Here we present phosphate oxygen isotope (δ 18OPO4) data from horse (Equus sp.) tooth enamel (bioapatite) from the early Eemian and early Weichselian find levels at the archaeological site of Neumark-Nord 2, Germany. Based on the relationship between δ18OPO4 of bioapatite, body water, local precipitation and air temperature, these data are used to reconstruct palaeoclimatic conditions contemporary to the different phases of Neanderthal activity at the site. Bulk enamel samples representing one year of growth were taken from horse teeth from early Eemian (NN2/2b [∼121 ± 5 ka], and NN2/1c) and early Weichselian (NN2/0; ∼93 ± 7 ka) find levels, and δ18OPO4 values were then utilised to calculate δ18O of local environmental water and mean annual air temperature (MATs) during these phases of MIS5. Results indicate that during the early Eemian MAT was ∼9 °C, with some evidence of variability through time. Although ∼3 °C lower, the calculated early Weichselian MAT exceeds that indicated by other local and regional climate proxy datasets, suggesting that Neanderthal activity may have coincided with more ameliorate phases of the early Weichselian in this area.
- Stable isotopes
- Last Interglacial