Neanderthal settlement of the Central Balkans during MIS 5: Evidence from Pešturina Cave, Serbia

Dušan Mihailović, Stefan Milošević, Bonnie A.B. Blackwell, Norbert Mercier, Susan M. Mentzer, Christopher E. Miller, Mike W. Morley, Katarina Bogićević, Dragana Đurić, Jelena Marković, Bojana Mihailović, Sofija Dragosavac, Senka Plavšić, Anne R. Skinner, Iffath I.C. Chaity, Yiwen E.W. Huang, Seimi Chu, Draženko Nenadić, Predrag Radović, Joshua LindalMirjana Roksandic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research in the southern Central Balkans has resulted in the discovery of the first Middle Paleolithic sites in this region. Systematic excavations of Velika and Mala Balanica, and Pešturina (southern Serbia) revealed assemblages of Middle Paleolithic artifacts associated with hominin fossils and animal bones. This paper focuses on Pešturina Layer 4, radiometrically and biostratigraphically dated to Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5, which yielded traces of temporary hunting camps. The remains of large ungulate prey are associated with predominantly Quina-type artifacts made of quartz. Artifacts from Pešturina Cave have no parallels at Mousterian sites in the Balkans but are rather similar to the Central European Charentian, which demonstrates that this cultural unit was widespread during MIS 5, not only in the southern Pannonian Basin but also in the Central Balkans. The position of the site – on the outskirts of the known spread of the Quina model of techno-economic behavior during MIS 5 – raises several questions related to population movements, residential mobility, and technological variability in the early Middle Paleolithic of Central and Southeast Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalQuaternary International
Early online date10 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2022


  • Central Balkans
  • Charentian
  • Middle Paleolithic
  • MIS 5
  • Neanderthal behavior


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