The lithic raw material economy of the Banat (SW-Romania) during the early Upper Palaeolithic

Estimating modern human dispersal is a tricky task, especially considering the many gaps in our current knowledge of past land use and provisioning strategies. Hence, before something meaningful can be said on such a broad scale, these mechanisms should be understood on the local and regional scales along the assumed migratory routes in Africa and beyond. One such key-area in the early modern human peopling of Europe is the Banat in Southwest Romania, which is home to the famous Oase Cave early modern human remains (± 40 ka cal BP).

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Ine Léonard, PhD Candidate in B1.

Ine Léonard, PhD Candidate in B1.

Sadly, these fossils are deprived of a reliable archaeological context. Fortunately, three open-air localities, of which two multi-layered, comprise rich lithic artefact records that have been dated to this crucial point in time.

Since organic preservation at these sites is poor, the focus of research is on the lithic artefacts. To establish understanding of the aforementioned mechanisms contained within these archaeological assemblages, the lithic records are evaluated regarding the represented technological strategies, raw materials and cortex relicts. For the raw material provenance study, geochemical –X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy– and petrographic analysis were used to avoid the impediment of country-/language-specific nomenclature. The integration of these data enabled the estimation of the lithic raw material economy of the Banat during the early Upper Palaeolithic that involved a peculiar technological organization of the landscape along with the manifold usage of local and regional raw materials, which corresponded to provisioning strategies ranging from ad hoc to specialized in nature.

Moreover, an interesting relation between the open-air localities and the cave sites could also be inferred, in which the hilly onset of the Carpathian Mountains is preferred for either high-frequentation or long-term occupation, whereas the lower and higher areas of the region were only occasionally visited leaving behind few and fragmented traces – a tendency that has also been observed elsewhere along the fringes of the Carpathian Basin.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 13/06/2016, 14:00 h – 14:45 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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Quaternary fluvial environments in NE Morocco inferred from geochronological and sedimentological investigations

Fluvial terrace formations of the Lower Moulouya River, showing three Holocene terraces as well as three distinct levels of Pleistocene fluvial deposits (view to the north).

Fluvial terrace formations of the Lower Moulouya River, showing three Holocene terraces as well as three distinct levels of Pleistocene fluvial deposits (view to the north).

Melanie Bartz is a PhD student in the C2 project “Early Holocene Contacts between Africa and Europe and their Palaeoenvironmental Context” of the CRC 806 “Our Way to Europe” of the University of Cologne, at the Institute of Geography supervised by Prof. H. Brückner.

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The prehistoric site of Ifri n’Ammar (NE Morocco), a rock shelter dated back to Middle and Late Palaeolithic times and characterised by periodic settling, reveals human activity since 170 ka. Fluvial systems provide direct information for the reconstruction of palaeoenvironmental changes; they also serve as indicators for the regional climate evolution.

Melanie Bartz, PhD Candidate in C2.

Melanie Bartz, PhD Candidate in C2.

In her PhD research, Melanie focuses on two fluvial systems of different scales to reconstruct palaeoenvironmental features in NE Morocco: (i) the ephemeral stream Wadi Selloum in the direct vicinity of Ifri n’Ammar, and (ii) on fluvial terraces of the larger Moulouya River drainage. The major tools to reach this goal are the application of geochronological techniques [luminescence (OSL, IRSL) and electron spin resonance (ESR) dating] as well as sedimentological analyses [e.g. micromorphology, scanning electron microscopy (SEM)].

(i) Wadi Selloum deposits have been dated between 102±8 ka and 1.3±0.2 ka, covering different morphodynamically stable and active phases, respectively. Periods of enhanced aggradation occurred ~100 ka, ~75 ka, ~55 ka, ~21 ka, and ~14 ka, as well as during the Holocene. Fine-grained overbank deposits were distinguished by high amounts of allochthonous minerals, such as quartz, K-feldspar and plagioclase, which indicate aeolian input into the limestone-dominated catchment. Landscape stability is evidenced by a Pleistocene palaeosol and two Holocene soils, characterised by the pronounced formation of soil structure, pedogenic calcite and frequent biogenic pedofeatures.

(ii) The Moulouya River drains an area characterised by crustal deformation during the Late Cenozoic. As a consequence of crustal shortening, contrasting fluvial environments occur on each side of a thrust zone: stacked terraces build up >37 m-thick aggradational deposits in the footwall, while a terrace staircase complex composed of at least three distinct levels form the hanging wall system. SEM analyses revealed a high contribution of fluvially transported mineral grains besides a minor contribution of aeolian input which gives information about the sediment history. ESR dating yielded ages of Early Pleistocene times.

