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Raw material provisioning and mobility patterns throughout the Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic Transition in NW Tuscany

Project description

A new understanding of Middle and early Upper Palaeolithic human behaviour in Tuscany

The Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Europe refers to the period covering the last millennia of Neanderthal presence in the fossil record, alongside the appearance of anatomically modern human populations – a widely discussed topic in palaeoanthropology and archaeology. With a focus on north-western Tuscany, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions MobiliTy project will explore the use of lithic resources in the area, as sites indicate a different raw material provisioning between the two human species, but raw material identification is still preliminary. Project work will elucidate differences of land-use patterns and reconstruct mobility patterns in north-western Tuscany through technological analysis of the artefacts and the definition of raw material circulation.


MobiliTy investigates Middle and early Upper Palaeolithic human organisation to exploit the landscape resources in NW Tuscany. Hunter-gatherers’ (HGs) mobility patterns are understood to be in a spectrum between residential and logistical mobility. HGs have shown to have site-furniture, personal and situational gear, with different levels of manufacture and maintenance curation. Around 40 ka cal BP a technological and human species’ shift occurred in Europe, referred as the Middle-Upper Palaeolithic Transition. The northern Tyrrhenian region is one of the few European areas that yielded a cluster of last Neanderthal sites and the presence of early H. sapiens. It is a required passage between southern France and the rest of the Italian Peninsula, and the further investigation of this area could shed light on the colonisation process of H. sapiens and its relationship with the demise of H. neanderthalensis. The sites in NW Tuscany are showing a different raw material provisioning, in particular early H. sapiens introduced the exotic Scaglia Marchigiana chert, showing a long-extended network that spans from NW Italy until the central eastern Apennines. The action is an interdisciplinary endeavour to better understand differences of land-use patterns and reconstructing mobility patterns in the NW Tuscany across the Middle-Upper Transition period, through the technological analysis of the artefacts and the definition of raw material circulation.


Net EU contribution
€ 172 750,08
56126 Pisa

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Centro (IT) Toscana Pisa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data