Obi-Rakhmat Grotto

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41.56, 70.13

The Obi-Rakhmat Grotto is a Middle Paleolithic prehistoric site that yielded Neanderthal fossils. It is a shallow karst cave near the junction of the Chatkal and Pskem Rivers at the southwestern end of the Talassky Alatau Range in the Tien Shan Mountains, 100 km (62 mi) northeast of Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Uranium-thorium datings of travertine sediments range between 70,000–100,000 years BP. These results are less secure due to the high uranium content and the presence of detritus, which contaminates dated sediments. ESR analysis of tooth enamel for eight Bovidae give an age estimation of ca. 57,000 to 73,000 years BP (strata 12–14) and ca. 87,000 years BP (basal stratum 21.1). The preliminary results of OSL dating on sediments from several profile locations gave uniform ages for all cultural successions: stratum 5.1 (56,000 ± 3200 years), stratum 8.1 (60,100 ± 3000 years), and stratum 21.2 (61,400 ± 3600 years).

Parts of the sequence is beyond the limit of sensitivity of the C14 dating method. However layer 9, dated to 42,100 years BP is well within the limit. Possibly, the age of layer 14.1 (48,800 years BP) may be a minimal estimate, but more study is necessary to precisely determine the age. The true age of layer 14 at Obi-Rakhmat site is still open to discussion.