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Full Text: Anthropos, 102.2007

level of justification, it would be an epistemological 
travesty to treat these formulations as real. Most 
of what has ever been written or said about the 
Pleistocene past of humans is either false, proba 
bly false or inadequate, and it has proved exceed 
ingly difficult to excise this archaeo-lore from the 
discipline. For instance, the term “Neanderthal” is 
widely used as if there really was a “race” or genet 
ically definable subspecies so identifiable, and once 
such a terminological pigeonhole has established 
an identity it tends to be further reinforced. It then 
leads to absurdities such as the very strong belief 
of some Pleistocene archaeologists that these (pur 
ported) Neanderthals became the victims of their 
(purported) overspecialization when a (purported) 
army of Africans from the tropics marched into 
frozen Europe around 40,000 B.C. and “replaced” 
them through their various (purported) forms of 
superiority. In the present article I will illustrate a 
few of the conundrums of Pleistocene archaeology 
by considering the artificial separation of the Upper 
from the Middle Palaeolithic, which has led to such 
misleading constructs of the human past despite 
having hardly any realistic justification. 
Abel, Cain, and the EUP? 
Let us begin with White’s three examples intended 
to show that the “Aurignacians” were anatomically 
modem. Anyone who has actually examined the 
first, the Vogelherd skull (Stetten I), will have been 
struck by its modern appearance, both anatomically 
and in terms of its preservation. That is precisely 
why careful commentators warned that “judging by 
its appearance it would fit much better into a late 
phase of the Neolithic” (Czametzki 1983: 231; my 
translation). Gieseler (1974) had expressed similar 
concerns about Stetten II, a cranial fragment, and 
H. Miiller-Beck (pers. comm. 2002) also favored an 
attribution to the site’s Neolithic occupation. The 
placement of the Vogelherd individuals in the Auri- 
gnacoid deposits always seemed incongruous, and 
yet Stetten I has long been one of the replacement 
camp’s 1 key exhibits. Its putative age of 32,000 
years (32 ka) now stands refuted by its direct dating 
to the late Neolithic period (Conard etal. 2004), 
confirming the obvious: that it is part of an intru 
sive burial. Direct carbon isotope determinations, 
of samples taken from the mandible of Stetten 1, 
1 E.g., Protsch 1975; Brauer 1981, 1984a, 1984b; Stringer 
1984a, 1984b, 1985, 1989; Stringer and Andrews 1988; 
Mellars and Stringer 1989; Wainscoat et al. 1986; Wainscoat 
1987; Cann etal. 1987. 
Robert G. Be dn 
the cranium of Stetten 2, a humerus of Ste lte ^ 
and a vertebra of Stetten 4, all agree, falling y 
tween 3,980 ± 35 B.P. and 4,995 ± 35 B.P ContU 
to White (and Churchill and Smith 2000b, aI 
many others), the Stetten specimens tell us, 111 ^ 
fore, absolutely nothing about the skeletal ana ||L-d 
of the makers of the very sophisticated Vog el 
portable art objects from the same site. . ^ 
The issue is somewhat more complex wn x 
Cro-Magnon sample, derived from four 
three or four juveniles. Sonneville-Bordes (| 
placed them in the late Aurignacian, Movius ( j 
suggested an age of about 30 ka B.P. and pr eie ^ 
an attribution to the Aurignacian 2. The rece n ^ s 
dating to about 27,760 carbon years B.P- s ■ il - 
to render both opinions (and numerous others 
valid, and the remains are more likely of H ^ 
tian attribution (Henry-Gambier 2002). M° re 
the frequent reference to the Cro-Magnon re 
as the “type fossil” of early “modem” ana j 0 ng 
in Europe requires qualification. Wolpoff To*'* 1 
pointed out that the very pronounced supr a r6 s 
toms, projecting occipital bone and other i e -j e , 
of cranium 3 are Neanderthaloid rather than g ^ Q - 
This and other aspects of the generally ro 
Magnon series question the full modernity u ^¡s 
group - but irrespective of this, it apparent r 
us also nothing about the anatomy of the “A u 
Even more tenuous is White’s third ex a ^ 
that of the Mladec specimens. Since the sl 
never been the subject of a comprehensive 1 ^ 
some detail is briefly mentioned. There is t pis 
evidence that Pleistocene humans ever 
cave. Most of the macrofaunal remains apP^. 
fell through the large shaft in the cave’s t° ^ 
Smycka (1922: 118 f.) was the first to P r °P^ r o a ^ 
the human remains had also been dropped j ft 
this chimney. The first group of docurne) 
chaeological materials originates from 
bathy’s second digging season, in 1882. ^n j^d* 11 
of the Dom mrtvych (Dome of the Dead) ft' 
the upper part of the sediments twenty-tv^^e)’ 
rated animal teeth (probably of a single l ’j 
a long bone point, several fragments of P s aft 
awls, a utilized lower jaw of Ursus sp e ^ a 
two flint artifacts (Szombathy 1925: 8). l n ^ f pd°^ 
sequent decades the cave became a quarry 
phate loam, and Knies (1906) reports 1 ^ 
were scattered and trampled bones along ^qA 1 
leading to the top of the Tfesin Hill- m ^ ft 
---11 j of a pl# 
small quarry was opened 20 m west 
trance to the main cave (site P in Szom 
1925: 27) and the sediments of the srnai* 
tal passage were quarried (Knies 190 » 
i (fi 1

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