Wolf Cave
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Research history
The Neanderthal man





So far approximately 200 tools and 600 flakes have been found from the Wolf Cave. Among them is for example side scraper, coarse tool (pebble), hammer stones, denticulates and retouched flakes. The lithic raw material of the cave (layer IV-VII) consists of at least six rock types of quite different “quality”. The material is partly of local origin; partly its origin is unknown. Most common rock species are siltstone, quartz and quartzite. Also vulcanite and sandstone have been used.

A noticeable characteristic of the lithic material of Wolf Cave layers IV-V is the coexistence of different operating chains with especially differing reduction techniques. Because different reduction techniques are from the same stratigraphical context, they obviously do not represent technological or typological tradition, but are caused by the occurrence, cobble size and fracture qualities of the lithic raw material. “Clacton” technique appears on sandstone, quartz and quartzite. The raw materials with better physical fracture qualities, fine-grained quartzite and red siltstone had been reduced by a more developed technique. This technique belongs to the Middle Palaeolithic.

The cores and flakes from the Wolf Cave are not giving enough evidence for an exact typological classification, but the indicated reduction technique can be regarded as Mousterian. The quartzite and siltstone flake tools fit as well into this frame. The absence of high quality flint in the Wolf Cave raw material might be the reason that there is no clear indication of Levallois technique. Nevertheless, the other indicators allow placing the lithic assemblage from Wolf Cave layer IV-V into the early (Eemian) Mousterian technocomplex.

Apart from some quite recent bone remains in the upper strata, no organic material is available for radiocarbon dating. Luminescence dating of sand samples collected from different points within the cave has been begun. Summer 2004 researchers found piece of bone, but unfortunately it was too small for radiocarbon dating.

The discovery of the Wolf Cave site gives new perspectives on the behaviour of Neanderthal populations especially because of its high latitude and its probable dating to Eemian. This has wakened a lot of interest also internationally.


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