Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationColorado, Denver, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9412
Approve DateApril 18, 2017
Project TitleHodgkins, Dr. Jamie Melichar, U. of Colorado, Denver, CO - To aid research on 'The Timing and Nature of the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic Transition at Arma Veirana (Liguria, Italy)'
JAMIE M. HODGKINS, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, received a grant in April 2017 to aid research on “The Timing and Nature of the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic Transition at Arma Veirana (Liguria, Italy).” A primary objective of paleoanthropology is to understand why modern humans were able to colonize the world while archaic groups (including Neandertals) disappeared. Recent data indicate that processes underlying “modern human origins” were complex and varied by region. Italy’s Pleistocene record includes remains of pre-Neanderthals and Neanderthals as well as some of the earliest modern human sites in Europe. Arma Veirana cave in northwestern Italy preserves Middle and Upper Paleolithic archaeology, and it resides within a poorly sampled environment (the Ligurian Maritime Alps) in proximity to other critical Mousterian and Protoaurginacian sites located on the Mediterranean coast. This mosaic makes the area an exemplary “laboratory” for examining ecological factors that influenced population dynamics in the late Pleistocene. Continued excavations at Arma Veirana resolved stratigraphic questions bearing on Neanderthal disappearance, and permitted robust sampling for radiocarbon analysis and cryptotephra (volcanic glass) that will refine the chronology of populations shifts in Liguria. The excavations also expanded lithic and faunal datasets for analyses designed to test hypotheses concerning behavioral differences among hominins. In the process, human remains were discovered including an adult incisor and a rare Upper Paleolithic infant burial that will contribute invaluable information on early modern human biology and culture in Europe.