University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

The Lower Danube Survey for Paleolithic Sites: Survey and excavation of Paleolithic sites in the Lower Danube

Urluia Loes
The loess section at Urluia

Since 2010, Fellow Radu Ioviţă, who is currently a research fellow at the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz (RGZM), has led the international field project The Lower Danube Survey for Paleolithic Sites (LoDanS). This project represents a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany), the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz (Germany), and the "Vasile Pârvan" Institute of Archaeology of the Romanian Academy of Sciences.

Radu Ioviţă coring for luminescence samples at the loess site of Urluia.

The project aims to uncover the Paleolithic settlement of the loess-karst steppic area of the Lower Danube Basin at a landscape scale, via a geomorphologically-informed archaeological survey and excavation. In the spring of 2011, the focus was on preliminary excavations at the newly discovered (in 2010) Lower Paleolithic site of Dealul Guran, a collapsed rockshelter site on a cliff near the village of Pestera. Dealul Guran is the oldest archaeological site in Romania, and one of the oldest radiometrically-dated sites in the region, providing unique clues to the first colonization of eastern Europe by hominins. In addition, further paleoenvironmental and chronostratigraphic work was conducted on the approximately 40-meter thick continuous loess-paleosol sequence at a nearby quarry close to the village of Urluia.

(Images courtesy of Radu Ioviţă)

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