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The Balkans in the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic: The Gate to Europe or a Cul-de-sac?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 February 2014

J. K. KozŁowski*
Affiliation:
Institute of Archaeology, Jagellonian University, 31-007 Kraków, ul. Gołębia 11, Poland

Abstract

During the Last Interglacial Middle Palaeolithic industries of Crvena Stijena-type rich in side-scrapers with Levallois technique of recurrent type are specific to the Balkans. These industries have analogies in Anatolia and the northern part of the Middle East (Zagros-Group), but are different from industries typical of the middle Danube basin (Taubachian) and northern Central Europe (Moustero-Levalloisian). In the period preceding and immediately following the Lower Pleniglacial the Balkans were dominated by typical Mousterian and Moustero-Levalloisian, frequently with leaf points, similar to the industries of the lower Danube and Dniester basins, but unknown in western Anatolia. During the same period Eastern Micoquian developed in the middle Danube basin and northern Central Europe. Moustero-Levalloisian with leaf points persisted until the Early Interpleniglacial, but only in exceptional cases developed some Upper Palaeolithic features, and always without typical Aurignacian forms. The Aurignacian, unless it appears as a first Upper Palaeolithic culture in the Balkans with earliest dates in Europe (>40,000 years BP), seems to be an intrusive unit without any roots in the local Middle Palaeolithic. After 30,000 years BP, parallel to the Late Aurignacian, the first industries with backed blades appear. In the early stage these developed independently from those of Central Europe. Only after 26,000/24,000 BP were they followed in the eastern Balkans by assemblages strongly linked both morphologically and by raw materials to the Gravettian of the middle Danube basin. In the western Balkans, after 20,000 years BP, assemblages with shouldered points appeared, also probably of middle Danube origin. During the Last Interglacial and Interpleniglacial the territory of Balkans played an important transitional role between Anatolia and Central Europe; in the two Pleniglacials of the Würm this territory became some kind of cul-de-sac as the refugium for population groups from the middle Danube and northern Central Europe.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Prehistoric Society 1992

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