In its second year of archaeological research around the Oase Cave complex (Caraş-Severin, Romania), the German-Romanian excavation team at last discovered traces of human occupation during the Late Pleistocene.

Currently, two sites are under excavation: Hoţu Cave, a small cavity which yields evidence for human presence in the Epipalaeolithic and later periods, and a large rock-shelter in the vicinity of Oase Cave. Fossils detected inside this cave in 2003 belong to the oldest modern humans in SE Europe (around 38'000 years before present). Archaeological research in the CRC 806 is now searching for the cultural and environmental context which is so far lacking for the fossil remains. However, a first important step towards this goal is done: in 4 metres depth at Oase rock-shelter, the excavation reached the top of the Pleistocene sequence which comprises remains of human occupation during the Epigravettian. Charcoal samples are submitted for AMS dating to check their preliminary attribution to the Last Glacial Maximum. Given this first evidence for Palaeolithic humans living around Oase Cave, we will now continue our search for even older traces left by the oldest anatomically modern humans in Europe.

 

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Hoţu Cave: 2013 excavation area at the cave entrance. 
Photo: Thomas Hauck
  B1-Hauck-Fig-2 lhk 250px Oase Rock-Shelter: ongoing excavation in the search for human presence during the Pleistocene.
Photo: Thomas Hauck

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