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Geoarchaeological and Zooarchaeological Studies at Mira, a Stratified Early Upper Paleolithic Site i

During August 2012, new field research was conducted at Mira, an open-air, stratified early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) site located in the Lower Dnepr Valley, south-central Ukraine.  Earlier excavations by V.N. Stepanchuk had revealed two occupation layers at the site.  The 2012 project was designed to collect more information on the geoarchaeology and zooarchaeology of Mira in order to better understand how the site contributes to the emerging pattern of Homo sapiens dispersal and adaptation on the East European Plain.  

Exposed stratigraphic profile of the Second Terrace and new excavations at Mira in August 2012.J.F. Hoffecker and V.T. Holliday collect samples for soil micromorphology analysis from the occupation layers at Mira on 14 August 2012 (photo by V.N. Stepanchuk).Small bone fragments exposed on the upper occupation level (Layer I) at Mira in August 2012. Layer I is dated to roughly 32,000 years ago (calibrated radiocarbon years) and represents the later phase of the early Upper Paleolithic in Eastern Europe (photo by V.N. Stepanchuk).The Second Terrace (roughly 30 m above the modern river) of the Dnepr River, downstream from the city of Zaporozhye (Ukraine) and looking south from the Mira site. The early Upper Paleolithic occupations at Mira are deeply buried in sediments of this terrace.  At the time that the site was occupied, more than 30,000 years ago, it was located near the center of an immense floodplain (several km wide).Horse bone (radius) from Layer I at Mira (excavated by V.N. Stepanchuk in 2000), exhibiting traces of cuts made by stone tools (photo by J.F. Hoffecker 7 November 2012).Bladelets from Layer II/2 at Mira (early Gravettian) dating to ~32,000 cal BP (photo by J.F. Hoffecker 2011).Scraper from Layer I at Mira, dating to ~30,000 cal BP (photo by J.F. Hoffecker 2011).V.T. Holliday recording stratigraphic profile at Mira (photo by V.N. Stepanchuk).Excavated area of early Upper Paleolithic occupation layers at Mira (photo by V.N. Stepanchuk).Excavation crew at Mira 17 August 2012.Water-sieving sediment excavated at Mira in August 2012 (photo by J.F. Hoffecker).Sampling exposure of late Quaternary sediment at Polyana Rodnikov (photo by J.F. Hoffecker 3 Aug 12).Dnepr 2nd Terrace viewed from 1st Terrace level (photo by J.F. Hoffecker).Exposed stratigraphy of Dnepr 2nd Terrace at Mira (photo by J.F. Hoffecker).Dnepr 3rd Terrace viewed from 2nd Terrace level (photo by J.F. Hoffecker).Exposed Quaternary sediment on west bank of Dnepr Reservoir south of Zaporozhye (photo by J.F. Hoffecker).

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