In his PhD thesis, he used ancient animal bone finds to reconstruct human strategies for getting food more than 400,000 years ago
He has demonstrated that early humans were capable of abstract planning, using technology and social skills to get food
The 2016 Tübingen Prize for Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology goes to archaeologist Dr. Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo of the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) in Tarragona. Rodríguez-Hidalgo is an archaeozoologist; in his PhD thesis, he used ancient animal bone finds to reconstruct human strategies for getting food more than 400,000 years ago. He found that they used sophisticated hunting strategies. The annual award comes with €5000 prize money, sponsored by Mineralbrunnen EiszeitQuell, making it the richest prize of its kind for archaeological research.
Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo (born 1978) first studied History majoring in Archaeology in the Spanish town of Cáceres, then in Parma, Italy. He completed his Master’s degree in Quaternary Archaeology and Human Evolution in 2008 in Tarragona. He has been part of a team excavating in the Sierra de Atapuerca near Burgos in northern Spain, where one of the world’s biggest archaeological sites from the Ice Age is located. In 2015 he completed his PhD on animal fossils in the Sierra de Atapuerca -and what they say about early humans in the region. “I’m very interested in early humans as hunters – which animals they caught, which strategies they used, and how they carved up their prey”.
“Dr. Rodríguez-Hidalgo has found some very old examples of subsistence behaviors we would recognize as being human,” says Dr Britt Starkovich of the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at the University of Tübingen. Finds from the Sierra de Atapuerca include the remains of some 60 bison butchered by humans. Rodríguez-Hidalgo says the differing ages of the animals indicates an entire herd fell into a natural trap exploited by hunters demonstrating that early humans were capable of abstract planning, using technology and social skills to get food.
Experts from many different countries of the world such as Finland, France, Italy, America, United Kingdom and South Africa will be participating in the conference MEDINES: ´Late Glacial to Early Holocene Socio-ecological responses to climatic instability within the Mediterranean Basin. MEDINES which has been organised by IPHES (Catalan Institutes of Human Palaeoecology and Social Evolution) and the Social work of the Caixa Bank will be held in the Caixa-Forum in Tarragona between the 3-5th of February.
There are over 70 registered researchers from countries such as Croatia, Switzerland, America and Finland and universities such as Cambridge, Arizona or Liverpool, presenting posters and / or communications.To highlight the presence of professors Graeme Barker (Cambridge University) and Michael Barton (Arizona State University), Dr. Eleni Asouti (University of Liverpool) and Dr. Jean Françoise Berger (University of Lyon2), who will conduct presentations on the impact of abrupt climate changes on the last populations of hunter-gatherers and farmers in the Mediterranean prehistory, with particular regards to the processes of resilience and adaptation. These two aspects will also be discussed by internationally renowned scientists in two round tables, which will then be open for audience participation.
Other topics which will be discussed in MEDINES include the rise of sea level and aridity, as well as changes in the distribution of flora and fauna.
Point of reference
The aim of this international conference is to establish a new framework to investigate environmental interactions of humans in the Mediterranean since the end of the Upper Palaeolithic until the Neolithic (between 17,000 and 6,000 years ago). This unstable scenario witnessed some of the most significant changes in human prehistory, such as the disappearance of cultural traditions of the Upper Palaeolithic and changes in lifestyle of hunter-gatherers to make way for the expansion of agriculture.