This study presents a hydroclimatic reconstruction from Crvena Stijena (Montenegro, Balkan Peninsula), a rock shelter that has yielded evidence for Middle Paleolithic human occupation. The integration of lipid biomarkers, hydrogen (δD) isotopic compositions of n-alkanes, and organic elemental geochemistry in the 7-m deep vertical sedimentary sequence enables reconstruction of the main hydrological and environmental changes during the MIS 3 and their correlation with the presence at the site. We apply agglomerative hierarchical clustering and principal component analysis to the geochemical, molecular, and stable isotopic data to obtain a robust hydrological record. We find evidence of three aridity trends from the studied period, one of them correlated with the Heinrich Event 5, and humid and cold-temperate conditions in archaeology-rich layers. Our dataset also contributes to the knowledge of past hydrological variability in the Balkan Peninsula, a sensitive area to short-lived climatic shifts, and overall, in the Mediterranean region during the last glacial/interglacial cycle.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial support for research at Crvena Stijena was provided by the United States National Science Foundation ( BCS 1758285 , https://www.nsf.gov/ ), the University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid of Research ( https://research.umn.edu/funding-awards/ovpr-funding/grant-aid ), and the National Museum and Ministry of Culture of Montenegro . We thank Dr. Antonio V. Herrera-Herrera (AMBI Lab) for his collaboration in this research, Rory Connolly for assistance in the field sampling, and the entire Crvena Stijena excavation team for facilitating this research. We thank the villagers of Petrovići for their immense hospitality.
© 2022 The Authors
- Balkan Peninsula
- Black layers
- Hydrogen isotopes
- Last glacial-interglacial transition
- Leaf waxes
- Middle Paleolithic