This study provides first insights into the palaeoenvironment around the Ifri n’Ammar rock shelter during the Quaternary. By presenting the first numerical ages of fluvial records in this region, this project is a major contribution to unravelling the landscape evolution in the time of human occupation and even beyond.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 13/06/2016, 15:30 h – 16:15 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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The Wadi Sabra – a contextual approach to the Palaeolithic landscape

Parow-Souchon_Ansab_BlogThe close comparison of four sites in the Wadi Sabra area in Southern Jordan reveals surprisingly different adaptations in terms of lithic production and land use. A general increase in technological complexity with a growing focus on the production of composite tool forms go hand in hand with fluctuating mobility and differing resource exploitation in relation to changing climatic conditions. A short overview about the cultural development of the human groups inhabiting this favourable environmental niche shall be given to reflect the current state of the PhD research project.

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Hanna Parow-Souchon, PhD Candidate in B1.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 13/06/2016, 14:45 h – 15:30 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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Applying Multivariate Methods to Archaelogical Data (using R)

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Instructor: Dr. Georg Roth (Ur- und Frühgeschichte, University of Cologne)

The workshop focuses on explorative and inferential multivariate methods suited specifically for archaeological data sets. Methods are discussed with special reference to archaeological research questions, i.e. what insight is sought for and which method can support this approach.

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Starting with the classic archaeological method CA its fields of application are reviewed with a focus on its limitations and an alternative solution for archaeological data, transformation based PCA (tbPCA), is introduced. First day ends with including explanatory information into ordinations i.e. canonical ordinations (CCA, tbRDA).

Besides (explorative) ordination finding reliable groupings is an important field of multivariate analysis. Starting with a special emphasis on choosing suitable distance measures traditional cluster approaches are discussed and enhanced by building reliable groupings based on internal validity criteria. The workshop closes with perspectives on multivariate methods for more specific purposes.

During afternoon intermissions individual mentoring is possible. Participation requires base knowledge of data handling in R. Participants are kindly asked to refresh their skills in advance. A small list of free media is provided in advance.

Workshop Schedule Day 1, Friday

10.00-12.00h Introduction: Why m-var stats anyway?

Repetition getting data into R, multivariate stats packages, CA – myths of CA and seriation.

12.00-13.00h Lunchbreak

13.00-15.00h Comparing CA with tbPCA; new alternative ordinations for archaeological data sets.

15.00-16.00h Didactic break (individual mentoring)

16.00-18.00h Testing interpretations in ordination (constrained analysis); how to connect cause and effect for multivariate data. 

Workshop Schedule Day 2, Friday

10.00-12.00h Distance based methods with focus on clustering; how to measure differences for different kinds of data.

12.00-13.00h Lunchbreak

13.00-15.00h Finding reliable groups with cluster validity criteria; how to define objective groups. 

15.00-16.00h Didactic break (individual mentoring).

16.00-18.00h Perspectives on multivariate solutions for specific research questions.

Media:
Borcard et al. 2011: D. Borcard/Fr. Gillet/P. Legendre, Numerical ecology with R (New York 2011).
Legendre/Legendre 2012: P. Legendre/L. Legendre, Numerical ecology. Developments in environmental modelling 24 (Amsterdam 2012 3rd).

[a small collection of additional introductory media is provided in advance].

Event Information:

Date, Time: 03/06/2016, 10:00 h – 18:00 h
& 10/06/2016 10.00 – 18.00 h

Location: Room 1.90 Bernhard Feilchenfeld Str. 11, Bernhard Feilchenfeld Str. 11, Cologne

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Site Catchment Analysis and Ecological Niche Modelling as tools for understanding human behaviour in the Iberian Peninsula during the Upper Palaeolithic

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María de Andrés-Herrero is a PhD student in the C1 project working on Upper Paleolithic settlement history of the Iberian Peninsula. In her PhD she focuses on the site catchment analysis (SCA) of Solutrean and Magdalenian sites in Iberia, with specific attention to the lithic raw materials procurement and hunting strategies of human groups.

