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University of Cantabria
Country: Spain
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134 Projects, page 1 of 27
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 818299
    Overall Budget: 2,000,000 EURFunder Contribution: 2,000,000 EUR

    Climate has long been proposed as a possible trigger-factor for the extinction of Neanderthals and the rapid colonization of Europe by Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH). Abrupt and acute oscillations of climate, as recorded from polar ice sheets, are particularly threatening as they can push ecosystems towards catastrophic outcomes. Under these conditions, the survival of a species critically depends on their adaptive skills. Understanding the exact role that these episodes could have had in the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition is then essential to unravel the real causes of Neanderthal demise and AMH success. To do this, SUBSILIENCE will identify the subsistence strategies adopted by both human species in response to those climatic changes at 20 key archaeological sites located across southern European peninsulas. By applying zooarchaeological and taphonomic analyses, the behavioural flexibility and resilience of each human species will be assessed. In addition, to enable effective testing, local terrestrial climatic and environmental conditions will be accurately reconstructed using stable isotopes from animals consumed, producing a unique, continuous and properly-dated general environmental framework, improving existing knowledge. Finally, to further explore the problem, an innovative procedure to estimate prey abundance, ecology and human behaviour, involving the estimation of the ecosystem carrying capacity, will be developed. This multidisciplinary and novel approach will provide, for the first time, accurate answers to questions concerning a) which particular subsistence patterns (if any) favoured AMH over Neanderthals while coping with the changing environment and b) the extent to which climatic oscillations affected Neanderthal extinction. In this, it will be of relevance to the study of Prehistory on a pan-European scale.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 322112
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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 891529
    Overall Budget: 245,732 EURFunder Contribution: 245,732 EUR

    3DFOSSILDIET (Tracing the Ontogenetic Evolution of Diet and Behavior in Neandertals and Anatomically Modern Humans in the Franco-Cantabrian Region. An Integrative study of 3D Tooth Wear Patterns), aims to reconstruct both dietary patterns and biomechanics of the masticatory apparatus during ontogeny (somatic development and growth of an organism throughout its lifetime, from conception to adulthood, a span known as the Life History) in Neandertals and Anatomically Modern Humans in order to trace trophic variation and behavioral complexity, and the following questions will be addressed: 1) How did adult individuals care for sub-adults? 2) How did sub-adults become independent individuals? 3) How were relationships expressed within the groups? 4) Could social patterns reflect our evolutionary success? This project will implement the use of recently developed virtual methods (Dental Microwear Texture Analysis and Dental Topographic Analysis) for the analysis of both micro- and macro- dental wear patterns in both Neandertals and Anatomically Modern Humans as a proxy to infer biomechanics of the mastication (diet) and general use of the mouth (behavior) along the Life History of both human species. 3DFOSSILDIET is interdisciplinary, bringing together expertise in microscopy, bioarchaeology, isotopic analyses, and paleoanthropology through an integrative methodology to document dental wear. The results will address how and if behavioral changes were reflected across the human groups who lived during Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition at the Franco-Cantabrian Region. Furthermore, the advance of the study of dental wear will provide technological framework for the study of surface modifications of both biological and archaeological materials.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 101059605
    Funder Contribution: 181,153 EUR

    The Whalebone project builds upon new advances in the study of past human adaptations to coastal environments, focusing on a key case study: early interactions between Late Upper Palaeolithic foragers and cetaceans at the end of the Last Glaciation in Western Europe. Over the last decade, a growing body of evidence suggests that the exploitation of whales could have been one of the significant factors underlying the development of early coastal economies during the Magdalenian culture, between 18,000 to 15,000 years ago. The recent identification of 54 whale bone artefacts in the Cantabrian region (northern Spain) during the previous postdoctoral research of the PR, to which can be added the 109 previously known Pyrenean examples, revealed the existence of regular and structured communication networks for the long-distance circulation of these marine resources. However, these studies focused only on the Bay of Biscay and it is still unclear whether this phenomenon was a strictly local adaptation or was part of a wider, shared coastal economy connecting different parts of Europe. To test this hypothesis, Whalebone proposes to identify cetacean bone objects outside the Pyreneo-Cantabrian region, focusing on the Spanish coasts. As many Magdalenian sites are close to the paleo-shorelines that yielded rich osseous industries, the Mediterranean coast is a particularly crucial area of investigation. Direct (dolphin bones) and indirect (whale barnacles) evidence for the exploitation of cetaceans in its southern part confirms the early interest and management of marine mammals. A multi-proxy approach beyond traditional zooarchaeology, including the first use of an innovative ancient proteomic technology (ZooMS), together with a minimally invasive dating program of cetacean bone objects, will be undertaken by Whalebone in order to address long-standing questions about long-term forager mobility patterns, regional interactions and coastal adaptations on a European scale.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 656122
    Overall Budget: 158,122 EURFunder Contribution: 158,122 EUR

    CLIMPROX uses a ground breaking multi-proxy methodology integrating isotopic analysis of ungulates and archaeozooological reappraisal with a additional climatic proxies (pollen, sediments, anthracology, and microfauna) to understand human responses to palaeoenvironmental change over 21 to 7 uncal. ka BP, a crucial period in human evolution. CLIMAPROX explores the role of the environment and climate in the migration of people into the refugia of the Cantabrian region, the flourishing of Upper Palaeolithic societies, and in the subsequent dietary diversification at the end of the Last Glacial period that lay the foundation for the origins of farming in Europe. The multiple scientific datasets, regional and temporal scale of the analysis make CLIMAPROX highly innovative, acting as a case method for future research investigating human-environment interactions across the globe. This project will therefore have a high scientific impact not only in Iberian archaeology, but within the field of European Palaeolithic research, and bioarchaeological, contributing to pertinent discourse into human-environment interactions.

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