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Testing population hiatuses in the Late Pleistocene of Central Iberia: a geoarchaeological approach


Our project focuses on the Late Pleistocene human settlement of the central area of the Iberian Peninsula. Namely, it deals with the time span between the Late Middle Palaeolithic and the Solutrean (around 60,000 – 20,000 years before present).

For years, it has been assumed that a population hiatus existed in Central Iberia from the Late Middle Palaeolithic to the final stages of the Solutrean. This has been traditionally explained as a consequence of the harsh ecological conditions of the area during the Last Glaciation. However, recent data coming from the South-East foothills of the Iberian Central Range (Northwest of Guadalajara province) have questioned this model.

According to these new data, still scarce and preliminary, we have devised a project aimed to investigate the temporal and geographic extent of the purported Late Pleistocene human hiatus in Central Iberia. We intend to know the nature of this hiatus in terms of human-environment interaction. In order to do that, we propose to conduct new field and laboratory works on three palaeolithic sites located in Northwest Guadalajara. Our methodology will be interdisciplinary, including high-resolution geoarchaeology, lithic technology, and chronometric dating.

Results will be discussed both at the Iberian and European levels. We will investigate if population dynamics in Iberia can be explained in terms of European human mobility in the context of global Late Pleistocene climate change.

The host institution will be the Neanderthal Museum (Germany). Researchers from this institution are currently involved in an interdisciplinary collaborative research project aimed to study human-environment interaction at the European level. Thus, integration of the proposed project within this wider research framework will provide the applicant with an outstanding context for discussing data and proposing new models at a European scale. It will also provide him with an excellent interdisciplinary training.

Call for proposal

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Talstrasse 300
40822 Mettmann
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 161 968,80
Administrative Contact
Gerd-Christian Weniger (Dr.)