In the beginning of the 1980s, the Caune de l'Arago was the focus of an interdisciplinary effort to establish the chronology of the Homo heidelbergensis (Preneandertals) fossils using a variety of techniques on bones and on speleothems. The result was a very large spread of dates particularly on bone samples. Amid the large spread of results, some radiometric data on speleothems showed a convergence in agreement with inferences from faunal studies. We present new U-series results on the stalagmitic formation located at the bottom of Unit IV (at the base of the Upper Stratigraphic Complex). Samples and splits were collaboratively analyzed in the four different laboratories with excellent interlaboratory agreement. Results show the complex sequence of this stalagmitic formation. The most ancient part is systematically at internal isotopic equilibrium (>350 ka) suggesting growth during or before isotopic stage 9, representing a minimum age for the human remains found in Unit III of the Middle Stratigraphical Complex which is stratigraphically under the basis of the studied stalagmitic formation. Overlaying parts of the speleothem date to the beginning of marine isotope stages 7 and 5. ?? 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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New U-series dates at the Caune de l'Arago, France