The Aurignacian of the Caucasus
■ MARCEL OTTE
Importance of the region
The presence of the Aurignacian in the Caucasus is part of the transition and expansion from the Zagros Mountains toward the Crimea and Eastern Europe. The occupations at the many archaeological sites found in this mountainous region, intermediate between Asia and Europe, establish cultural relationships with Anatolia, the Zagros and the Crimea (Fig. 1). In addition to the abundance of sites, the Paleolithic of the Caucasus has been the subject of excavations since the beginning of the 20th century that contributes to the regional history (Nioradzé and Otte, 2000).
Still more recently, new fieldwork has been undertaken by an international team directed by Ofer Bar- Yosef (Tushabramishvili et al., 1999). This research will certainly shed light on the characteristics of the Georgian Paleolithic and the different forms of development which occurred. The prehistory of Europe is thus linked to this terrestrial passage joining the Near East to eastern Europe.
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