Keiko Kitagawa (University of Tübingen)
Title: Glacial and Post-glacial adaptation of Hunter-Gatherers in the Southern Steppe of Eastern Europe
Abstract: Diverse landscapes and ecosystems stretching across Europe led to diverse hunter-gatherer cultural records during the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic. In response to abrupt climatic forcing, starting around the Late Glacial Maximum and followed by climatic events such as the Bølling–Allerød and the Younger Dryas in the Terminal Pleistocene, archaeological data pertaining to cultural and behavioral shifts of hunter-gatherers continue to be explored on a regional and pan-regional scale. Here we present an initial summary, which includes preliminary data on faunal analyses from multiple open air sites that span the Late Pleistocene to the Holocene, dated between the Late Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic (20,000-6,000 uncal 14C BP) in the southern steppe of Eastern Europe. Taken together, faunal assemblages from the Epigravettian are characterized by low diversity and are often dominated by one species of large game, including bison and equids, whereas the Mesolithic diet is characterized by higher inter-site variability subsisting on large ungulate and greater emphasis on freshwater resources.
Mateusz Baca (University of Warsaw)
Title: Population dynamics of Late Pleistocene mammals
Abstract: Climate changes during the Late Pleistocene have profound effects on population dynamics and distribution of many animal species. The course and mechanisms of responses of species to those changes are now being intensively studied with the use of ancient DNA and direct radiocarbon dating. So far large mammals such as woolly mammoths or cave bears got most of the attention. However small mammals, more susceptible to climate changes, seem more suitable to study impact of those changes on demographic processes. Recently, we investigated population dynamics of cold adapted collared lemmings. We obtained sequence of mitochondrial cytochrome b for more than 300 specimens from 26 paleontological sites scattered across Eurasia. Phylogenetic reconstructions revealed that all specimens fall into five distinct mtDNA lineages. Radiocarbon and stratigraphic dating of studied specimens revealed that during the last 50,000 years subsequent lineages occurred in Europe one after another. We postulate that the observed pattern resulted from a series of repeated collared lemming population extinctions and recolonizations of Europe most probably from eastern Russia. The timing of observed population turnovers coincides with similar events observed in other species like cave bears and woolly mammoths, which suggest large-scale changes in steppe-tundra ecosystems during the Late Pleistocene.
To better understand how ecosystems have changed facing climate changes in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene it seems essential to compile evolutionary histories of multiple species. Our focus is now on three vole species Microtus arvalis, agrestis and gregalis. These species frequently made up to 50% of temperate small mammal communities in Europe, therefore climate-driven demographic processes in their populations surely had bottom-up effects on whole ecosystems.
Prof. Matthew Collins (University of Copenhagen and University of York)
Title: The Archaeological Potential of Palaeoproteomics
Abstract: If DNA is the script, proteins are the actors in the drama of life. Advances in soft-ionization mass-spectrometry and bioinformatics have changed the way that these ‘actors’ can be detected and studied. Most current activity is focused on the comparative analysis of intra-cellular proteins but far more protein persists outside cellular regulation. Extra-cellular proteins are typically more persistent than those synthesized within the cell, but most of this protein is rapidly degraded. Nevertheless recycling is not completely efficient, protein is a persistent problem in the waste cycle and over geological time impacts upon the element cycling. The protein which persists in this ‘dead pool’ is an ‘echo’ of past biological activity. Protein fragments are recognizable in fossils (e.g. seeds, bone), worked biological remains, (e.g. wood, textiles, archaeological and art historical artifacts) as residues, and entrapped within soils and sediments. However it is only with the advent of direct sequencing using soft-ionization mass-spectrometry that it has been possible to demonstrate unequivocally that proteins persists for tens of millennia and are recoverable in complex milieu (such as soil organic matter). Analysis of ancient proteins has advanced rapidly carried on a tide of ‘proteomic’ research. This paper will explore the potential these protein remains have to advance archaeological research.
Silvia Rita Amicone (University of Tübingen and University College London)
Title: Pottery Technology at the Dawn of the Metal Age: A View from Vinča Culture
Abstract: This research focuses on the reconstruction of pottery making recipes and their transmission in the Neolithic/Chalcolithic sites of Belovode and Pločnik (c. 5200–4650 BC). These two Vinča culture sites, located respectively in North-East and South Serbia, have recently yielded some of the earliest known copper artefacts in Eurasia. The rich material culture of these two sites, therefore, offers a unique opportunity for the study of the evolution of pottery craft technology during the transition into the Metal Age.
An interdisciplinary approach employing macro observation and analytical methods including thin section petrography XRF, XRPD and SEM was applied to a wide selection of ceramic samples representing the full spectrum pottery at Pločnik and Belovode in order to reconstruct and compare pottery recipes and their development in different phases of the two studied sites. The primary aim was to trace trajectories of knowledge transmission in pottery making and to explore potential pyrotechnological associations and related changes in pottery production concomitant with the introduction of metalworking at these two sites.
Alexander Weide (University of Tübingen)
Title: The aceramic Neolithic site of Chogha Golan and the transition to agriculture in the Zagros Mountains
Dr. Elisabetta Boaretto (Weizmann Institute of Science)
Title: New insights into the Natufian chronology of Mount Carmel (Israel): integrating stable carbon and radiocarbon data
Abstract: The Natufian period in the southern Levant (15,000-11,500 cal BP) shows major social and economic changes associated with the rise of a sedentary lifestyle and the transition to agriculture. The synchronization between the social and cultural changes and climate has been re-evaluated based on a new series of radiocarbon dates from the site of el-Wad Terrace, Mount Carmel (Israel). The carbon stable isotope ratios of charred botanical remains from el-Wad Terrace have been analyzed to provide a better understanding of the climate in the region during this period. The integration of different proxies directly dated by radiocarbon indicates that the cultural changes detected in the archaeological record were not synchronous. The new chronological scheme of el-Wad Terrace has been compared with other sites in the region, thus providing a new understanding of Natufian chronology.
Martin Weber (University of California, Berkeley and University of Tübingen)
Title: Counter-Narratives to Collapse: Developing a Socio-Natural Perspective on the Late Bronze to Iron Age Transition in Western Syria, ca. 1250-850 BCE
Dr. Michael Toffolo (University of Tübingen)
Title: Accurate radiocarbon dating of minerals in archaeological ash
Abstract: Obtaining accurate age determinations from minerals in archaeological ash is a major unsolved issue in radiocarbon dating. This is because the original radiocarbon content of calcite, the main component of ash, is altered by isotopic exchange. Pyrogenic aragonite, another mineral phase recently discovered in ash, might preserve its radiocarbon signature through time. Using a new method based on density separation and step combustion, we were able to isolate and date aragonitic ash from an archaeological destruction horizon of known age. We show that the radiocarbon age of aragonite matches the age of the destruction horizon. Our results demonstrate that pyrogenic aragonite is a short-lived material suitable for radiocarbon dating and directly related to human activities involving the use of fire, which can contribute to the establishment of absolute chronologies for the past 50000 years.
Prof. Nicholas Conard, Ph.D. (University of Tübingen)
|11.11.16||Dr. Susanne Münzel (University of Tübingen)|
Title: 25 years of cave bear research in Tübingen
Cancelled (StEvE meeting)