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The diachronous Eemian (Last Interglacial) in Europe

By M.J. Sier, J. Peeters, K.M. Cohen, M.J. Dekkers, J.M. Pares and W. Roebroeks


The Eemian, first defined by Harting in 1874 in the Netherlands, is the term for the terrestrial Last Interglacial in Europe. Extensive research has been devoted to this period from a wide range of disciplines. Archaeologists have an interested in this period as it contains the Last Interglacial presence of Homo neanderthalensis in Europe. Understanding the geographic and environmental range of this species, particularly the range limits, gives important insights in their social and/ or technological abilities. Studying the North western European (including the Eemian typelocality in the Netherlands) Eemian helps to contribute to this understanding. Here we present the combined results of research done at three Eemian sites, Neumark Nord 2 (Germany), Caours (France) and Rutten (Netherlands). Detailed palaeomagnetic and palaeoenvironmental studies were performed at these sites. In all three sites we indentified a palaeomagnetic excursion which is the Blake Event. We used this Blake Event as a chronostratigraphic marker in order to compare our records with the well dated marine core MD952042 (of the Iberian coast). When comparing our results with this core we can conclude that the onset of Eemian was delayed by 5000 years in north western Europe with respect to southern Europe. This means that the onset of the Eemian in north western Europe is placed well after the Marine Isotope Stage 5e sealevel highstand. As a result no “dry path” towards Great Britain was available during this warm period, possibly explaining the absence of Homo neanderthalensis during this period

Year: 2014
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.library.uu.nl:1874/310110
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