Log in

Log in

Project B1

The „Eastern Trajectory“: Last Glacial Palaeogeography and Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean and of the Balkan Peninsula

Principal Investigators: J. Richter, F. Lehmkuhl

Project B1 investigates a possible "Eastern Trajectory" of Homo sapiens migrations into Europe. This route bridges the region with the earliest fossils of Homo sapiens so far known in the Near East over Anatolia, the Balkans and the Northwestern Pontic Sea. The main focus lies on clarifying of both the archaeology and the environmental/ecological conditions of last glacial population dynamics, particularly population movements. The means chosen to approach this are archaeological surveys and excavations accompanied by small to medium scale geoscientific reconstructions of landscapes.

Fieldwork performed in selected key areas in Jordan (Wadi Sabra/Petra), the Carpathian Basin, Albania, and the Lower Danube region has helped us to better understand the archaeological signal, the palaeoenvironments, and the palaeoclimatic evolution of the last ca. 50 ka in south-eastern Europe. In the third CRC806 phase, field work will be limited to the completion of these ongoing investigations. While there is little doubt about the African origin of Homo sapiens, there is only scattered knowledge about the exact timing, dispersal routes and environmental conditions of their earliest occurrence in Europe. Until today, it is still unknown which industries best indicate the presence of the earliest groups of Homo sapiens in Eurasia and what subsistence strategies were used at different stages and locations. Furthermore, though Homo sapiens crossed specific climatic and environmental zones on their way into Europe, how this is reflected in the material culture is largely unexplored. The project B1 team aims to fill these gaps based on a combination of archaeological, geoarchaeological, sedimentological, and geomorphological studies. Several key locations along different ecozones and environments of the potential "Eastern Trajectory" towards Central Europe will be studied in detail. Working areas of the third and last phase of the project have been selected according to the first appearance of Homo sapiens attested by human fossils outside of Africa and in Europe.

Starting around 190 ka before present in Africa, the dispersal of Homo sapiens seems to have been interrupted in the Near East (Levant) at least once. The first occurrence of Homo sapiens in the Levant is indicated at about 100 ka BP by fossil finds, but unaccompanied by major changes in the Middle Palaeolithic material culture. A recent type of Homo sapiens then appears as late as 46–35 ka BP, and is only then associated with a genuine Near Eastern Upper Palaeolithic material culture (the Ahmarian, dated to after 38 ka BP). Until today, both the circumstances for this break and a possible interference with already established western Eurasian Neanderthal populations are open questions.

The oldest unequivocal Homo sapiens fossils in Western and Central Europe found in an archaeological context were dated to around 31 ka BP. However, isolated Homo sapiens fossils were found in Romania dating significantly older, to approximately 35 ka BP. It follows that neither the human type of the earliest Upper Palaeolithic nor the kind of lithic industry associated to the earliest Homo sapiens in Europe are known. This lack of information about the archaeology of the first European Homo sapiens not only brings up the question about their cultural background, but at the same time hampers archaeological links between the Levantine and European early Upper Palaeolithic industries. Furthermore, it is still not clear whether these earliest anatomically modern groups were the founders of the European Upper Palaeolithic population, or if later Upper Palaeolithic waves of immigrating Homo sapiens replaced them. To answer these questions, the project investigates the possible role of principal large rivers in the migration of Palaeolithic populations along the Jordan Rift Valley, the Timiş River catchment in the Banat, the Lower Danube as well as the Prut and Dnestr valleys.

In these working areas the project team concentrates on combining archaeological and geoscientific investigations of Pleistocene archives in order to:

  1. develop a detailed regional chronostratigraphy by dating sediments (aeolian, fluvial, limnic) and archaeological sites
  2. geomorphologically map the catchment areas surrounding archaeological locales for a better understanding palaeoenvironments and process response systems, and
  3. investigate high-resolution proxy records to increase our understanding of the palaeoclimatic conditions

The work in Jordan will focus on two early Upper Palaeolithic sites and their sedimentological context within a tributary wadi (Wadi Sabra) of the Jordan Rift Valley, which is part of the "Levantine Corridor" for the expansion of Homo sapiens. In Romania, excavations of early Upper Palaeolithic sites in the Carpathian Basin are supported by geoarchaeological investigations in a region with extensive loess and loess-like sediment-covers in the Danube Valley, an assumed pathway of Homo sapiens towards Western Europe.

 

1st Phase - Research Programme
  2nd Phase - Research Programme
806 B1 Poster small   806 B1 Poster 2013 small 
view Poster   view Poster

 

2nd Phase - Poster presented at international Congresses & Workshops
   3rd Phase - Recent Results & Research Programme
806 B1 Poster Albania 2013 small   806 B1 Poster 2017 200px
view Poster    view Poster

Geophysics and handaxes in Northern Jordan

Geophysics and handaxes in Northern Jordan

Spring of 2011 saw scientists from project B1 (F. Lehmkuhl, J. Richter, R. Löhrer, J. Protze) visiting northern Jordan to survey t...

Banat open-air sites with Early Upper Palaeolithic...

