ICarEHB receives three postdoctoral fellowships

The ICarEHB «congratulates researchers in this new phase of their research journey and remains committed to supporting their efforts and providing a collaborative and innovative research environment»

The Interdisciplinary Center for Archeology and Evolution of Human Behavior (ICArEHB) at the University of Algarve was awarded three Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) post-doctoral fellowships.

According to ICarEHB itself, «this achievement reinforces the Center's commitment to promoting excellence in interdisciplinary research in the field of archeology and human evolution».

The three researchers receiving grants are Isaac Ogloblin, Lucía Cobo Sánchez and Armando Falcucci.

Isaac Ogloblin, with the PUMA: Paleolithic Underwater Micro-Archaeology project, will be supervised by Vera Aldeias at ICArEHB, and Dan Cabanas at Rutgers University (USA).

Current knowledge about human evolution is conditioned by terrestrial data, while some crucial information is stored at sites that are now submerged since the late Pleistocene. In terrestrial archaeology, the combination of micro-evidence, through paleobotanical, geoarchaeological and experimental data, has revealed new information. This project aims to explore the applicability of these approaches in the investigation of submerged Paleolithic sites, addressing two main questions: what type of micro-archaeological materials are preserved in submerged Paleolithic sites and why anthropogenic micro-residues (e.g. phytoliths) are preserved in submerged places?

Lucía Cobo Sánchez, with the proposal BITES: Beyond Bones: Integrating Statistics and Machine Learning Tools into Archaeological Evidence to Decode Neanderthal-Carnivore Scenarios, will be supervised by João Cascalheira at ICArEHB.

The relationship between humans and their natural environment has significantly shaped evolutionary history. Carnivores in particular, our main competitors in many past ecosystems, likely had a profound impact on the behaviors of past populations. Neanderthals were potentially more carnivorous than other hominin species, but were their relationships with carnivores mainly based on rivalry, mutual avoidance or subtle survival adaptations?

What is the impact of carnivore activity on the exploitation of ecological niches explored by Neanderthals? Could changes in these interactions shed light on the disappearance of Neanderthals? This project focuses on an important set of archaeological sites, located in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, which contain thousands of animal bones with marks that reveal consumption by Neanderthals, but also by different carnivores. Through the use of Machine Learning techniques applied to the identification and differentiation of the different taphonomic marks present in the bones, the researcher will obtain information about the coexistence between the various species and answer the questions presented.

Armando Falcucci, with the proposal RStone: Population interconnectivity and technological trajectories in southern Africa during the MIS3 through replicable lithic analysis, will be supervised by Nuno Bicho at ICArEHB, and Justin Pargeter at New-York University (USA). Our species arose from genetic flow between structured populations in various regions of Africa.

This process entailed intermittent events of coalescence and fragmentation, visible in late Pleistocene archaeological records through changing patterns of lithic technological similarity. In this context, MIS3 (59-28 ka) is a particularly intriguing period, because archaeologists working in southern Africa have hypothesized that marked regional variation in lithic technology is attributable to cultural fragmentation and reduced information exchange between populations. scattered. However, it may also result from the lack of a replicable system to record and statistically analyze lithic traces.

This year's annual MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship competition generated considerable interest from the scientific community, with 8039 proposals submitted.

MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships reinforce the creative and innovative potential of doctoral researchers who wish to acquire new skills through advanced training, international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral mobility.

The ICarEHB «congratulates researchers in this new phase of their research journey and remains committed to supporting their efforts and providing a collaborative and innovative research environment».