This project explores the relationship between climate change and human behaviour. During the harshest conditions of the last ice age European human populations abandoned northern latitudes, with their range contracting to southern regions. By the time ice sheets retreated and large areas of land became available for resettlement there had been a hiatus of at least 7000 years. This project examines the recolonisation of these Northern regions which took place during a period of rapid climate change, the last major global warming event on earth. As people move eastwards and northwards increasing diversification is seen in their stone and bone tool industries which indicate human development. This project examines whether climate a) drove the human dispersal and development, b) played a more indirect role, or c) was of little significance to humans at this time. State-of-the-art scientific techniques (radiocarbon dating, DNA, stable isotope, clumped isotope and charcoal ring width analyses) will be used to create integrated chronological, palaeoclimatic and palaeoecological frameworks that are directly linked to the Late and Final Palaeolithic archaeological record. Temporal and spatial trends in climate change, prey abundance and behaviour, and technological development will be compared and considered in light of regional and global climate trends and archaeological evidence for hunting strategies, human mobility and landscape use. Such data will provide an insight into the conditions Palaeolithic people experienced and how this influenced their perceptions of the landscape they inhabited and the decisions they made.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeERC-CG - ERC Consolidator Grants