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Maria Andres de Herrero

Maria Andrés de Herrero, Project C1

SCA and Least Cost Paths (LCP) in combination with GIS are used to reconstruct general environmental conditions within catchments of archaeological sites in diverse geographical zones. Raw material procurement patterns of sites are compared to the extension and topographic characteristics of the catchment area. Distances, directions, raw material quality and quantity are evaluated. Quantitative data of faunal assemblages of sites and reconstructed faunal composition of their catchment areas are also evaluated by the means of Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM). The combination of both parameters allows new insight in human mobility and patterns of land use in the Iberian Peninsula during the Upper Palaeolithic. This talk will present the possible correlations between the accessibility of raw material outcrops and the density and types of raw materials in archaeological sites to understand the criteria used by hunter-gatherer groups to select the raw materials, as well as the methodology used for developing an ENM.

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A comparison of rock art site distribution in the North and South of Iberia during the Solutrean and Magdalenian

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Viviane Bolin is a PhD student in the C1 project working on Upper Paleolithic settlement history of the Iberian Peninsula.

The settlement history of the Iberian Peninsula during the Upper Palaeolithic was influenced by diverse geographic and climatic conditions. An increase of site density from the early to the late Upper Palaeolithic can be observed – with a higher concentration of sites in the northern regions and in coastal areas of the Peninsula, while the interior and the southern areas were sparsely populated. Only the Solutrean period displays a similar number of human settlement sites in the North and South, as well as an increase of sites in the interior of the Iberian Peninsula (Schmidt et al. 2012).

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Viviane Bolin, Project C1

Viviane Bolin, Project C1

According to literature, a comparable pattern is visible for the distribution of rock art sites. During most of the Upper Palaeolithic periods mainly the northern and coastal areas show a greater artistic expression than the South or the interior of the Iberian Peninsula – with one exception during the Solutrean when an explosion of rock art sites can also be observed in the southern and interior regions (Bicho et al. 2007).

Does a correlation between demographic and artistic expansion exist? To answer this question, a diachronic and spatial analysis of rock art and occupation sites during the Solutrean and Magdalenian in different regions of Iberia will be carried out. Mapping and interpolation of the data with Kernel Density Estimation could reveal changes in site distribution and frequency. This spatio-temporal multivariate approach furthermore provides estimates of relative population densities and reconstructs land-use patterns (Grove 2011).

The objective of this analysis is to determine demographic and artistic centres of human settlements and show the diffusion and mobility of the hunter-gatherer groups during the later periods of the Upper Palaeolithic. Thus, a cross check between different time periods (Solutrean and Magdalenian), different regions of Iberian Peninsula (North and South) and spatial (settlement) and cultural data (art) is possible.

Date, Time: 30/05/2016, 14:00 h – 14:45 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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The Epipalaeolithic occupation of the Eastern Sahara – Aspects of a Colonisation Process

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Jan Kuper is a PhD student in project A2 “Late Quaternary High-Resolution Climate Archives in the Sahara” of the CRC 806 “Our Way to Europe”, University of Cologne (Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology). In his PhD project, he focusses on the Epipalaeolithic occupation of the Eastern Sahara.

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This postglacial reoccupation is a convenient case study to examine a migration process of colonising hunter-gatherers at relatively high temporal resolution. A key advantage of this dispersal is the fact that this population movement cannot be disputed as the desert had been uninhabitable due to hyperaridity during the Late Pleistocene for tens of millennia. Besides generic questions of origin and time, the PhD project aims at investigating why and how people spread to new and unfamiliar tracts of land.

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Jan Kuper, Project A2

Tackling these questions might not only illuminate the prehistory of the Eastern Sahara, but also help to better understand general mechanisms of migration, in particular the colonisation of uninhabited landscapes.

Necessary archaeological and environmental information for this investigation derive from both, primary data (lithic analyses of crucial sites and palaeoclimate results obtained in project A2) and a review of relevant literature. This talk will present an initial attempt to integrate these diverse data into a tentative model for the early Holocene colonisation of the Eastern Sahara.

Date, Time: 30/05/2016, 14:00 h – 14:45 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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10th Martin Schwarzbach Colloquium

SCHEDULE

15.00 – 15.10h:        Ansgar Büschges
(Dean of Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Cologne)

Words of Welcome in Honour of Martin Schwarzbach

15.10 – 15.30h:        Bettina Adenauer-Bieberstein
(Honorary Consul of Iceland in Cologne)

“Martin Schwarzbach and his special relation to Iceland”

15.30 – 16.30h:        Rick Potts

Potts“The Environmental Dynamics of Human Evolution” 

East Africa is the source of much information about the evolution of early human ancestors. A synthesis of East African environmental data suggests that significant events in human origins typically developed during lengthy eras of strong climate fluctuation. Analysis of Earth’s orbital dynamics offers a model of alternating high and low climate variability over the past 5 million years.

