The role of culture in early expansions of humans
Starting some 2 million years ago, the Homo genus spread from Africa to Asia and Europe in a series of migration waves. Just like any other organism, the australopithecines and early hominids were restricted in their choice of habitat by natural conditions, but cultural achievements accomplished in the course of evolution enabled our early ancestors to adapt to their environment. The aim of the project is to reconstruct (a) the spatio-temporal and phylogenetic expansions of the various hominins, (b) the extension of the ecological environment and (c) the enhancement of cultural capacities in the period between 3 million and 20,000 years ago and also to cast light on the causal relations between these developments. Particular emphasis is placed on the progress of human abilities towards cultural activity, the background(s) against which this took place and the different ways in which it materialised. Archaeological excavations in Africa, Asia and Europe provide important information on this point.
In the ROAD database, geographical data on discovery locations are collated with stratigraphic details on archaeological strata and other relevant information. For the modelling of earlier habitats, information is also collected on human fossil history, climate, vegetation and wildlife. The results are worked into a digital Humankind/ Environment/Development atlas on the basis of Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
„The role of culture in early expansions of humans“ is an interdisciplinary research project operating at the interface between cultural studies and the natural sciences. The two units at the Senckenberg Research Institute and the University of Tübingen have an equal part in the work involved, which benefi ts greatly from its high degree of international connectivity.
Chair of the Commission
Prof. Dr.-Ing. E.h., Ph.D. Hermann H. Hahn
Heads of the Research Unit
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Volker Mosbrugger (managing director)
Prof. Nicholas Conard PhD
Prof. Dr. Friedemann Schrenk
Prof. Dr. Volker Hochschild
PD Dr. Miriam Haidle (Institut Senckenberg)
Julia Heß (administrative Coordinator)
Team at the Senckenberg Research Institute
Dr. Angela Bruch
Dr. Christine Hertler
Yul Altolaguirre, M.A.
Senckenberg Research Institute
phone: 069 / 75 42 0
fax: 069 / 75 42 – 15 58
Team at the University of Tübingen
Prof. Dr. Michael Bolus
Dr. Andrew Kandel
Dr. Michael Märker
Christian Sommer, M.Sc.
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
phone: 07071 / 2 97 24 16
fax: 07071 / 29 57 14