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NEMO-ADAP Report Summary

Project ID: 322261
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - NEMO-ADAP (Neanderthal and Modern Human Adaptations in Eastern Europe)

The NEMO-ADAP project investigated modern human dispersal into Eurasia and the subsequent replacement of Neanderthals, two key events in the population history of Europe, as well as the climatic conditions of modern human and Neanderthal occupation in eastern Europe. When the NEMO-ADAP project was started, there was an urgent need for new, high quality datasets as much of the debates at this time dealt with biased data from old excavations. To change this and to contribute to a better understanding of Neanderthal and modern human behaviours and adaptations the Fellow excavated and analysed seven sites in several case-study regions in eastern Europe. Results include the generation of seven datasets (for seven sites) containing information about human and Neanderthal behaviours, new age estimations and environmental context of Neanderthal and modern human settlement of Eastern Europe. Results highlighted here include (1) pushing back in time the first appearance of the Upper Palaeolithic (and modern humans) in Eastern Europe by at least 2000 years, (2) the study of the genetic relationships of one of the first modern humans in Europe and implications for the population history of Europe (Science vol. 346, 2014), and (3) evidence for both Neanderthal and modern human occupation of the Eastern European plain during cold and arid conditions. The project also provided data for a greater antiquity of Neanderthal settlement on the western part of the east European Plain, i.e. pushing back the first appearance of Neanderthals in this part of Europe by approx. 60,000 years. The main conclusions of the project are that (i) modern humans entered eastern Europe at least 47,000 years ago during cold climatic conditions and occupied a cold steppe-like landscape, (ii) Neanderthals settled in eastern Europe from the late Middle Pleistocene onwards under mostly cold and arid conditions, and (iii) no evidence of extended chronological overlap of Neanderthal and modern human occupations on the East European Plain.
Key parts of the project were two workshops organized by the Fellow. Workshop 1 was entitled ‘New research on the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic of the Middle Dniestr, Ukraine’ and held on 23 March 2015 in the Museum of Archaeology in Kiev. The workshop brought together researchers from Ukraine with project members from the EU and facilitated scientific exchange and network building. The second workshop (‘EUP Landscapes Workshop’) was organized in Cambridge between 15 and 17 March 2015. It served as a platform for exchange between senior scientists, early career researchers and graduate students from various European countries as well as the US.
Project results have been disseminated in the scientific community through publications – including one paper in Science and one in Current Biology - and conference presentations as well as through the organization of two workshops. Dissemination to the wider public was achieved through a project webpage (, popular science publications, media coverage and exhibitions in the Kiev Archaeology Museum. These dissemination activities further allowed the Fellow to actively promote European science and excellence as well as the Marie Curie Program.
The NEMO-ADAP project facilitated the Fellow’s career development through enabling of first-class scientific research and experience in leading a research team. Also, the project provided networking opportunities in the scientific community through conference participation and workshop organization. The project significantly facilitated the Fellow’s integration at the University of Cambridge resulting in a permanent position.

Reported by

United Kingdom


Life Sciences
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