"...The latest study produced the first accurate dates for the final decline of the Neanderthals with the help of sophisticated developments in radio-carbon dating. It found a clear overlap within Europe that spanned some 25 to 250 generations – between 470 and 4,900 years depending on the region.
The overlap also fits with archaeological data on the kind of tools that each used, suggesting a period when Neanderthals began to copy the more sophisticated tool-making of the new migrants.
“We believe we now have the first robust timeline that sheds new light on some of the key questions around the possible interactions between Neanderthals and modern humans,” said Professor Tom Higham of Oxford University, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature.
“The chronology also pinpoints the timing of the Neanderthals’ disappearance, and suggests they may have survived in dwindling populations in pockets of Europe before they became extinct,” Professor Higham said...."
"The timing and spatiotemporal patterning of Neanderthal disappearance."
Published online 20 August 2014
"The timing of Neanderthal disappearance and the extent to which they overlapped with the earliest incoming anatomically modern humans (AMHs) in Eurasia are key questions in palaeoanthropology1, 2. Determining the spatiotemporal relationship between the two populations is crucial if we are to understand the processes, timing and reasons leading to the disappearance of Neanderthals and the likelihood of cultural and genetic exchange. Serious technical challenges, however, have hindered reliable dating of the period, as the radiocarbon method reaches its limit at ~50,000 years ago3. Here we apply improved accelerator mass spectrometry 14C techniques to construct robust chronologies from 40 key Mousterian and Neanderthal archaeological sites, ranging from Russia to Spain. ..."