Human Origins Leiden

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Neumark-Nord 2 Interglacial Neandertals

Status: In progress  
Project leaders: Collaborators:



Our group is participating in a multidisciplinary study of a unique Last Interglacial landscape, littered with the remains of activities of Neandertals concentrated around former water bodies. These traces are exposed in a former lignite quarry at Neumark-Nord, near Halle, in eastern Germany.

From 2006 onward we participated in a joint project of the Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt, the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum at Mainz (Germany) and the Archaeology Department of Leiden University (The Netherlands). Weather conditions permitting, an excavation crew was in the field all year round, until the end of August 2008. By then the water level in the flooding former quarry which is to be turned into a recreation resort, reached the NN2/2 find levels. In total, an area of 433 m2 was excavated, yielding a very rich archaeological assemblage, containing c. 20,000 Middle Palaeolithic flint artifacts and approximately 120,000 faunal remains representing a warm temperate fauna which includes straight tusked elephant, rhinoceros, bovids, equids, deer, bear, small carnivores and the pond tortoise Emys orbicularis.

Study of the lithic material and aspects of site formation processes are themes for MA, RMA and PhD-theses currently in progress, both at Leiden and at Mainz (Monrepos), where the faunal remains are mainly being studied. The high quality of the archaeological material from this site is matched by the rich data on the environment within which these materials were discarded. A first paper on (aspects of) the geological setting of the site appeared in Quaternary Research, in 2011, to which you are referred for more information on this gem of a site. Watch our website for progress reports, there is much more to come!

Publications:                                                          Click here