What role did climate dynamics play in human evolution, the dispersal of Homo sapiens within and beyond the African continent, and key cultural innovations? Were dry spells, stable humid conditions, or rapid climate fluctuations the main driver of human evolution and migration? In order to evaluate the impact that different timescales and magnitudes of climatic shifts might have had on the living conditions of prehistoric humans, we need reliable and continuous reconstructions of paleoenvironmental conditions and fluctuations from the vicinity of paleoanthropological and archaeological sites. The search for the environmental context of human evolution and mobility crucially depends on the interpretation of paleoclimate archives from outcrop geology, lacustrine and marine sediments. Linking archeological data to paleoenvironmental reconstructions and models becomes increasingly important.
As a contribution towards a better understanding of these human-climate interactions the conveners encourage submission of abstracts on their project’s research on (geo)archaeology, paleoecology, paleoclimate, stratigraphy, and paleoenvironmental reconstructions. We especially welcome contributions offering new methods for dealing with difficult archive conditions and dating challenges. We hope this session will appeal to a broad audience by highlighting the latest research on paleoenvironmental reconstructions in the vicinity of key sites of human evolution, showcasing a wide variety of analytical methods, and encouraging collaboration between different research groups. Conceptual models, modelling results and model-data comparisons are warmly welcomed, as collaborative and interdisciplinary research.
Prof. Dr. Daniel M. Deocampo (Department of Geosciences, Georgia State University, Atlanta) will talk on 'Silicate diagenesis and environmental change in eastern Africa: Examples from key hominin localities'.
Dr. Alice Leplongeon (Institute of Advanced Studies & Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna) will talk about how technological variability, environmental change, and human dispersals may be linked, particularly in the Late Pleistocene in eastern Africa, north-eastern Africa and the Levant.