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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Combining geochronological and stratigraphic information for Central European loess sections

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Loess-paleosol sequences (LPS) are the most extensively available archives for the reconstruction of paleoenvironmental conditions in Central Europe. A huge amount of sections were published during the past centuries providing information concerning stratigraphy, geochemical, biological or sedimentological proxy data. Luminescence dating was applied to develop a chronological framework which allows for correlations to other archives and large-scale proxy data such oxygen isotopic stages or Greenland ice core data.

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However, it is hardly possible to date short-time climatic oscillations (e.g. Dansgaar-Oeschger cycles) or transitions only at one location due to local specifics concerning accumulation rates and erosive processes. This phenomenon ends in the observation that very often dates from different localities do not match well. Thus, the integrated perspective of stratigraphy and luminescence dating from different localities could improve the chronological knowledge.

In this study, we focused on the transition from the local LGM in the sense of the maximum extent of glaciation and a following ‘terrestrial LGM’ with a maximum of aridity and coldness.

Jörg Zens

Jörg Zens, Project D1

The associated sediment sequence contains the Eltville Tephra. It was never dated directly but the surrounding sediments were dated 87 times at 15 localities with different luminescence techniques yielding ages between 13.5 and 49.6 ka. These ages were quantitatively combined to calculate a reproducible common age and compared to a new date directly from the tephra. Additionally, further luminescence ages were determined from the remaining units of the transitions zone and finally correlated to independent proxy data and chronologies.  As a result, a more reliable chronology and environmental model is presented.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 02/05/2016, 15:30 h – 16:15 h

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

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