D-REAMS), and the Max Planck-Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology. Excavations were supported by Polish National Center of Science [“Palaeolithic ritual place in Obłazowa Cave” Grant #2015/17/B/HS3/00181 and “The last Neanderthals in the Ciemna Cave” Grant #UMO-2014/15/BHS3/02219].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition
  • Neanderthals
  • Radiocarbon dating
  • Southern Poland


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