Pod Hradem Cave, located in the Moravian Karst, Czech Republic, offers an excellent opportunity for environmental reconstructions of Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3) in Central Europe due to its detailed sedimentary record dated 50,000 to 28,000 cal BP. Identifying the natural environments of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic (MUP) transition is necessary to understand the settlement strategies and related behaviour of both Neanderthals and Anatomically Modern Humans, both of whom may have occupied the region at the same time. A multidisciplinary excavation was carried out between 2011 and 2016. Detailed analyses of the sediments, vertebrate microfauna, pollen and charcoal revealed minor but observable fluctuations in climate, with little change in the surrounding vegetation. The Pod Hradem palaeoenvironmental dataset is complex, but generally reflects a predominantly glacial climate with a range of vegetation types and habitats during the Late Pleistocene, followed by the warmer and more humid Holocene. The MUP transition as recorded in Pod Hradem Cave was a glacial environment interrupted by two relatively warmer periods. Central Europe experienced extreme climate fluctuations during MIS3, as recorded from different sedimentary archives, but it seems that the Pod Hradem Cave environment may have acted as a buffer zone, ameliorating those extremes, and providing a suitable refuge for both bears seeking winter hibernation dens and occasionally visiting humans.
"Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology" – Elsevier
Published: May 15, 2018
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