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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Beyond out of Africa: the North African Middle Stone Age as a window into human origins

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Dr. Eleanor Scerri British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford

Hypotheses invoking fossil and archaeological data from the North African Middle Stone Age (MSA) include a gradual, multiregional origin of our species within Africa, an intricate history of within and out of Africa dispersals and the demographically induced origins of complex culture (d’Errico et al., 2009; Gunz et al., 2012; Scally and Durbin, 2012; Harvati and Hublin, 2013; Scerri et al., 2014a, 2014b). However, the North African MSA itself remains poorly understood, despite the implications of these hypotheses.

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