Evangelos Tourloukis

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Eberhardt-Karls U.

Grant number

Gr. 9271

Approve Date

April 11, 2016

Project Title

Tourloukis, Dr. Evangelos, Eberhard-Karls U., Tuebingen, Germany - To aid research on 'Palaeolithic Settlement and Land Use in a Quaternary Refugium: New Evidence from Epirus, NW Greece'

Preliminary abstract: How did our Palaeolithic ancestors manage to acquire their food and all other resources necessary for their survival? What kind of landscapes did they prefer for setting their camps, which sort of habitats would they choose for foraging and what type of environments were they able to tolerate? Early hominin subsistence, settlement patterns and land use strategies are palaeoanthropological topics that are well-researched in areas such as East Africa and north-west Europe. In contrast, they are comparatively under-studied in regions of southeastern Europe, such as Greece, even though the Mediterranean was peopled earlier than the rest of the continent and the Greek peninsula served as a refugium for species to survive during glacial stages. Our project will conduct excavations and radiometric dating at three open-air sites in Epirus, NW Greece, and aims to test specific hypotheses that have been suggested to explain the Palaeolithic human geography of the area. The sites would have been located at the shores of small, ephemeral lakes that, most likely, provided good opportunities for big game hunting, as well as a range of other valuable resources, such as water, edible plants and flint for the making of stone-tools. Our research will investigate the role of those sites in the regional settlement network and examine how this role and function might have been changing according to the fluctuations of the climate, or the changes in the human culture. Cultural variation relates to ecological conditions, and the study of the variation in lithic technology will give us a window through which we can explore the behavioral adaptations of ‘archaic’ hominins (Neanderthals and Homo heidelbergensis) across space and time. The project will include studies of site formation processes, palaeoenvironmental reconstructions, experimental knapping, raw material sourcing and lithic use-wear analysis.