Skip to main content

Our first steps to Europe: Pleistocene Homo sapiens dispersals, adaptations and interactions in South-East Europe

Objective

Despite recent discoveries in human evolution, the origin of our species, Homo sapiens, and the process through which it expanded and became established around the globe remain murky. Increasingly, it is viewed as a dynamic process of population expansions and contact among human lineages, occurring in concert with the Pleistocene climatic oscillations, which influence the probability of human survival as well as the availability of land bridges enabling expansions. Dispersals and population contact, therefore, may have been the norm in human evolution and may have played a greater role in shaping our species than previously recognised. In such a model, South-East Europe emerges as a likely area of sustained and / or repeated contact, making this region critical for testing hypotheses about European deep prehistory. Despite this crucial role, however, paleoanthropological research there remains in its infancy, with little existing data and no overarching interpretive framework. FIRSTSTEPS aims to fill this research gap by applying inter-disciplinary cutting edge investigation to recover new and connect existing evidence across sites, periods and regions. Key sites / finds from South-East Europe (Greece, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Croatia, Romania) and Italy — whose better documented record has yet to be connected to its counterparts to the East and will provide a crucial comparative perspective — will be included. In-depth analysis of important fossil / cultural assemblages from specific chrono-cultural periods ca. 200-30 ka, will be conducted to identify patterns of biological and cultural variation. In parallel, regional and supra-regional perspectives will be constructed beyond individual sites /countries. By addressing this crucial research gap FIRSTSTEPS will take paleoanthropological research in this important region to the next level and squarely place it on the paleolithic map of Europe.

Call for proposal

ERC-2020-ADG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-ADG - Advanced Grant

Host institution

EBERHARD KARLS UNIVERSITAET TUEBINGEN
Address
Geschwister-scholl-platz
72074 Tuebingen
Germany
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 583 562

Beneficiaries (2)

EBERHARD KARLS UNIVERSITAET TUEBINGEN
Germany
EU contribution
€ 2 583 562
Address
Geschwister-scholl-platz
72074 Tuebingen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - UNIVERSITA DI BOLOGNA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 722 500
Address
Via Zamboni 33
40126 Bologna
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments