The LiMPH project aims at understanding how mountain environments were exploited by the last European hunter-gatherers at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition (14,000-8500 cal BP), a period marked by important climatic and environmental changes. Through the adoption of different techno-functional methods applied to stone tool assemblages, the project will investigate the lifeways of these hunter-gatherer groups starting from the evidence of the south-eastern Alps – the richest in Europe – and will try to reconstruct the importance of mountain areas in the framework of the socio-economic structure of these human groups. Some key-assemblages will be analysed with an innovative techno-functional approach combining technological and use-wear analyses with confocal scanning microscopy in order to reconstruct the main activities that were carried out at the sites. By cross-referencing these data with those on raw material circulation, faunal exploitation and site distribution, it will be possible to investigate the mobility, settlement system and social structure of the prehistoric groups that colonized such a changing environment after the Last Glacial Maximum. At a general level the proposed research will provide a wider comparative perspective on the exploitation of mountain environments in Europe and will allow to understand which were the most attractive features of the Alpine palaeo-environments that led the last hunter-gatherer groups to intensively settle most of the European mountain ranges during this time span. Results of the project will be made available both to researchers and the general public through several actions including open-access publications and different outreach activities. Results will also contribute to enhance public awareness of the historic value of the Alpine range and to implement the touristic offer of the region.
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