The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


New Neanderthal remains from Kalamakia cave, Mani peninsula, Southern Greece

KATERINA HARVATI1, ANDREAS DARLAS2, SHARA E. BAILEY3, THOMAS R. REIN1, SIREEN EL ZAATARI4, LUCA FIORENZA5, OTTMAR KULLMER6 and ELENI PSATHI7.

1Paleoanthropology, Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution & Paleoecology, Dept. of Early Prehistory & Quaternary Ecology;, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, 2Ephoreia of Paleoanthropology & Speleology of Northern Greece, Hellenic Ministry of Culture, 3Anthropology, New York University, 4Wiener Laboratory, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 5Archaeology & Paleoanthropology, University of New England, 6Abteilung Paläoanthropologie und Messelforschung, Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut Frankfurt a.M., 7Ephoreia of Paleoanthropology & Speleology of Southern Greece, Hellenic Ministry of Culture

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The Kalamakia Middle Paleolithic site, a karstic cave on the western Mani peninsula, Greece, was excavated from 1993 until 2006 by an interdisciplinary team from the Ephoreia of Paleoanthropology and Speleology (Greek Ministry of Culture) and the Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris). The site is dated to between ca. 100,000 (U / Th) and >39,000 (AMS 14C) kya and has yielded Mousterian lithics and rich faunal remains, including several carnivores, small vertebrates and shellfish. The site has also yielded fourteen human specimens from several layers. These include 10 isolated teeth, a cranial fragment and three postcranial elements. The Kalamakia human remains represent at least eight individuals, including two subadults. One specimen shows clear carnivore modification marks, suggesting that some of the remains were brought into the cave by carnivores. Additional, anthropogenic, modifications in the form of interproximal grooves, are present on two of the isolated teeth. The Kalamakia remains from all stratigraphic levels can be identified as Neanderthal on the basis of diagnostic morphology. A mixed habitat is suggested by our analysis of dental wear (Occlusal Fingerprint Analysis) and microwear (Occlusal Texture Microwear Analysis), in agreement with the faunal and palynological analyses of the site. These new fossils significantly expand the Neanderthal sample known from Greece. Together with the human fossils from Lakonis and Apidima, the Kalamakia human remains add to the growing evidence of a strong Neanderthal presence in the Mani region during the late Pleistocene.

Research supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, the Ioannis F. Kostopoulos Foundation, the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, the Psychas Foundation and the Wiener Laboratory, American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Katerina Harvati is supported by ERC STG 283503 PaGE.

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