Neanderthal and sapiens in Italy 50-40 ky BP. A discussion on the ecological and cultural dynamics with a reference to the northern Adriatic rim by Marco Peresani


Date(s) - 27/01/2020
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Hörsaal Geologie (310/EG/030)


by Marco Peresani,
Università di Ferrara, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Sezione di Scienze Preistoriche e Antropologiche, Ferrara, Italy

One of the most investigated topics in palaeoanthropology is the pivotal phase in human evolution represented by the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic in Western Eurasia. When and how early Homo sapiens replaced the native population, Homo neanderthalensis, and the relations between these biological taxa and their respective material cultures are subjects of heated debate. Pieces of this intriguing puzzle have been unveiled in recent years from the cultural complexes known as the final Mousterian, the Uluzzian and the Protoaurignacian, which spread across the central Mediterranean rim from the Italian peninsula to the south of the Balkans (Palma di Cesnola 1989; Moroni et al. 2013). At present, the Uluzzian is the oldest known cultural expression associated with Anatomically Modern Humans (Benazzi et al. 2011) and is currently best known by its stratigraphic position above the final Mousterian in cave sedimentary sequences. This has also been observed in northern Italian caves, which expanded its cultural borders from what was thought to be exclusively southern after the discovery of assemblages at Grotta Fumane (Peresani et al. 2016) and at Riparo Broion (Peresani et al., 2019). This geographical space constrained from the Apennine, the Southern Alps, the Dinarids and the shallow Adriatic reach of MIS3, features high ecological diversity, and is of pivotal importance for influencing the possible human migratory routes and interactions between these biocultural worlds. To contribute to disentangle the story of the first modern human arrivals and the last Neanderthals in this area, we display on a behavioural perspective the possible relations occurred among different human groups by resuming a set of recently achieved evidence on chronology, human ecology and cultural aspects in the effort to evaluate the implications of innovations recorded in the 50-40 ky BP time frame.