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Upper Paleolithic Sites in Europe

European Upper Paleolithic


The Upper Paleolithic period in Europe (40,000-20,000 years ago) was a time of great change, with a blossoming of human capabilities and a huge increase in the number of sites and the size and complexity of those sites.

This list of Upper Paleolithic sites in Europe was created for the About.com Guide to Prehistoric Europe. See the Guide to the Upper Paleolithic for more information on this fascinating period in human history.

Abri Castanet (France)

Abri Castanet is a rockshelter located in the Vallon des Roches of the Dordogne region in France. Excavated first by pioneer archaeologist Denis Peyrony at the beginning of the 20th century, late 20th and early 21st century excavations conducted by Jean Pelegrin and Randall White have led to many new discoveries concerning the behaviors and life ways of Early Aurignacian occupations in Europe.

Abri Pataud (France)

Abri Pataud, in the Dordogne valley of central France, is a cave with an important Upper Paleolithic sequence, with fourteen separate human occupations lasting beginning with the early Aurignacian through the early Solutrean. Excellently excavated in the 1950s and 1960s by Hallam Movius, Abri Pataud's levels contain much evidence for Upper Paleolithic art work.

Altamira (Spain)

Altamira Cave is known as the Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic Art, because of its huge, numerous wall paintings. The cave is located in northern Spain, near the village of Antillana del Mar in Cantabria

Arene Candide (Italy)

The site of Arene Candide is a large cave located on the Ligurian coast of Italy near Savona. The site includes eight hearths, and the intentional burial of an adolescent male with a large number of grave goods, nicknamed "Il Principe" (The Prince), dated to the Upper Paleolithic (Gravettian) period.

Balma Guilanyà (Spain)

Balma Guilanyà is a rockshelter that was occupied by Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers about 10,000-12,000 years ago, located near the city of Solsona in the Catalonia region of Spain

Bilancino (Italy)

Bilancino is an Upper Paleolithic (Gravettian) open air site located in the Mugallo region of central Italy, which appears to have been occupied during the summer near a marsh or wetland some 25,000 years ago.

Chauvet Cave (France)

Chauvet Cave is one of the oldest rock art sites in the world, dating to the Aurignacian period in France, about 30,000-32,000 years ago. The site is located in the Pont-d'Arc Valley of Ardèche, France. Paintings in the cave include animals (reindeer, horses, aurochs, rhinocerus, buffalo), hand prints, and a series of dots

Denisova Cave (Russia)

Denisova Cave is a rockshelter with important Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic occupations. Located in the northwestern Altai Mountains some 6 km from the village of Chernyi Anui, the Upper Paleolithic occupations date between 46,000 and 29,000 years ago.

Dolní Vĕstonice (Czech Republic)

Dolní Vĕstonice is a site on the Dyje River in the Czech Republic, where Upper Paleolithic (Gravettian) artifacts, burials, hearths and structural remains dated about 30,000 years ago have been found.

Dyuktai Cave (Russia)

Diuktai Cave (also spelled Dyuktai) is an archaeological site on the Aldan River, a tributary of the Lena in eastern Siberia, occupied by a group that may have been ancestral to some Paleoarctic people of North America. Dates on the occupations range between 33,000 and 10,000 years ago.

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