Can an Aurignacian age for the Chauvet cave paintings be maintained?

The cave of Chauvet (Southeastern France) became instantly famous after its discovery in 1994, now exactly 20 years ago. 425 painted and engraved figures were found in the cave, with a wide variety of themes and all with an excellent state of preservation. It became a key site for recent studies of parietal art, especially…

Diet breadth in the Middle Stone Age: Evolutionarily important?

The Middle Stone Age (MSA, ca. 300,000 to 30,000 years ago), is a crucial period in terms of the emergence of our species. During this period anatomically Modern Humans evolved and spread out of Africa. A recent study published in Current Anthropology (free access) provides a new perspective on this phenomenon through an investigation of subsistence practices…

Identifying the provenance of ‘ochre’ used by late Neanderthals at Les Bossats (Northern France)

The recently discovered open-air site of Les Bossates (Ormesson, northern France) has a rich archaeological sequence, including a late Mousterian assemblage which has been TL dated to around 47,000 years ago. As reported elsewhere, this assemblage is characterised by discoidal flaking and a large number (77) of red and yellow iron oxide-rich rocks. These fragments…