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Palaeoecology and Archaeology of the Kärlich–Seeufer Open-Air Site (Middle Pleistocene) in the Central Rhineland, Germany

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Sabine Gaudzinski
Affiliation:
Forschungsbereich Altsteinzeit des Römisch-Germanischen-Zentralmuseums Mainz, Schloss Monrepos, 56567, Neuwied, Germany
Felix Bittmann
Affiliation:
Institut für Palynologie und Quartärwissenschaften, Universität Göttingen, Wilhelm-Weber-Strasse 2, 37073, Göttingen, Germany
Wolfgang Boenigk
Affiliation:
Geologisches Institut der Universität zu Köln, Zülpicher Strasse 49a, 50674, Köln, Germany
Manfred Frechen
Affiliation:
Geologisches Institut der Universität zu Köln, Zülpicher Strasse 49a, 50674, Köln, Germany
Thijs Van Kolfschoten
Affiliation:
Faculteit der Pre- en Protohistorie, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Postbus 9515, 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands

Abstract

The Kärlich–Seeufer archaeological site in Germany's central Rhineland was excavated between 1980 and 1992. The site provides evidence for hominid activity during a Middle Pleistocene interglaciation known up to now only from the Kärlich clay pit and therefore defined as the Kärlich Interglaciation, which is considered to be post-Cromer IV and pre-Holstein (sensu stricto) in age. The site is characterized by Acheulean artifacts, a fauna dominated by Elephas (Palaeoloxodon) antiquus, and a unique and outstanding preservation of wooden and other palaeobotanical remains. Assuming all finds are associated, the site previously was interpreted as an elephant hunting camp with a wooden structure, together with wood and bone implements preserved in situ. Recent analysis of the same features has shown that the site can also be interpreted as a reworked archaeological sample. Hominid occupation occurred in the vicinity of a small lake with prevailing meso-oligotrophic conditions. Expanding boreal forests and fen vegetation characterized the landscape.

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Research Article
Copyright
University of Washington

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