CAHO Seminar Series 2013-02-12 12:47:14

20th February (Wednesday)
Damien Flas
Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique, Belgium

“In Terra Incognita. Middle and Upper Palaeolithic of Central Asia: New data from Uzbekistan”

Central Asia is a vast territory and it is an important region to understand population dynamics during the Pleistocene, notably the issue of the first dispersal of hominins into Asia, the expansion of the Neanderthal population, the Anatomically Modern Human dispersal in Asia and, as shown¬† more recently, the possibility of other populations like the Denisovans. But despite this crucial position, these regions remain much less known than other parts of Eurasia, leaving this territory an alsmost¬†terra incognita¬†of the Palaeolithic studies. In the last years, we developped new excavations at Kulbulak, an important open-air Palaeolithic site in Eastern Uzebkistan. The four campaigns provided a 15 m. deep stratigraphy yielding several Palaeolithic assemblages and the first chronological data for this site. This results, as well as other works made these last years, permit to shed new light on the Palaeolithic of Uzbekistan and Central Asia. It leads us to underscore the importance of blade industries during the Middle Palaeolithic in Central Asia, to question the reality of the “Denticulate Mousterian” described in these regions and to tackle the Early Upper Palaeolithic industry that was sometimes seen as an Asian source of the Aurignacian complex.