Fieldwork at Dealul Guran 2012

August 13 – September 14

We invite applications for excavations at the newly discovered Lower and Upper Paleolithic site of Dealul Guran, Romania (near Medgidia, ~40 km inland from the Black Sea coast).
Besides learning about the scientific background of the project and the regional Paleolithic you will gain experience in modern excavation techniques as well as an introduction to the local and regional geomorphology and stratigraphy. Working in the laboratory will train you in find management tasks, including cleaning, sorting, and labeling, as well as the computerized cataloguing of finds.

Sanitary facilities and meals will be provided. Participants will sleep in tents outside the laboratory and must bring tents and sleeping bags. They must fund their own journey to Bucharest (flight) and then to Medgidia (train or bus, 2-3 hrs.) where they will be picked up by car.

The project language is English. Certificates of participation can be obtained upon request.

Please send applications including basic information regarding your anthropological, geological, and/or archaeological education to

The LoDanS campaign 2012 is funded by the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, and is undertaken in cooperation with the MONREPOS Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution (RGZM) in Neuwied, Germany, and the Institute of Archaeology «Vasile Pârvan» and the Institute of Speleology «Emil Racovitza» of the Romanian Academy of Sciences.

Download information flyer (pdf/1.50 MB)


The Lower and Upper Paleolithic site of Dealul Guran

Southeastern Europe features consistently in models of hominin colonization of the continent. It is the geographic point at which northward migration routes out of Africa through the near East meet eastern ones arriving from Asia, via the Caucasus and Ukrainian steppe (e.g. Carbonell et al. 1999; Harvati et al. 2008; Muttoni et al. 2010). However, despite its geographically important position as a potential crossroads for population movements, the quality and quantity of data from the Balkans and Eastern European steppe have so far been insufficient to reliably evaluate migration and dispersal models.

The site of Dealul Guran in southeastern Romania is a collapsed rock shelter situated on the northeast-oriented flank of a limestone hill overlooking a dry tributary of the Danube. Discovered during our 2010 survey, it is currently the oldest Paleolithic site in Romania (see Iovita et al., in press, Antiquity), and one of the few secure Lower Paleolithic contexts in Eastern Europe. As such, the archaeological materials excavated here provide critical information relating to hominin dispersal into Europe during the Middle Pleistocene.

Raw material in the form of high-quality flint is present both at the site and in the surrounding valley system, influencing the character of the lithic industries. The assemblage from the lower layers (dated by OSL to OIS 11)  is preliminarily assigned to Clark’s (1969) technological Mode 1 (core-and-flake), which is characteristic for the Lower Paleolithic of Eastern Europe and Asia (see some photos below).

The younger layers at the site were likewise dated by OSL to OIS 3 and 2 and represent the Early and Late Upper Paleolithic. These layers were only excavated on a very small surface, during the 2010 sondage and its extension in 2011 (<1.5 sqm) and are therefore difficult to assign to a specific industry.

Project Goals for 2012

1. Extending the excavation trench to obtain a better sample of the Upper Paleolithic, as well as the Lower Paleolithic layers.

2. A thorough analysis of the lithic assemblages, including refittings in order to characterize the extraction technologies present at this site with abundant raw material.

3. A systematic archaeological survey of the Pestera Valley in an attempt to characterize settlement and landscape history. For this purpose, a specialized small team will split from the main group and work independently.


Iovita, R., K. E. Fitzsimmons, A. Dobos, U. Hambach, A. Hilgers, A. Zander. (in press) Dealul Guran: evidence for the Lower Paleolithic (MIS 11) occupation of the Lower Danube loess steppe. Antiquity.


4 Responses to “2012 Season”

  1. […] excavations at a newly discovered Lower Paleolithic site in Romania called Dealul Guran. As we are still looking for participants to join this year’s campaign I designed an information flyer and aupdated the project’s […]

  2. […] they now can date human presence at this very location to at least Marine Isotope Stage 11 (see Iovita et al., in press, Antiquity) which to many proves it to be “the oldest village in the country”. This impression […]

  3. […] (one on weapons experiments, and one on lithic economy during the Lower and Upper Paleolithic at Dealul Guran, Romania) and a talk given by Kat Fitzsimmons on our discovery and impact of the Campanian […]

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