14th Martin-Schwarzbach-Colloquium

Dear all,

we are pleased to announce the 14th annual Martin Schwarzbach colloquium. We would like to warmly invite you to participate in this exciting meeting taking place on May, 28th. This year our colloquium focuses on recent advances in human evolution. We are especially pleased that Prof. Dr. Katerina Harvati (Eberhard-Karls-University of Tübingen, Germany) and Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie (Curator of Physical Anthropology, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, US), two outstandig researchers, will present their latest research results to us this year. Furthermore, this year’s colloquium will be held online via Zoom due to corona restrictions. Please find a link to register and request an invitation link further below.

Prof. Dr. Harvati is a paleoanthropologist specializing in Neanderthal evolution, modern human origins and the application of 3-D geometric morphometric and virtual anthropology methods to paleoanthropology. Her research was named one of the top 10 scientific discoveries of the year 2007 by TIME magazine for demonstrating the African origin of all modern humans.

Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie is one of the world’s foremost experts in paleoanthropology and is one of the “Nature 10” listed scientists of 2019. His continued contributions to this scientific discipline are helping to reshape understanding of humanity’s ancient family tree and change conventional thinking about human evolution.


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12th Martin-Schwarzbach-Colloquium

The Centre for Quaternary Science and Geoarchaeology (QSGA) is pleased to announce its twelfth annual colloquium in honour of Martin Schwarzbach.
This year, our meeting focuses on human dispersal and paleoclimate at the crossroad on the Levant.
We are especially pleased that Thomas Litt (University of Bonn) and Michael Petraglia (Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History) have accepted our invitation to Cologne.

We would like to extend a very cordial invitation to this exciting meeting!

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15.00 – 15.15h:        Words of welcome

15.15 – 15.30h:        Jürgen Richter

Welcome of QSGA-Visiting-Professor Prof. Dr. Maysoon Al Nahar

15.30 – 16.30h:   Thomas Litt

“The Southern Levant: Corridor or Barrier During the Dispersal of Modern Humans”

.16.30 – 16.45h:        Coffee Break

16.45 – 17.45h:   Michael Petraglia

“Palaeoenvironmental Change and Human Occupation History at the Cross-roads of Continents

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, 2018.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 27/04/2018, 15:00 h – 18:00 h

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

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11. Martin-Schwarzbach-Kolloquium

Zum elften Mal richtet das Zentrum für Quartärforschung und Geoarchäologie (QSGA) das jährliche Kolloquium zu Ehren von Martin Schwarzbach aus. Dieses Jahr werden aktuelle Forschungsthemen des QSGA präsentiert. Einen weiteren Schwerpunkt bildet die neue Wanderausstellung „2 Millionen Jahre Migration“, die ab dem 13.05.2017 im Neanderthal Museum zu sehen ist. 

Wir freuen uns, Thomas Litt (Universität Bonn), Gerd-Christian Weniger (Neanderthal Museum, Mettmann) sowie Michael Staubwasser, Olaf Bubenzer, Karin Kindermann und Jürgen Richter (Universität zu Köln) als Vortragende begrüßen zu dürfen.

Zu diesem Kolloquium laden wir Sie herzlich ein!

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15:00 – 15:15 Begrüßung

15:15 – 15:30 Thomas Litt
Van-See: 600.000 Jahre Klimageschichte der Türkei

15:30 – 15:45 Michael Staubwasser 
Der Einfluss von Klimaereignissen beim Übergang des Neandertalers zum modernen Menschen in Europa

15:45 – 16:00 Olaf Bubenzer und Karin Kindermann
Die Ostwüste Ägyptens: Station des modernen Menschen auf dem Weg nach Europa?

16:00 – 16:15 Kaffeepause

16:15 – 16:30 Jürgen Richter
Prähistorische Migrationen: Der Weg der Menschen von Afrika in die Mitte Europas

16:30 – 17:00 Gerd-Christian Weniger
Einblicke in die neue Wanderausstellung „2 Millionen Jahre Migration”

ab 17:00 Verabschiedung mit Umtrunk und Snacks


Um Anmeldung bis zum 14.04.2017 wird gebeten: per Email an Andrea Miebach (irtg@sfb806.de) oder per Online Booking.


Veranstaltungszeit: 28/04/2017, 15:00 h – 18:00 h

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

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10th Martin Schwarzbach Colloquium


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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9th Martin Schwarzbach Colloquium

schwarzbachbannerThe Centre for Quaternary Science and Geoarchaeology (QSGA) is pleased to announce its ninth annual colloquium in honour of Martin Schwarzbach. This year, our meeting focuses on the interaction between palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment and hominin evolution and mobility.
We are especially pleased that Matt Grove from the University of Liverpool and John Kingston from the University of Michigan have accepted our invitation to Cologne. Continue reading