The Balkan Peninsula represents one of the most important human pathways into and out of Europe during the Pleistocene. Mishin Kamik cave, located in the karst region of Western Stara Planina, has a rich faunal content and shows promising features indicating a human occupation site with the discovery of potential bone artefacts and an intriguing accumulation of bear skulls and bones. Petrographic study and U-series dating of a stalagmite and other calcite deposits in the cave provide an absolute chronological frame for the detrital infillings and their archaeological content and inform the environmental and climatic context of the cave evolution. Most detrital deposits in the cave were probably deposited before Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 and the cave morphology and sedimentary deposits display current morphologies since ~135 ka. Consequently, the palaeontological and archaeological findings are older than ~135 ka. Calcite dated on and under the accumulation of bear skulls and bones suggests deposition during MIS 7. A first depositional contextualization of the bone accumulation does not allow us to discriminate between a natural or anthropogenic origin. The study emphasizes the added value of speleothem studies in archaeological sites and particularly in bringing a well-constrained chronological and environmental framework.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Journal of Quaternary Science|
|State||Published - Oct 2021|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to Stoyan Petkov from Speleo‐club Urvich, Bulgaria, for his valuable help in the field. The archaeological study initiated by the ‘Balkan Paleo Project’ (lead by S. Ivanova) further developed into the Belgian‐Bulgarian collaboration project ‘Human Palaeoenvironments and Adaptations to Climate Impacts in the Balkans during the Late Pleistocene’ and its continuation ‘Human Palaeoenvironments and Adaptations to Climate Impacts in the Balkans during the Late Pleistocene’, directed by E. Marinova and W. Van Neer from Belgian and M. Gurova from Bulgaria. Both projects VS.090.14 N and VS.069.17 N were financed by the Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (FWO) Vlaanderen and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS). The 2014–2017 excavations were carried out with financial support of the National Museum of Natural History – BAS, Sofia. The authors declare no conflicts of interest. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
- MIS 6
- Middle Palaeolithic