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On the limits of using combined U-series/ESR method to date fossil teeth from two Early Pleistocene archaeological sites of the Orce area (Guadix-Baza basin, Spain)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Mathieu Duval*
Affiliation:
Centro nacional de investigación sobre la evolución humana (CENIEH), Paseo de Atapuerca s/n, 09002-Burgos, Spain Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Département de Préhistoire, UMR 7194, 1 rue R. Panhard 75013 Paris, France
Christophe Falguères
Affiliation:
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Département de Préhistoire, UMR 7194, 1 rue R. Panhard 75013 Paris, France
Jean-Jacques Bahain
Affiliation:
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Département de Préhistoire, UMR 7194, 1 rue R. Panhard 75013 Paris, France
Rainer Grün
Affiliation:
Research School of Earth Science, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT0200, Australia
Qingfeng Shao
Affiliation:
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Département de Préhistoire, UMR 7194, 1 rue R. Panhard 75013 Paris, France
Maxime Aubert
Affiliation:
Research School of Earth Science, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT0200, Australia
Jean-Michel Dolo
Affiliation:
CEA, I2BM, F-91401, Orsay, France
Jordi Agustí
Affiliation:
ICREA, Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Campus Catalunya, Avinguda de Catalunya, 35, 43002 Tarragona, Spain
Bienvenido Martínez-Navarro
Affiliation:
ICREA, Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Campus Catalunya, Avinguda de Catalunya, 35, 43002 Tarragona, Spain
Paul Palmqvist
Affiliation:
Departamento de Ecología y Geología, Universidad de Málaga, Campus de Teatinos, 29071 Málaga, Spain
Isidro Toro-Moyano
Affiliation:
Museo Arqueológico de Granada, Carrera del Darro 41-43, 18010 Granada, Spain
*
*Corresponding author at: Centro nacional de investigación sobre la evolución humana (CENIEH), Paseo de Atapuerca s/n, 09002-Burgos, Spain. E-mail address:mathieu.duval@cenieh.es (M. Duval).

Abstract

The combined U-series/electron spin resonance (ESR) dating method was applied to nine teeth from two Early Pleistocene archaeological sites located in the Orce area (Guadix-Baza Basin, Southern Spain): Fuente Nueva-3 (FN-3) and Barranco León (BL). The combination of biostratigraphy and magnetostratigraphy places both sites between the Olduvai and Jaramillo subchrons (1.78–1.07 Ma).

Our results highlight the difficulty of dating such old sites and point out the limits of the combined U-series/ESR dating method based on the US model. We identified several sources of uncertainties that may lead to inaccurate age estimates. Seven samples could not be dated because the dental tissues had (230Th/234U) activity ratios higher than equilibrium, indicating that uranium had probably leached from these tissues. It was however possible to calculate numerical estimates for two of the teeth, both from FN-3. One yielded a Middle Pleistocene age that seems to be strongly underestimated; the other provided an age of 1.19 ± 0.21 Ma, in agreement with data obtained from independent methods. The latter result gives encouragement that there are samples that can be used for routine dating of old sites.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
University of Washington

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On the limits of using combined U-series/ESR method to date fossil teeth from two Early Pleistocene archaeological sites of the Orce area (Guadix-Baza basin, Spain)
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