Category Archives: General

New field season at the Engel Ela-Ramud basin, Eritrea

Between February 27th and March 2nd, the research project of Engel Ela-Ramud will be presented at the Youth Mobile Festival Barcelona (YoMo Barcelona) that will be held within the framework of Mobile World Congress 2017, in the Monjuïc Fair

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The coming January 28th, a research team from IPHES will leave to Eritrea, to develop a new field season at the Engel Ela-Ramud basin, in the Danakil depression, next to the Ethiopian border. This research project, entitled “Cuna de la humanidad: Eritrea-Valle del Rift” (Cradle of humankind: Eritrea-Rift Valley), is directed by Bienvenido Martínez-Navarro (ICREA Research professor) and Eudald Carbonell (Full Professor of Prehistory at Universitat Rovira i Virgili of Tarragona), two attached to IPHES.

The Danakill depression is one of the most inhospitable regions of the world. It is a rocky desert where practically every day of the year reaches the 50ºC, in some occasions even the 55ºC, and it is very rare to going below the 20ºC at night. It is inhabited by the Afar tribe, that still lives in a very precarious conditions, in stone and log huts, with a very water scarcity, and with an economy based in goat, donkey and camel grazing, animals that can hold the heat and the thirst well.

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Tsegai Medin and Sergio Ros in Eritrea

In this basin, during the last four field seasons (held on 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016), the research team has located a very complete stratigraphic series that embraces the period from more than 6 million years ago to practically nowadays, and therein the team has found a good record of fossil large mammals (elephants, hippos, pigs, large bovids, gazelles, horses, hyenas, and others) and other vertebrates like crocodiles and turtles, in addition to abundant lytic artifacts, some of them very old, from the Early Pleistocene,  in the process of datation, that can be more than two-million-years-old.

The work and research team also includes the archeologist Xosé-Pedro Rodríguez Álvarez (Research Director of IPHES), the paleontologists Tsegai Medin (an Eritrean researcher attached to IPHES, through a postdoctoral scholarship supported by the Atapuerca and Palarq foundations, equally divided), Sergio Ros-Montoya (University of Málaga), the Andalusian aid worker Francisco Pérez-Benitez, the director of the National Museum of Eritrea, Dr. Yousief Libsekal, and Mr. Dawit Araia, from the same institution.

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The project is directed by Bienvenido Martínez-Navarro (ICREA Research professor) and Eudald Carbonell (Full Professor of Prehistory at Universitat Rovira i Virgili of Tarragona), two attached to IPHES.

Also, between February 27th and March 2nd, the research project of Engel Ela-Ramud will be presented at the Youth Mobile Festival Barcelona (YoMo Barcelona) that will be held within the framework of Mobile World Congress 2017, in the Monjuïc Fair, where more than 20.000 students of ESO and Baccalaureate, from Catalonia and the rest of Spain, will be moved to Barcelona during the four days to participate in this Science and Technology international event.

The Engel Ela-Ramud project will be presented in YO MO, through “La ciència al teu mòn”, an enterprise from scientists of important research centers and communication experts, in collaboration with education and technology experts. That lets to give a realistic vision of science and scientific community.

The Engel Ela-Ramud research Project is supported by the Palarq Foundation, and managed from the Atapuerca Foundation.

IPHES: The most important news from 2016

25 January 2016

The IPHES catalan research center and the Iranian RICHT Institute started a regular cooperation in the field of archaeology and human evolution

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1 February 2016

Experts from around the world will be coming to Tarragona to discuss human responses to climate change through prehistory

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4 February 2016

The 2016 Tübingen prize for early prehistory and quaternary ecology goes to Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo of the IPHES

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1 March 2016

Javier Fernández-López de Pablo, researcher of the IPHES, awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant 2015

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14 March 2016

Clarifying the origins of Sima de los Huesos hominins

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Bone powder removed from a thigh bone that yielded the first DNA sequences from the 430,000-year-old hominins from Sima de los Huesos, Spain – Javier Trueba, MADRID SCIENTIFIC FILMS

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28 March 2016

The first Europeans: leading roles in a special issue of Quaternary International

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17 June 2016

Did moianès witness Neanderthal extinction?

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29 June 2016

IPHES presents two new informative videos about stone tools production

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20 August 2016

The tooth and the parietal of a Neanderthal child 7-9 years old who lived in Teixoneres Cave 50,000 years ago have been discovered

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The parietal and the tooth Neanderthal – IPHES

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29 August 2016

The IPHES co-organise a scientific symposium in japan on novel methods for the study of past human behavior

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21 September 2016

Maçao welcomes the XI presentation of master thesis of the Erasmus Mundus in Quaternary Archaeology and human evolution

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28 October 2016

Upper paleolithic humans may have hunted cave lions for their pelts

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6 December 2016

The Azokh Cave site in the Caucasus was an important passageway for the hominins during their migration from Africa to Europe and Asia

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21 December 2016

A new app for android that lets to evaluate the museums reception wins a Pioner Prize

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A new app for Android that lets to evaluate the museums reception wins a PIONER Prize

f theIt is about a tool that makes easier to collect more accurate data than the provided by the traditional surveys

Gemma Sebares is the creator, author of the doctoral thesis that promoted the design of this new technology

As a case of empirical study was took the socialization of the Atapuerca archeological sites, though the Museo de la Evolución Humana de Burgos

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Gemma Sebares has received a PIONER Prize (Generalitat de Catalunya) as an author of a doctoral thesis that has let to design an app for Android that makes it easier to obtain more accurate data when is evaluated the reception of museum spaces from visitors. The author defended such thesis in December of 2015 in the Institut Català de Paleocologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES) and now has merited the award “for the contribution that makes the application of new technologies in a little transformed area”, according the jury resolution.

The award ceremony has taken place today in an event celebrated in the office of the CERCA Institution (Centres de Recerca de Catalunya, in Barcelona), entity that call them with the purpose to distinguish the researchers that newly elaborated a doctoral thesis and have obtained results clearly oriented to be used commercially. This year the prize has been of 1000 euros and a certificate.

The Gemma Sebares thesis is called “Evaluation of the process of socialization of the archeological field of the Sierra de Atapuerca to the Museo de la Evolución Humana in Burgos”, that has been taken as a case of empirical study. “This has been possible thanks to the design of a new method of data recollection and analysis, to make possible to extract an objective results, unleashing the evaluation from the classical surveys, completely subjective”, Gemma says. This method, in addition, is completely suitable in any other museographic space.

Sebares has analyzed, for example, if the museum solutions used in MEH are effective and suitable for any type of public, if in a museographic and didactic level has the necessary importance in the used resources, and if museology and museography are used correctly, how the museum fatigue affects in the visitors, has determined the attention and attraction levels and has reached a registry system and empiric analysis suitable in any other museum.

The data collection method it was made according to an app designed by herself and it was developed it by a computer programmer (Daniel Alcaraz Perelló). It has been conceived for Android system to be used in a tablet and is directly linked to a data base. The app Cronos.apk has been registered in i-DEPOT, intellectual property office of BENELUX, with validity in any country of the European Union.

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Gemma Sebares was developed an app for Android system to be used in a tablet and is directly linked a data base – IPHES

At a time, the doctoral thesis has let to determine the socializing effectivity grade of the Museo de la Evolución Humana de Burgos (inaugurated on July of 2010) based on the visitor behavior, linking it to assembly of the museum analysis and information about the public’s profile.

With the use of the observational method it has been calculated the time that dedicates, or not, every visitor on looking to the different museographic resources of the museum. It has been determined the attracting power, the holding power, the interest level, the diligent visitors, the transition time, and the museum fatigue: all of this considering all the different sociodemographic groups, with the intention to catch the eventual problems in levels of every museum space or at the level of concrete museographic resources, and to improve, in that way, the socialization degree of the museum.

Among the major conclusions, it has been possible to establish the socialization capacity of the MEH. Seeing in result that the floor that works best is the first that is visited, the intended to the Sierra of Atapuerca archeological fields, with original fossils, one of the biggest claims of the museum, and that ends rounding the visit in all the Sierra de Atapuerca complex (museum, archeological fields, workshops…).

Futhermore, it has been possible to detect the “weak points” of the musrography whom a lot of the founded problems could be solved easily and improve, that way, the socialization of the museum.

The levels of attention, attraction, interest, thoroughness, transition and tiredness change considerably depending the analyzed sociodemographic group, but there are some museographic resources suitable for every one of the groups, and this encourage the socialization of the all of them.

At a methodological design level created for this research, is required to point that the app as well as the analysis and study method are completely appropriate in any other museum.

Profile

Gemma Sebares i Valle, raised in El Vendrell and born on Valencia in 1984, is graduate in History (Universitat Rovira i Virgili de Tarragona, URV), Master’s Degree in Quaternary Archaeology and Human Evolution (URV) and doctor in Quaternary and Prehistory (URV).

She began her formation in archeology since the first year of college, and clear for the beginning she participated with IPHES team in some archeological projects.

Eventually, as for the realization of the master, she began to specialize in the socialization of the heritage, especially the one related to the human evolution and prehistory.

Now she works as an associated professor in the Universitat de Barcelona, in the Didàctica de les Ciències Socials department, is member if the research group DEDPATRI (UB) and also Guia de Catalunya, exercising especially in the Tarragona province.

 

IPHES hires three youngsters through a guarantee youth program

They are going to be working from Monday to Friday, full-time during six months

Run by experts of this research center they will achieve tasks, according to their specialty, within the paleoecology, restoration and photography fields

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IPHES (Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social) counts since November 15th, on the incorporation of 3 technicians with employment contract in practices as a result of the European program of Garantia Juvenil, designed to offer training and employment opportunities to youngsters between 16 and 30 years who neither study nor work.

