Despite long study, European paleoanthropology continues to produce unexpected and surprising findings. Such discoveries have radically changed our ideas about human presence in Europe. The short chronology of Europe, once the dominant view of the human settlement of the continent, is challenged by evidence indicating colonization at over one million years ago. Nevertheless, the identity of the earliest colonizers, their place of origin, their adaptations enabling their dispersal and their relationship to later hominins remain unresolved.
The post 500 ka European paleoanthropological record is more abundant, but still difficult to interpret: the number of species present and their relationship to each other and to African/Asian contemporaries is not well understood. Finally, the arrival of modern humans, Homo sapiens, in Europe and the potential interactions with Homo neanderthalensis remain topics of debate. In this discussion crucial information that would decisively help resolve these problems is lacking. Such evidence would come from the gateway through which both archaic and early modern people likely entered Europe, the Balkan peninsula. This region lies directly on the most likely route of dispersal between Africa, W. Asia and Europe, and is one of the three major European refugia for fauna, flora and likely also human populations during glacial periods. Paleoanthropological research in the area, however, has generally been sparse.
PaGE (Paleoanthropology at the Gates of Europe) is an European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant project, awarded to Prof. K. Harvati in 2011. Its goal is to help close this last research gap in European paleoanthropology and test our hypotheses about dispersals, refugia and systematics of European hominins. Over the course of the last five years (2012-2016), PaGE has conducted long-term field exploration, focusing on in situ recovery, in Greece, in collaboration with a number of institutions and partners in Greece: the Ephoreia of Paleoanthropology and Speleology of Southern Greece, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
PaGE has also focused on the (re-) interpretation of the known fossil record from Greece and the Balkans, and on promoting collaboration and networking among research teams working in South-Eastern Europe. The closing PaGE conference brings together multiple collaborating scientists from all the projects undertaken under PaGE and showcases the results and achievements of this landmark project.
The inaugural symposium of the Center for Advanced Studies aims to discuss the progress and prospect of integrated, multidisciplinary approaches for reconstructing the human past. It will feature talks by international scholars working in the fields of archaeology, genetics, linguistics, and paleoanthropology. The symposium will be held in Tübingen from Sunday, November 29th to Tuesday, December 1st.
The Institut für Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie of the University of Tübingen and the Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory for Archeological Science of The American School of Classical studies at Athens have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for encouraging academic cooperation through research and study in furtherance of the advancement of learning.
The Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science of The American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) is one of the leading research centers for archaeological science in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Wiener Laboratory advances applications of archaeological science to the development of knowledge of ancient Greek world and adjacent areas throughout the course of human history. It accomplishes this goal by training young scholars, sponsoring field and laboratory research, providing resources for scholarly work, and disseminating research results. Currently the Wiener Laboratory's specialities cover a broad spectrum of the field of archaeological sciences including studies in bioarchaeology, geoarchaeology, paleobotany and zooarchaeology. The Lab is the only true interdisciplinary institute in Greece dedicated to the development of archaeological science.
Both the INA and the Wiener Laboratory share mutual research interests and will benefit from a closer collaboration. The partners will cooperate with each other in:
a) Encouraging research and educational visits by faculty and senior researchers from one institute to the other for the purpose of engaging in research or other- activities;
b) Facilitating the admission of qualified students from one institute to the other for participating in research;
c) Fostering the exchange of academic publications and scholarly information and
d) Promoting other academic activities that enhance the above-mentioned goals, such as organization of collaborative conferences, symposia and educational workshops.