Out of Africa: Kaltepe Deresi 3, Turkey

Photos: Kaleltepe Deresi 3 (KD3) amont excavation; KD3 amont and aval excavations; with Ludovic Slimak (the pirate).

Turkey lies at an important crossroads for human populations dispersing from Africa to Eurasia, and yet its Paleolithic archaeological record remains sparse.  Kaletepe Deresi 3 (KD3) is one of the only open-air excavated Paleolithic sites in Turkey, and contains the only in situ handaxes in the country.  KD3 lies within the Göllü Dağ volcanic complex and contains a deep stratigraphic sequence that includes Lower Paleolithic and Middle Paleolithic artifacts, possibly the products of Homo erectus and Neanderthals, respectively.  Working with project directors Steve Kuhn (University of Arizona) and Ludovic Slimak (CNRS), my research focused on identifying airfall and reworked volcanic ash (tephra) deposits at the site, and linking them to their source volcanoes in an effort to better date the site using geochemical analysis with the electron microprobe.  The study was important in devising a method to identify tephra deposits not visible in outcrop and in the recognition of within-sample variability in a number of tephra deposits.  At KD3, several different tephra deposits were identified and successfully linked to their volcanic source, but uncertainties about the age of the volcanoes and a complex depositional history limits the age control of KD3 to between one million years ago and 70,000 years ago.


Tryon, Christian; Logan, M. Amelia; Mouralis, Damase; Kuhn, Steve; Slimak, Ludovic & Nur Balkan-Atlı
2009 Building a tephrostratigraphic framework for the Paleolithic of Central Anatolia, Turkey. Journal of Archaeological Science 36:637-652. pdf

Tryon, Christian; Kuhn, Steven; Slimak, Ludovic; Logan, M. Amelia & Nur Balkan-Atlı
2011 Scale in tephrostratigraphic correlation: An example from Turkish Pleistocene archaeological sites. Quaternary International 246:124-133. pdf

Project collaborators

Steve Kuhn (University of Arizona)

Ludovic Slimak (CNRS)

Damase Mouralis

M. Amelia V. Logan (Smithsonian Institution)

Nur Balkan-Atlı