This high/low variability model shows that fluctuations between arid and moist climate were important in the evolution of key human adaptations. The origin of the major early human lineages, critical transitions in stone technology, and the main geographic milestones in human origins all appear to coincide with prolonged intervals of intense climate variability. Climate dynamics and resource uncertainty likely shaped the adaptive versatility of our species, expressed by the expansion of mobile technologies, symbolic behavior, social networks, and behavioral diversity. Long climate sequences obtained by drilling in the East African Rift Valley, including near the site of Olorgesailie, Kenya, will test these ideas about the significance of adaptability in the origin of our species.

16.30 – 16.45h: Coffee Break

16.45 – 17.45h:        Mark Maslin

Mark Maslin“The Cradle of Humanity: How the changing landscape of Africa made us smart”

Current evidence suggests that all of the major events in hominin evolution have occurred in East Africa. Over the last two decades, there has been intensive work undertaken to understand African palaeoclimate and tectonics in order to put together a coherent picture of how the environment of East Africa has varied in the past. The landscape of East Africa has altered dramatically over the last 10 million years. It has changed from a relatively flat, homogenous region covered with mixed tropical forest, to a varied and heterogeneous environment, with mountains over 4 km high and vegetation ranging from desert to cloud forest.

The progressive rifting of East Africa has also generated numerous lake basins, which are highly sensitive to changes in the local precipitation-evaporation regime. There is now evidence that the rapid oscillation between the presence and absence of deep-water lakes in East Africa were concurrent with major events in hominin evolution. It seems the unusual geology and climate of East Africa created periods of highly variable local climate, which, it has been suggested could have driven hominin speciation, brain expansion and dispersal out of Africa. One example is the significant hominin speciation and brain expansion event at ~1.8 million years ago that seems to have been coeval with the occurrence of highly variable, extensive, deep-water lakes. This complex, climatically very variable setting inspired the pulsed climate variability hypothesis that suggests the long-term drying trend in East Africa was punctuated by episodes of short, alternating periods of extreme humidity and aridity. The fundamental question, however, remains how much did variations in the landscape versus social factors influence the 80% expansion of brain capacity and the dispersal out of Africa at 1.8 million years ago.

17.45h:         Get Together (incl. Snacks & Drinks)

If you are interested in attending, please reserve a seat using our online booking system or send an email to the IRTG Office till April 18, 2016.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 29/04/2016, 15:00 h – 19:00 h

Location: Geo-/Bio-Hörsaal, Zülpicher Str. 49a, Cologne

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Geochronological investigation of loess-paleosol sequences in southeastern Europe

banner_bösken_2016Janina Bösken is a PhD-student working within the B project, which deals with the so called eastern trajectory of early modern human migration to Europe.

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Janina Bösken, Project B1

The B1 team from Aachen investigates the paleoenvironmental conditions during this migration and Janina’s focus lies on luminescence dating. She investigates mainly loess-paleosol sequences, but also fluvial sands within an archeological excavation are part of her research. Also, the analysis and visualization with GIS is an important aspect of her PhD.

In this presentation she will elaborate the investigation of the B1 team in Hungary, Serbia and Romania and she will show how geochronology contributes to this. Furthermore, several profiles and their timing will be shown and the challenges and implications will be explained. Finally, some examples of the GIS analysis will be presented.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 02/05/2016, 14:00 h – 14:45 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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Reconstructing Environmental Conditions of the Last Glacial in the Northern Harz Foreland

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Several types of archives are used for reconstructing paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic conditions during the quaternary. Loess-paleosol-sequences often represent the best accessible archive in terrestrial environments. The accumulation of loess is linked to cold environments whereas soil formation on loess occurs during warmer and moister periods.

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Repeating changes of climatic and environmental conditions result in accumulation and development of loess-paleosol-sequenes. Two loess-paleosol sections in the northern Harz foreland have been investigated within the second phase of the “Collaborative Research Centre 806 (CRC806) – Our Way to Europe

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Lydia Krauß, Project D1

– Culture-Environment Interaction and Human Mobility in the Late Quaternary”. We are aiming towards a better understanding of the paleoenvironmental conditions during the Weichselian in an area close to the Scandinavian ice sheet. To achieve that, a multi-proxy approach is applied. During June 2014 the two profiles Hecklingen and Zilly were cleaned, documented and sampled for sedimentological analyses. Samples were continuously taken in a high resolution of 5 cm for multi-elemental (XRF), CaCO3 content, environmental magnetism, color and grain size distribution measurements.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 02/05/2016, 14:45 h – 15:30 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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