During the last two million years, the geographic range of the human species expanded in several waves from its original African homeland to encompass Eurasia – and possibly back into Africa.
Of these hominin species, only anatomically and behaviorally modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, have been able to overcome the impediments imposed by the physical geography of this planet. Within a few tens of thousands of years, modern humans successfully inhabited the globe, settling in Australia, the Americas and even the polar regions.
The project "Role of Culture in Early Expansions of Humans" (ROCEEH) investigates the phenomenon of early hominin migration from different angles:
Geographic methods, like GIS & modelling, are used to link these spatio-temporal phenomena and create new insights.
The longterm project has a lifetime of 20 years (2008-2028) and is funded by the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. It teams up researchers from the University of Tübingen and the Senckenberg Research Institute, Frankfurt/Main.
The "ROCEEH Out of Africa Database" (ROAD) is a tool for researchers to store, request and visualize data related to human expansion processes. We integrated paleoanthropological and cultural information, vegetation history, paleontological and paleoecological data, climate records, stratigraphical settings, age models and geophysical and geomorphological information. Furthermore, ROADweb was developed in order to make application of the complex database as simple as possible.
With the proceeding of the project, the amount of geodata is constantly growing. We implemented a Geo-Metadata Catalogue to...
The ROCEEH GeoNetworks can be accessed here.
Another focus of our working group within the project lies on the recostruction of paleolandscapes using Geomorphology, GIS and Remote Sensing techniques. After research at f.e. Lake Manyara (Tanzania) or the archeaological site of Melka Kunture (Ethiopia) we currently set an aditional focus on investigations in eastern South Africa. We use recent geomorphological processes to reconstruct landscape dynamics and landscape evolution around the Cave of Sibudu (Tongati River) and the Upper Drakensberg Mountains.