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Neanderthal material und resource cultures and land use patterns in changing environments
In order to deduce behavioral and land use patterns of Neanderthals in changing environments, we selected 53 assemblages from 36 localities dating to MIS 6 as a distinct cold period and 55 assemblages from 34 localities dating to MIS 5e as a distinct warm period. Since we only considered well stratified and well-dated assemblages, this ROAD-dataset is probably the most reliable and comprehensive one for this time-span. For these selected assemblages, we analyzed material culture and seasonal dynamics in the availability of herbivores and plant food resources.
As first interim results, we found out that, despite significant climatic changes between MIS 6 and MIS 5e, lithic technology and resource cultures of early Neanderthals changed only slightly. They show flexible and adaptive solutions to deal with seasonally varying availability of resources.
Further analyses, applying for instance methods of association rule mining (machine learning and data mining) as well as in-depth analyses for given geographic areas and comparisons between these areas are currently underway. Moreover, we presently design an ABM which allows to test and compare a variety of (regionally specific) subsistence strategies.
Expansions of Hominin Performances
Expansions of Hominin Resource Space
PlantBITES - Changes of Vegetation and Plant Resources in the Southern Caucasus
in cooperation with Dr. Ivan Gabrielyan (Botanical Institute of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, Yerevan, Armenia) and Prof. Dr. Eliso Kvavadze (Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi, Georgia), sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (2017-2019)
The scientific goals of the joint project are to study the history of vegetation of Southern Caucasus since the first occupation with early humans within a complex topographic setting and in relation to climate. The project will reconstruct the environment of different time periods under different global climatic situations to increase our understanding of the natural and anthropogenic influences of global climatic changes on regional vegetation and ecosystems. A database on wild useful plants emphasizes vegetation as an essential resource of humans.
PhD-project Yul Altolaguirre: High-resolution analysis of the Early Pleistocene regional environment before, during and after the first expansion of early Homo into Southern Spain
in cooperation with Luis Gibert, Dept. of Mineralogy, Petrology and Applied Geology, Barcelona University, Barcelona, Spain
To shed light on potential corridors of early human expansions into Western Europe, we reconstruct larger-scale vegetation changes based on high-resolution pollen analyses of core material including the application of quantitative methods for climate and vegetation reconstructions. This will enable detailed insights in the regional response of Western Mediterranean vegetation on global climate change in the course of Early Pleistocene orbital climatic cycles. This results in important implications for spatial and temporal fluctuations in the availability of resources and their influence on early human expansion.
- Early Pleistocene Environment of Homo erectus (Caucasus, Spanien, Java) AB
- Environmental studies and landscape reconstruction (Geelbek, Anyskop, Sibudu, Melka Kunture, Mugello...) CS/AB/AK
- Fortsetzung METHOD > EUROPEANS: Rekonstruktion des räumlichen Verhaltens früher Menschen in Europa:>/li>
Modelling Environmental Dynamics and Hominin Dispersals Around the Mid-Pleistocene Revolution (METHOD)
International Focus Group (IFG) #1604F funded by INQUA
Christine Hertler, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
Jesús Rodríguez, Burgos, Spain
Ana Mateos, Burgos, Spain
Maria Rita Palombo, Rome, Italy
The Mid-Pleistocene Revolution (MPR) marks a period of profound reconfigurations in global ecosystems caused by climate change driven by variations in orbital forcing taking place around one million years ago. Changes in climate drastically affect vegetation, thus leading to significant faunal turnovers in Europe and elsewhere. Hominins responded to these changes in various ways, on the level of populations by adapting their reproductive strategies thus controlling population densities, on the level of behavior by acquiring new ways of resource acquisition and management, and finally also by shifting distribution patterns and dispersing into new environments.The METHOD IFG network studies environments and hominin responses across diverse spatial, chronological and biological scales. We make use of a range of techniques of modelling (e.g. agent-based modeling, network modelling) and simulation. Furthermore, we create a web-based toolbox to explore a larger range of databases.
- Rodríguez, J., Mateos, A., Hertler, C., Palombo, M. R. (2016): Modelling human presence and environmental dynamics during the Mid-Pleistocene Revolution: New approaches and tools. Quaternary International 393: 19-23.
- Rodríguez, J., Mateos, A., Hertler, C., Palombo, M. R. (2016): The power of models: Mathematical approaches to the study of human-fauna interactions in the Pleistocene. Quaternary International 413:2-6.
- Volmer, R., Hertler, C. (2016): The effect of competition on shared food resources in carnivore guilds. Quaternary International 413: 32-43.
- Hölzchen, E., Hertler, C., Timm, I., Lorig, F. (2016): Evaluation of Out of Africa hypotheses by means of agent-based modeling. Quaternary International 413: 78-90.
- Timm, I., Lorig, F., Hölzchen, E. Hertler, C. (2016): Multi-scale Agent-based Simulation of Long-Term Dispersal Processes: Towards a Sophisticated Simulation Model of Hominin Dispersal. In: Barceló, J. A., del Castillo, F. (eds.): Simulating Prehistoric and Ancient Worlds. Springer, Cham, Switzerland. pp. 141-158.
Expansions of Range
ROCEEH Out of Africa Database (ROAD)
At the core of the project is the compilation of data about archaeological and paleoanthropological sites within the chronological and geographic range. Information about the sites and their associated assemblages is accessible in different types of publications and databases. By collecting data systematically and placing it at the disposal of other researchers, ROCEEH freely offers access to information that is otherwise not readily accessible. Thus, ROCEEH enhances the knowledge available about the cultural heritage of our deep past. These data are organized in a multidisciplinary, web-based, geo-relational database known as ROAD (ROCEEH Out of Africa Database) with advanced geographical information system (GIS) functionality. Thus ROAD unifies geographical data about sites with information about their stratigraphy and the cultural finds those layers contain. In addition, ROAD assimilates information on human fossil history, fauna, flora, and climate, and provides this information to model early human habitats. In addition to compiling data systematically, the ROCEEH team analyzes the content of the ROAD database through case studies which examine different cultural phenomena. The results are integrated into a digital atlas detailing the development of humans and the environment.
The ROCEEH research center is involved in many excavations around the world (current fieldwork is labeled).