The Levant is a key area to study past human dynamics: due to its strategic position, connecting Africa to Europe and Asia, it has been the main route of the most ancient dispersals of modern humans out of Africa and a privileged environment for Neanderthal occupation. This project is focused on improving the chronology of Middle Palaeolithic sites in Israel using a comparative approach based on independent dating methods such as electron spin resonance of tooth enamel, thermoluminescence of burnt flint and luminescence of sediments. Their application requires in-depth knowledge of the preservation state of the sample and its macro- and micro-sedimentary contexts, which might affect the accuracy and the resolution of the chronological data. This comparative approach will take into account the impact of diagenetic processes on both dateable materials and sedimentary context. Characterisation methods (e.g. Fourier transform infrared and Raman spectroscopy) will be applied prior to dating in order to assess the degree of alteration and evaluate its effect on age determinations. The DIACHRON project will be hosted in one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research institutions, the Weizmann Institute of Science. It will be implemented at the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science, which has been home to the development of sample and context characterisation. The chronological aspect of the project will benefit from the collaboration with the partner institution, the Geological Survey of Israel, which is internationally recognised in luminescence dating. Open access publications, participation to conferences and science outreach activities will be the core of the dissemination strategy. The training provided will integrate the researcher in the field of material characterisation and would contribute to developing a unique interdisciplinary profile combining the knowledge of several dating methods, with clear benefits for the career development of the fellow.
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