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Deglacial landscapes and the Late Upper Palaeolithic of Switzerland

Reade, H; Tripp, JA; Charlton, S; Grimm, SB; Leesch, D; Müller, W; Sayle, KL; ... Stevens, RE; + view all (2020) Deglacial landscapes and the Late Upper Palaeolithic of Switzerland. Quaternary Science Reviews , 239 , Article 106372. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106372. Green open access

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Abstract

The presence of people in Switzerland in recently deglaciated landscapes after the Last Glacial Maximum represents human utilisation of newly available environments. Understanding these landscapes and the resources available to the people who exploited them is key to understanding not only Late Upper Palaeolithic settlement in Switzerland, but more broadly human behavioural ecology in newly inhabited environmental settings. By applying bone collagen stable isotope analysis (δ13C, δ15N and δ34S) to faunal remains from Late Upper Palaeolithic localities in Switzerland, we investigate animal ecology and environmental conditions during periods of human occupation. High and relatively uniform δ34S values indicate that landscapes north of the Jura Mountains provided comparatively stable environmental conditions, while lower and more variable δ34S values on the Swiss Plateau suggest a dynamic landscape with diverse hydrological and pedological conditions, potentially linked to regionally different patterns of permafrost thaw. This contrasts with the archaeological record that appears relatively uniform between the two regions, suggesting people were employing similar subsistence behaviours across a range of environmental settings. The pattern of change in δ15N across the deglacial period appears consistent between areas that remained ice-free throughout the LGM and those that were glaciated. Most notable is a period of exclusively low δ15N values between 15,200 and 14,800 cal. BP, which could relate a regional expansion of floral biomass in response to environmental change.

Type: Article
Title: Deglacial landscapes and the Late Upper Palaeolithic of Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106372
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106372
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Magdalenian, Collagen, Sulphur isotopes, Nitrogen isotopes, Carbon isotopes, Pleistocene, Palaeogeography, Europe, Horse, Reindeer
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100116
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