Abric Romaní, a rock shelter located near Barcelona, Spain, contains a charcoal-bearing basal Aurignacian occupation level sandwiched between beds of moss-generated carbonate. The Aurignacian culture is the oldest artefact industry in Europe with which anatomically modern human remains have been associated. Radiocarbon analysis of charcoal fragments by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dates the basal Aurignacian to about 37 ± 2 ka bp. U-series analyses by alpha spectrometry (AS) and mass spectrometry (MS) date the enclosing carbonate to 43 ± 1 ka bp. These results confirm the great antiquity of the Aurignacian in northern Spain and support the similar AMS dates from El Castillo and l’Arbreda caves. They also show that radiocarbon dates are significantly younger than U-series at 40 ka bp, as predicted by theory.
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