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Felix Riede

The Final Palaeolithic Hunter-Gatherer Colonisation of Lithuania in Light of Recent Palaeoenvironmental Research

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This paper critically reviews the culture-historical framework for the re-colonisation of Lithuania during the Final Palaeolithic in the light of recent palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental data. We argue that the existing chronology of the Final Palaeolithic in Lithuania suffers from an undue western European orientation grounded in research history, and that it likely requires reconsideration. The lack of well-constrained excavations, the paucity of both radiocarbon dates and of palaeoenvironmental data pertinent to the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT) lead us to be cautious with regard to the existing chronology. In reviewing the typological classification of the relevant lithic material, we argue in particular that there is a lack of reliable evidence not only for Hamburgian occupation but also for any substantive Federmessergruppen, Brommean and Ahrensburgian presence. Whilst Swiderian sites are better represented, a large majority of these may date to the early Holocene. In light of the current evidence, we question the usefulness of existing archaeological taxonomies for this period and favour a model of punctuated colonisation for the Lithuanian territory, where periodic and ephemeral forager presences are interspersed with longer periods of depopulation. In closing, we outline avenues for future research in the region.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOpen Quaternary
Volume4
Issue4
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2018

    Research areas

  • Final Palaeolithic, Lithuania, pioneer colonisation

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