Banat open-air sites with Early Upper Palaeolithic stone artefacts

This year’s fieldwork in Romania (April - May) followed a twofold strategy: the analysis of Upper Palaeolithic stone artefact coll...

Exploring the subsurface – Geophysics in the Azraq...

Exploring the subsurface – Geophysics in the Azraq Basin, Northern Jordan

Non-invasive surface geophysical techniques are a useful tool to investigate the earth’s subsurface structure. In order to identif...

Entering Caves – Archaeological fieldwork starts i...

Entering Caves – Archaeological fieldwork starts in Albania

The territory of Albania is centered directly within the "Eastern Trajectory" of modern human migrations before, during and after...

A workshop through the Last Glacial environment an...

A workshop through the Last Glacial environment and archaeology of the Levante and the Balkans

Between 25th and 28th of November 2012, the RWTH Aachen University was host to 65 experts from 16 countries for a workshop entitle...

Resolving sedimentary deposits in the Azraq Basin/...

Resolving sedimentary deposits in the Azraq Basin/Jordan using non-invasive geophysical techniques

A second geophysical field survey was undertaken in the Azraq Basin in October 2012.  

Oase Rock-Shelter (Romania): First evidence for hu...

Oase Rock-Shelter (Romania): First evidence for human occupation during the Pleistocene

In its second year of archaeological research around the Oase Cave complex (Caraş-Severin, Romania), the German-Romanian excavatio...

Settlement dynamics at the edge of the Pleistocene...

Settlement dynamics at the edge of the Pleistocene in the Near East: Revisiting the site of Taybeh, southern Jordan

During this year's short field campaign, one day was dedicated to revisiting the site of Taybeh 3 near the small village of Taybet...

Between trash and trove. Archaeological research i...

Between trash and trove.  Archaeological research in northeast Serbia

This spring the archaeologists of the University of Cologne and geoscientist from the RWTH Aachen University of the CRC 806 B1 pro...

Six weeks looking for dust in Hungary, Serbia and...

Six weeks looking for dust in Hungary, Serbia and Romania

This spring from 5th April – 17th May geoscientists from the RWTH Aachen University and archaeologists from the University of Colo...

2nd International Workshop on Late Pleistocene and...

2nd International Workshop on Late Pleistocene and Holocene climate variability in the Carpathian-Balkan region

The 2nd International Workshop on Late Pleistocene and Holocene climate variability in the Carpathian-Balkan region took place on...

The 7th Loess Seminar – Kukla Loessfest ‘14

The 7th Loess Seminar – Kukla Loessfest ‘14

The 7th loess seminar LOESSFEST held in memory of one of the greatest loess researchers, namely Georg J. Kukla, took place from 8–...

Raw material survey in Berlin

Raw material survey in Berlin

Renewing the cooperation with the Freie Universität Berlin, Hannah Parow-Souchon of Project B1 met Christoph Purschwitz at Berlin...

A technological analysis of recently excavated arc...

A technological analysis of recently excavated archaeological assemblages of the open-air localities of the Banat (SW-Romania)

During the past month of February, Ine Leonard from B1 project travelled to the town of Tărgovisţe in Romania, 80 km northwest of...

Looking for dust in Serbia - part II - luminescenc...

Looking for dust in Serbia - part II - luminescence at At

A year after our last trip, the B1-geo-team from the RWTH Aachen spent another week in Serbia to continue their investigations at...

Into Jordan 2015

Into Jordan 2015

A joined team of project B1 members of the CRC 806 and the University of Amman executed an excavation campaign at the site of Al-A...

From Jordan into Israel 2015

From Jordan into Israel 2015

At the end of this year’s Jordan campaign, Hannah Parow-Souchon, PhD student of project B1, continued to Israel for additional thr...

Making sense of “Banat flint”. A re-evaluation of...

Making sense of “Banat flint”. A re-evaluation of the raw materials at the early Upper Palaeolithic open-air sites of the Banat (SW-Romania)

The early Upper Palaeolithic raw material records of the Banat are dominated by a rock often referred to as “Banat flint” – what’s...

A week in stormy Aberystwyth discussing luminescen...

A week in stormy Aberystwyth discussing luminescence

This November, PhD student Janina Bösken travelled to the University of Aberystwyth in faraway Wales to attend a workshop about ev...

The estimation of geochemical provenance areas for...

The estimation of geochemical provenance areas for the early Upper Palaeolithic of the Banat (SW-Romania)

Far too often does country- or language-specific nomenclature impede the estimation of the past lithic raw material economy. Sadly...

The 6th annual meeting of the European Society for...

The 6th annual meeting of the European Society for the study of Human Evolution (ESHE) in Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, 14–18 September, 2016

On the 13th of September 2016, Ine Léonard, PhD candidate for the B1 project, travelled to the World Heritage city of Alcalá de He...

 

logo koeln schrift 120x120 transparent

     logo uni bonn 153x40      dfg logo transparent
 

RWTH Aachen University

  logo geoverbund small 2 
logo qsga small new  
QR-Code
     
Copyright © 2018 CRC 806 - Our Way to Europe