Evidence for Middle Palaeolithic occupation and landscape change in central Armenia at the open-air site of Alapars-1

Ariel Malinsky-Buller, Phil Glauberman, Keith N. Wilkinson, Bo Li, Ellery Frahm, Boris Gasparyan, Rhys Timms, Daniel S. Adler, Jenni Sherriff

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Here we report the findings from excavations at the open-air Middle Palaeolithic site of Alapars-1 in central Armenia. Three stratified Palaeolithic artefact assemblages were found within a 6-m-thick alluvial-aeolian sequence, located on the flanks of an obsidian-bearing lava dome. Combined sedimentological and chronological analyses reveal three phases of sedimentation and soil development. During Marine Oxygen Isotope Stages 5–3, the manner of deposition changes from alluvial to aeolian, with a development of soil horizons. Techno-typological analysis and geochemical sourcing of the obsidian artefacts reveal differential discard patterns, source exploitation, and artefact densities within strata, suggesting variability in technological organization during the Middle Palaeolithic. Taken together, these results indicate changes in hominin occupation patterns from ephemeral to more persistent in relation to landscape dynamics during the last interglacial and glacial periods in central Armenia.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalQuaternary Research
Early online date14 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Aug 2020


  • Middle Palaeolithic
  • Armenian highland
  • Palaeolithic
  • Landscape dynamics
  • Open-air sites
  • Republic of Armenia
  • Hrazdan-Kotayk Plateau

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