Paleoenvironmental context of the early Neanderthals of Poggetti Vecchi for the late middle Pleistocene of Central Italy

Federico Masini, Chiara Capalbo, Claudia Giuliani, Chiara Capretti, Paul Peter A. Mazza, Carmine D'Amico, Andrea Savorelli, Gianna Giachi, Elsa Gliozzi, Daniela Esu, Marco Spadi, Francesco Ciani, Amina Vietti, Chiara Capalbo, Marta Mariotti Lippi, Marta Mariotti Lippi, Marta Mariotti Lippi, Marta Mariotti Lippi, Anna Revedin, Lorena SozziBiancamaria Aranguren, Pasquino Pallecchi, Mario Voltaggio, Nicola Macchioni, Jean-Jacques Bahain, Simona Lazzeri, Marco Benvenuti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Work on thermal pools at Poggetti Vecchi in Grosseto, Italy, exposed an up to 3-meter-thick succession of sevensedimentary units. Unit 2 in the lower portion of the succession contained vertebrate bones, mostly of the straight-tuskedelephant, Palaeoloxodon antiquus, commingled with stone, bone, and wooden tools. Thermal carbonates overlying Unit 2are radiometrically dated to the latter part of the middle Pleistocene. This time span indicates that early Neanderthalsproduced the human artifacts from Poggetti Vecchi. The elephant bones belong to seven individuals of different ages.Sedimentary facies analysis and paleoecological evidence suggest a narrow lacustrine-palustrine embayment affected bywater-level fluctuations and, at times, by hydrothermal water. Cyclic lake-level variations were predominantly forcedby the rapid climatic fluctuations that occurred at Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6–7 transition and throughout the MIS 6.Possibly an abrupt, intense, and protracted cold episode during the onset of MIS 6 led to the sudden death of theelephants, which formed an unexpected food resource for the humans of the area. The Poggetti Vecchi site adds newinformation on the behavioral plasticity and food procurement strategies that early Neanderthals were able to develop inItaly during the middle to the late Pleistocene transition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-344
Number of pages18
JournalQuaternary Research
Volume88
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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