The 14C dating of archaeological finds is calibrated by reference to relevant climatic archives and transferred onto the calendrical time-scale. Conversion as far back as 50,000 years ago was first achieved at MONREPOS.
The freeware software package CalPal makes this research immediately accessible to everyone. The program was developed during a long-standing cooperation with the University of Cologne.
(155.2 KiB) Climate Calendar
In fact, Neanderthals became extinct across Europe some 44,000 – 42,000 years ago, just as Modern Humans were arriving. Research at MONREPOS demonstrated this in 2003.
(93.4 KiB) The Last Neanderthals
Particularly by the application of taphonomic studies to the reconstruction of depositional histories of animal bones we have established internationally accepted standards.
Researchers at MONREPOS have made a decisive contribution to our understanding of the development of large game hunting and its importance for the emergence of humanity.
(98.5 KiB) Zooarchaeology and Taphonomy
During the investigation of complex open-air sites such as Gönnersdorf we have developed new methods for the identification and quantitative evaluation of settlement features with their organisational patterns and dynamic systems.
After more than 30 years of continuous application it has become possible to formulate synthetic statements about the development of human settlement behaviour and its social relevance.
(111.3 KiB) Settlement Behaviour
The discovery and analysis of the engraved slate plaques from Gönnersdorf demonstrated for the first time the existence of a comprehensive tradition of Palaeolithic art in Central Europe. Female depictions of “Gönnersdorf Type” have become a defined standard for the international art research community. Moreover, the portable art objects offer a unique source of information for the social context of early art. Current investigations employing high-resolution 3D scanning are for the first time deciphering details of the schematic principles behind the depictions and the different techniques used for their production.
(167.9 KiB) Art in Context
Beginning in the 1980s MONREPOS has carried out controlled experiments for investigating hunting technology and animal butchery. Under laboratory conditions it is possible to evaluate separately the contribution of different factors and in this way test, for example, the manner of using Palaeolithic hunting weaponry.
One main emphasis has been on simulations of bone survival history at Palaeolithic sites (taphonomy). Current experiments focus on the origin of bone accumulations found in lake deposits contemporary with Neanderthals.
(143.1 KiB) Experiments
Technologiscal and economical analyses at the beginning of the 1990s led to a paradigm shift in our understanding of stone artefacts. Since then individual tools are no longer seen as static “type fossils” but as a mutable stage within a continuing dynamic process of use and modification.
This is shown particularly well by our research into the “biography” of backed stone knives (“Keilmesser”). Reconstructions of the complex processes involved in the employment of stone tools provide information about the development of technical skills, human mobility and the use of the landscape.
(119.8 KiB) Tool Biographies