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The interaction between neanderthals and modern humans in the Balcans: a paleoanthropological approach.

Grant number: 23/06224-0
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: January 01, 2024 - December 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Archeology - Prehistoric Archaeology
Principal Investigator:Walter Alves Neves
Grantee:Walter Alves Neves
Host Institution: Instituto de Estudos Avançados (IEA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:André Menezes Strauss ; George Muratoreanu ; Giancarlo Scardia ; Marian Cosac ; Mark Oliver Rohrig Hubbe ; Stefan Vasile ; Ximena Suarez Villagran


The expansion of Homo sapiens out of Africa, especially into eastern Europe, is one of the most important events in the evolutionary history of our species. The Carpathian Mountains, in Romania, constitute one of the routes that these first explorers of Eurasia used, with one of the oldest evidence of human presence in Europe. In the present project, through an unprecedented Romanian-Brazilian scientific mission, we will prospect new archaeological and paleontological sites in the Vârghi Gorges, north of the Perani Mountains (Eastern Carpathians, Romania). In this location, preliminary studies point to the existence of archaeological sites documenting Paleolithic human activity, covering - probably - the arrival of modern humans in Europe and the disappearance of Neanderthals. Along with Romania's geographic position on a possible migration route from the Near East to Central Europe, Middle Paleolithic investigations into the high-potential Vârghi Gorges caves may provide significant insights into how the two human species interacted and coped with the climatic changes that occurred in the area during the Late Pleistocene. For this, we will carry out archaeological surveys using documentation methodologies and computerized management developed by our team. The chronology of the anthropogenic deposits will be determined by the application of several dating methods including radiocarbon, Uranium/Thorium and Optically Stimulated Luminescence. Micromorphology and sedimentology analyzes will be conducted to determine the formation processes of the archaeological sites. Finally, fossil remains will be analyzed morphologically/taxonomically, as well as by a battery of molecular analyzes to determine diet (C/N), mobility (Sr) and population history (DNA). (AU)

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