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Title: La seconde molaire déciduale inférieure droite du Trou de l’Abîme à Couvin, Belgique
Authors: Toussaint, Michel
Olejniczak, Anthony J.
El-Zaatari, Sireen
Cattelain, Pierre
Flas, Damien
Letourneux, Claire
Pirson, Stéphane
Keywords: Middle Palaeolithic;Enamel thickness;Neandertals;Deciduous lower molar;Couvin;Belgium
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Centre de Recherche Archéologique en Ardenne (CRAA)
Citation: Archeo-Situla, 2010, 30, 3-22
Abstract: A human lower right deciduous second molar was discovered in 1984 at the entrance of Trou de l’Abîme at Couvin (Belgium). In subsequent years the interpretation of this fossil remained difficult for different reasons: (1) the lack of taxonomically diagnostic elements which would support its attribution to either H. (s.) neanderthalensis or H. s. sapiens. (2) the absence of any reliable chronostratigraphic interpretation of the sedimentary sequence of the site; (3) the contradiction between archaeological interpretations, which attributed the lithic industry to a transitional facies between the Middle and Early Upper Palaeolithic, and the radiocarbon date of 46,820 ± 3,290 BP obtained from animal bone remains associated with the tooth and the flint tools. Thanks to recent progress regarding these three aspects, the tooth from Trou de l‘Abîme may now be studied in detail. Analyses of the morphology and the enamel thickness of the fossil yielded diagnostic characters consistent with an attribution to Neandertals. Re-examination of the lithic industry of Couvin shows that it corresponds to the Late Middle Palaeolithic rather than a transitional facies. Furthermore, a new analysis of the site stratigraphy indicates that the unit situated above the archaeological layer in which the tooth was found is probably a palaeosol of brown soil type. Comparison with the regional cave sequences as well as with the reference sequence from the Belgian loess belt tends to show that the most recent palaeosol of this type is dated between 42,000 and 40,000 BP. This is consistent with both a recently obtained AMS result at 44,500 BP and the published conventional date.
ISSN: 1376-229X
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología

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