Obi-Rakhmat Grotto

THE LITHIC INDUSTRY OF OBI-RAKHMAT GROTTO, UZBEKISTAN

Obi-Rakhmat Grotto is situated 100 km northeast of Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan. The site was first studied in the 1960s and excavations through the 1970s yielded more than 40,000 stone artifacts. Excavations were renewed in 1998 with the goal of clarifying the archaeological, geological and environmental sequence. Based on studies of the 1998-1999 collections and a sample of artifacts with accurate provenience from earlier excavations, it is now possible to classify the Obi-Rakhmat industry as initial Upper Paleolithic, showing mixtures of Middle and Upper Paleolithic features. New AMS radiocarbon dates suggest that the local Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition began before 50 ka with the majority of lithic assemblages at Obi-Rakhmat spanning the interval from approximately 48 to 40 ka.

The bottom strata of the grotto is dated to ~87,000 years old, while the top layers could be as young as 57,000 years old. This seems to be the Easternmost range of Neanderthals known so far, along with Altai in Southern Siberia. The remains of the child found there have been classified as neanderthal from the teeth, although the also remains show some modern traits. This is also true of the Teshik-Tash child, who was only finally labelled as a Neanderthal when the DNA results came back. And a link to the anthropology.net page on the site, for reference.

New hominin remains from Uzbekistan

Received 2 June 2005;

Abstract
Although the Paleolithic occupations of Uzbekistan and the neighboring foothill regions of Tajikistan and Kazakhstan are well-documented, almost no hominin fossil material has been discovered in the area since Teshik-Tash 1 in 1938. Here we describe and offer a preliminary comparative framework for hominin remains that were recovered in 2003 from two Middle Paleolithic sites in Uzbekistan, Obi-Rakhmat Grotto and Anghilak Cave. The description of Teshik-Tash as a Neandertal and the preponderance of lithic assemblages identified as Mousterian in character has supported the interpretation of the region as the eastern-most extent of the Neandertal range. The material from Obi-Rakhmat (OR-1), a subadult represented by part of a permanent maxillary dentition and a fragmentary cranium, expresses a relatively Neandertal-like dentition coupled with more ambiguous cranial anatomy. The remains from Anghilak Cave include a non-diagnostic, diminutive right fifth metatarsal (AH-1). These findings are important additions to the Central Asia hominin fossil record.

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