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Radiocarbon Date Frequency as an Index of Intensity of Paleolithic Occupation of Siberia: Did Humans React Predictably to Climate Oscillations?

  • Stuart J Fiedel (a1) and Yaroslav V Kuzmin (a2)

Abstract

Upper Paleolithic humans occupied southern Siberia by about 43,000–38,000 BP (14C yr), and afterward continued to live there despite the very cold climate. If climatic conditions limited expansion of the colonizing population in northern Siberia, the Paleolithic ecumene should have contracted during the coldest episodes within the last 40,000 yr, and fewer 14C-dated sites should be known from those periods. In fact, the human population seems to have remained stable or even expanded during cold periods. Comparison of calibrated 14C dates for Siberian occupations with Greenland ice cores fails to demonstrate a simple correlation between climatic fluctuations and the dynamics of human colonization and persistence in Siberia between about 36,000 and 12,000 BP. Cold climate does not appear to have posed any significant challenge to humans in Siberia in the Late Pleistocene, and a supposed Last Glacial Maximum “hiatus” in population dynamics seems illusory.

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Corresponding author

Corresponding author. Email: sfiedel@louisberger.com

References

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