Late Pleistocene Hominin Settlement Patterns in the Central Balkans:Šalitrena Pećina, Serbia

Marín- Arroyo, Ana B., Jones, Jennifer R. orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9247-7994, Cristiani, Emanuela, Stevens, Rhiannon E., Mihailović, Dušan and Mihailović, Bojana (2023) Late Pleistocene Hominin Settlement Patterns in the Central Balkans:Šalitrena Pećina, Serbia. In: The Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of South-Eastern Europe. Proceedings of the British Academy, 258 . The British Academy, London, pp. 107-155. ISBN 9780197267509

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Recent research in the Central Balkans is discovering multiple human occupations previously unknown from the region, revealing its strategical location within Europe for human populations to spread towards Central and Western Europe during the Pleistocene. Šalitrena Pećina (Serbia) contains evidence of late Neanderthal and early modern humans' presence during the mid to late MIS3. A Bayesian model of the radiocarbon dates, combined with the zooarchaeological and stable isotope analyses of the macromammal and technological analysis of the bone tools, provides new insight into subsistence strategies achieved by late Neanderthals and Aurignacian and Gravettian groups at the site. The results reveal diverse residential and short-temporal use of the cave by both human species. Bone tools show intensive use of the carcasses consumed for daily tools. The first evidence of Aurignacian and Gravettian bone industries in Serbia are presented here. Carnivores played a significant role after humans left the site. Radiocarbon dates indicate a millennium gap between Neanderthal and early AMH groups and a few millennia between the Aurignacian and the Gravettian groups. Bone collagen δ13C and δ15N isotope values are indicative of a mixed forest and open landscapes near the cave, reflecting a more forested and humid condition during the Mousterian and colder environments during the Gravettian with open landscapes.

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