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Evidence for Middle Palaeolithic occupation and landscape change in central Armenia at the open-air site of Alapars-1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 August 2020

Ariel Malinsky-Buller*
Affiliation:
MONREPOS, Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution, Schloss Monrepos, D - 56567 Neuwied, Germany
Phil Glauberman
Affiliation:
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences, Yerevan, Armenia Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China
Keith Wilkinson
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology, Anthropology and Geography, University of Winchester, Department of Archaeology, Winchester, UK
Bo Li
Affiliation:
Centre for Archaeological Science, School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
Ellery Frahm
Affiliation:
Yale Initiative for the Study of Ancient Pyrotechnology, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Boris Gasparyan
Affiliation:
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences, Yerevan, Armenia
Rhys Timms
Affiliation:
Centre for Quaternary Research, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, UK
Daniel S. Adler
Affiliation:
University of Connecticut, Department of Anthropology, Old World Archaeology, Storrs, Connecticut, USA
Jennifer Sherriff
Affiliation:
Centre for Quaternary Research, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, UK
*
*Corresponding author at: Schloss Monrepos, D - 56567 Neuwied, Germany. E-mail address: Malinsky@rgzm.de (A. Malinsky-Buller).

Abstract

Here we report the findings from excavations at the open-air Middle Palaeolithic site of Alapars-1 in central Armenia. Three stratified Palaeolithic artefact assemblages were found within a 6-m-thick alluvial-aeolian sequence, located on the flanks of an obsidian-bearing lava dome. Combined sedimentological and chronological analyses reveal three phases of sedimentation and soil development. During Marine Oxygen Isotope Stages 5–3, the manner of deposition changes from alluvial to aeolian, with a development of soil horizons. Techno-typological analysis and geochemical sourcing of the obsidian artefacts reveal differential discard patterns, source exploitation, and artefact densities within strata, suggesting variability in technological organization during the Middle Palaeolithic. Taken together, these results indicate changes in hominin occupation patterns from ephemeral to more persistent in relation to landscape dynamics during the last interglacial and glacial periods in central Armenia.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2020

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Footnotes

*

Contributed equally.

We dedicate this paper to the memory of Ofer Bar-Yosef, whose endless curiosity and enthusiasm will continue to guide our research.

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