Dating cave sediments
Those artifacts are the oldest of their kind found in northern Eurasia and representative of something previously unexplored: Denisovan culture.At this point, says Douka, we cannot definitively say that Denisovans created those items, though the evidence is pointing that way. is a University of Victoria professor and Paleolithic archeologist who specializes in the origins of art and symbol use and wasn’t a part of these recent papers.Both studies, published in , describe new discoveries in the Denisova Cave of the Altai Mountains, where excavations have continued for the past 40 years.Those efforts have revealed ancient human remains carrying the DNA of both the Denisovans and Neanderthals who made the high-ceilinged cave their home — sometimes, even having children together.AMS measurements were performed at the 14UD Pelletron Koffler Accelerator Laboratory, Weizmann Institute, and sensitivities of the order of 1×10 Al analyses have the potential for dating prehistoric cave sediments, provided problems relating to the presence of relatively large amounts of stable Al can be solved, as well as obtaining a better understanding of the burial history of the flints prior to being brought into the cave. Wiley Online Library requires cookies for authentication and use of other site features; therefore, cookies must be enabled to browse the site.
We can’t tell what these pendants meant to the Denisovans who created and wore them, but their very existence allows archeologists to begin to piece together an idea of the culture from which they were wrought.More sites with Denisovan remains and material culture are needed to answer deeper questions about their culture and symbols. Evaluating the pendants and bones, she tells that, assuming these artifacts were made by the Denisovans, she’s “not particularly surprised.” Human culture, very broadly, is thought to have emerged 3.3 million years ago, with the first stone tools.Other ancient humans used the natural clay ochre to paint at least 100,000 years ago, the same time period where archeologists have found the oldest beads.So, it makes sense that a human subspecies would create cultural artifacts around this time.What’s novel in the new studies, Nowell says, is that “we know virtually nothing about who Denisovans were, so every study like this one helps to enrich our understanding of their place in the human story.”“Given that we have items of personal adornment associated with Neanderthals and modern humans all around the same date as the ones thought to be associated with the Denisovans,” she adds, “I would find it more surprising if they were not making similar objects.”These particular items, Nowell explains, especially the tooth pendant, likely speak to “issues of personal identity and group belonging.” The teeth were purposefully chosen, modified, and worn — standing as jewelry that communicates something about both the wearer and likely influenced how the wearer felt about themselves.