Lucy Jasmine Timbrell

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Liverpool, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10157

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Timbrell, Lucy (Liverpool, U. of) "Structured African Metapopulations: building a climatically-driven model of early human interaction using a multiproxy approach"

Recently, it has been proposed that our species evolved in structured metapopulations across the African continent. This new framework, known as the Structured African Metapopulations (SAM) model, is highly flexible as it can accommodate a wide range of previously hypothesized scenarios and, when compared to previous models of human evolution, it is more consistent with archaeological, fossil and genetic data, and with what is known about environmental fluctuations during the Late-Middle Pleistocene. This project aims to shed light on the SAM model by elucidating the nature of climatically-driven hominin population structure during the Late-Middle Pleistocene. It involves collecting both three and two-dimensional shape data from a sample of widely distributed Middle Stone Age lithic points, the single artefact category most reflective of population interaction Diversity within the sample of points will be analysed in conjunction with a paleoenvironmental model created using pre-existing climatic, hydrological and topological data which maps how areas of the African landscape have changed through time in terms of suitability for human occupation. Correlations between the archaeological data and the shifting distribution of hominin-suitable habitats will help establish whether these potential climatically mediated interconnections between groups left any signatures in the morphological variation of MSA points.