Short-Term occupations at high elevation during the Middle Paleolithic at Kalavan 2 (Republic of Armenia)

Ariel Malinsky-Buller*, Philip Glauberman, Vincent Ollivier, Tobias Lauer, Rhys Timms, Ellery Frahm, Alexander Brittingham, Benno Triller, Lutz Kindler, Monika V. Knul, Masha Krakovsky, Sebastian Joannin, Michael T. Hren, Olivier Bellier, Alexander A. Clark, Simon P.E. Blockley, Dimidry Arakelyan, João Marreiros, Eduardo Paixaco, Ivan CalandraRobert Ghukasyan, David Nora, Nadav Nir, Ani Adigyozalyan, Hayk Haydosyan, Boris Gasparyan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The Armenian highlands encompasses rugged and environmentally diverse landscapes and is characterized by a mosaic of distinct ecological niches and large temperature gradients. Strong seasonal fluctuations in resource availability along topographic gradients likely prompted Pleistocene hominin groups to adapt by adjusting their mobility strategies. However, the role that elevated landscapes played in hunter-gatherer settlement systems during the Late Pleistocene (Middle Palaeolithic [MP]) remains poorly understood. At 1640 m above sea level, the MP site of Kalavan 2 (Armenia) is ideally positioned for testing hypotheses involving elevation-dependent seasonal mobility and subsistence strategies. Renewed excavations at Kalavan 2 exposed three main occupation horizons and ten additional low densities lithic and faunal assemblages. The results provide a new chronological, stratigraphical, and paleoenvironmental framework for hominin behaviors between ca. 60 to 45 ka. The evidence presented suggests that the stratified occupations at Kalavan 2 locale were repeated ephemerally most likely related to hunting in a high-elevation within the mountainous steppe landscape.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere0245700
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2 February
StatePublished - Feb 2021

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