Multi-method (TL and OSL), multi-material (quartz and flint) dating of the Mousterian site of Roc de Marsal (Dordogne, France): correlating Neanderthal occupations with the climatic variability of MIS 5-3
Roc de Marsal has yielded numerous remains of Mousterian occupations, including lithics, fauna and combustion features. It was made famous by the discovery of the skeleton of a Neanderthal child. Given the need to date the sequence, TL and OSL were applied on heated flints and quartz, and OSL on unheated quartz. Chronological results combined with palaeoenvironmental data - faunal remains and micromorphological features in the sediments from the cave, pollen proxies and faunal remains from the region - allowed us to place climate variations in southwest France on a numerical time scale. Denticulate Mousterian occupations were dated to the middle of MIS 4 (65-70 ka) and Quina layers either to the very end of MIS 4 or to MIS 3. Interestingly, a faunal pattern showing a mix of red deer, roe deer and reindeer was found to have occurred during MIS 4, which was shown to be consistent with data from other similar sites in southwest France.