Project 1403

INQUA Project 1403: Modeling human settlement, fauna and flora dynamics in Europe during the Mid-Pleistocene Revolution (1.2 to 0.4 Ma)



Jesús Rodríguez: CENIEH. National Research Center on Human Evolution, Paseo Sierra de Atapuerca 3. 09002, Burgos, Spain. Email:

Ana Mateos: CENIEH. National Research Center on Human Evolution Paseo Sierra de Atapuerca 3. 09002, Burgos, Spain. Email:

Christine Hertler: The Role of Culture in Early Expansions of Humans (ROCEEH), Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt/M., Germany. Email:

Maria Rita Palombo Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Piazzale A. Moro, 5 I-00185, Roma, Italy. Email:


The so called Mid-Pleistocene Revolution was a major environmental crisis driven by changes in orbital forcing which increased the amplitude of climatic oscillations. Changes in climate drastically affected vegetation in complex ways and led to a significant renewal of mammalian faunal complexes. Human groups with Oldowan technology were present in southern Europe at the end of the Early Pleistocene and in Britain shortly after the Matuyama/Brunhes boundary. However, evidence of human presence during the 0.7-0.5 Ma period is remarkably scarce, leading some authors to propose a depopulation of the continent in this period and a subsequent recolonization by other groups with a new material culture: the Acheulean.

This project intends to be a “pilot project” that eventually will develop into an IFG in the next inter-congress period (2015-2019). Our main aim is to bring together researchers with experience in the study of the archaeological evidence on the colonization of Europe in the Early and Middle Pleistocene, specialists who may provide primary data on the potential constraints to human settlement (palaeoclimate, mammalian faunas, palaeoflora, palaeogeography, quantitative palaeoecology, sedimentology and palaeosoils…) and specialists in mathematical modeling. The main goals of this project are as follows: (i) archaeologists will develop hypotheses about the patterns of human occupation and cultural change in relation to the main environmental constraints of this period and (ii) palaeontologists, palynologists, palaeoclimatologists, geologists, and palaeogeographers will provide the primary data to test these constraints; (iii) these conceptual models will be turned into mathematical models, and this will be made possible with the participation of mathematicians, biogeographers and engineers with experience in the modelization of complex systems using different methodological approaches (like stochastic, differential, or agent-based models). Members of the project are not expected to have previous skills on research fields other than their own. This initiative is intended as a forum where specialists may share their expertise and join efforts to build up new approaches to address the key question of understanding the way environmental change influenced the human occupation of Europe in the Early and Middle Pleistocene.

Individuals interested in being involved in this project should make contact with one of the project leaders, listed above.


Latest newsletter.