Geochronology of cave deposits at Liang Bua and of adjacent river terraces in the Wae Racang valley, western Flores Indonesia: a synthesis of age estimates for the type locality of Homo floresiensis
A robust timeframe for the extant cave deposits at Liang Bua, and for the river terraces in the adjoining Wae Racang valley, is essential to constrain the period of existence and time of extinction of Homo floresiensis and other biota that have been excavated at this hominin type locality. Reliable age control is also required for the variety of artifacts excavated from these deposits, and to assist in environmental reconstructions for this river valley and for the region more broadly. In this paper, we summarize the available geochronological information for Liang Bua and its immediate environs, obtained using seven numerical-age methods: radiocarbon, thermoluminescence, optically- and infrared-stimulated luminescence (collectively known as optical dating), uranium-series, electron spin resonance, and coupled electron spin resonance/uranium-series. We synthesize the large number of numerical age determinations reported previously and present additional age estimates germane to questions of hominin evolution and extinction.