Our species evolutionary success story is intriguing. For over a century, we have been trying to formulate a narrative for the evolutionary and migration steps our ancestors took and made us who we are today. Several decades ago, our narrative for our lineage’s dispersals from our place of origin, Africa, across the globe, was based on two separate big waves: one with Homo erectus at ca. 1 million years ago and the second with modern humans 60-50 thousand years ago. However, recent archaeological, paleoanthropological, and genetic evidence has forced us to alter this narrative to one which favors more dynamic geographic movements of hominins over several millions of years. Yet, although we seem to have now framed the overall picture of our narrative, its details remain mostly blurred leaving many chapters unfinished and their events highly debated, particularly those related to the number and timing of the dispersal events, the specific hominin taxa involved in each, and the effects of factors like technology, climate, and interactions among hominin populations, in shaping these events.
As the bridge that connects Africa to the rest of the world, the Levant is an ideal place to look for answers. At its heart is Lebanon, a small country exceptionally rich in Paleolithic archaeological material reminiscent of a dense hominin occupation spanning the entirety of this period. Yet, Lebanon’s rich Paleolithic record remains undiscovered and its potential is mostly forgotten since Paleolithic archaeological exploration in the country was forcefully stopped in its early infancy by the outbreak of the civil war (1975). REVIVE, a highly ambitious, groundbreaking project, will form the first ever large-scale and systematic archaeological/paleoanthropological project to be conducted on Lebanon’s Paleolithic. It will, finally after 45 years, revive Paleolithic research in the country and use its wealthy record to start filling in the gaps in our ancestors’ dispersals narrative.
Call for proposal
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