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Sioba Grande, Blanca Sicília and Sheila García at IPHES – Laura López

Run by experts of this research center they will achieve tasks, according to their specialty, within the paleoecology, restoration and photography fields. All of the technicians enjoy now from contracts by the Iniciativa d’Ocupació Juvenil and the Fons Social Europeu 2014-2020, with a 91,89% of cofinancial support.

The given grant to IPHES has an amount of 33.000 euros that let to open 3 employment contracts in practices for a 6 month period and a 100% of working day.

Upper Paleolithic humans may have hunted cave lions for their pelts

The researchers found that most bones showed signs of having been modified by humans using stone tools, with a specialized technique similar to that used by modern hunters when skinning prey to keep the claws attached to the fur.

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Upper Paleolithic humans may have hunted cave lions for their pelts, perhaps contributing to their extinction, according to a study published October 26, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Marián Cueto from the Universidad de Cantabria, Spain, and colleagues as Edgar Camarós (IPHES – Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social).

The Eurasian cave lion, likely among the largest lion species ever to have lived, became extinct around 14,000 years ago, but the reasons for its disappearance are not clear. Upper Paleolithic humans were previously known to have hunted other small and large carnivores, but archaeological evidence of lion hunting is sparse. To help fill in this gap, Cueto and colleagues examined nine fossilized cave lion toe bones from the Upper Paleolithic cave site of La Garma, in northern Spain, for evidence of cave lion exploitation by humans.

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Lion fossils from La Garma (Cantabria, Spain)

The researchers found that most bones showed signs of having been modified by humans using stone tools, with a specialized technique similar to that used by modern hunters when skinning prey to keep the claws attached to the fur. The authors suggest that the toe bones they analyzed may therefore have been part of a single lion pelt, which possibly lay on the floor of the occupied cave. La Garma is known to have been associated with human rituals, and cave lions may have been symbolic animals for Upper Paleolithic humans.

While the analysis is not definitive evidence that Upper Paleolithic humans exploited cave lions for their pelts, the authors speculate that human hunting of cave lions, perhaps as part of ritual activities, might have been a factor in cave lion extinction.

Citation: Cueto M, Camarós E, Castaños P, Ontañón R, Arias P (2016) Under the Skin of a Lion: Unique Evidence of Upper Paleolithic Exploitation and Use of Cave Lion (Panthera spelaea) from the Lower Gallery of La Garma (Spain). PLoS ONE 11(10): e0163591. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163591

 

IPHES Researchers presented papers at Homo erectus 100+25, International Senckenberg Conference, Tbilisi

“Homo erectus enigma” is still one of the most intriguing issues in hominin evolutionary research and the Dmanisi hominins are crucial for addressing these questions

The scientific sessions took place in the Auditorium of the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi, 20-24 September

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In 1991, 100 years after the 1891 discovery of Pithecanthropus erectus in Java, the International Senckenberg Conference was held in Frankfurt to review 100 years of Homo erectus research. In 2016, 25 years later, the “Homo erectus enigma” is still one of the most intriguing issues in hominin evolutionary research. At the centennial conference in Frankfurt 1991 the first hominin find from Dmanisi had its premier appearance on the international research scene. A truly extraordinary story of discoveries started in the Southern Caucasus that has produced five skulls over the last 25 years of research.

125 years of Homo erectus. TBILISI 20-24 September 2016 was organized jointly by the Georgian National Museum, the Senckenberg Research Institute Frankfurt/Main, and the ROCEEH Project of the Heidelberg Academy of Science. The scientific sessions took place in the Auditorium of the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi.

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Jordi Agustí, ICREA-IPHES researcher (left) with Robert Sala, IPHES and director researcher, in the Homo erectus 100+25, International Senckenberg Conference, Tbilisi

A wealth of new finds demonstrates the high diversity within the Homo erectus hypodigm as well as the presence of regional variants in Africa and Eurasia. It is mainly the Caucasus, which added crucial information to the earliest stages of Homo out of Africa. The Dmanisi hominins are crucial for our understanding of the “Homo erectus enigma” as they display a high morphological diversity, entirely unknown before.

It is evident, that after 100+25 years of Homo erectus research, there is now sufficient new evidence to revisit the “Homo erectus enigma”. This conference on the one hand aims to comprehend state of the art knowledge about Homo erectus and on the other, to develop new approaches and questions for future international and interdisciplinary research.

Papers presented by IPHES with others researchers

Jordi Agustí, Isabel Cáceres participate in the paper lead by Mohamed Sahnouni on the Ain Hanech sequence: “Early Homo erectus behavior and adaptation in North Africa: New data from Ain Hanech and Tighennif (formerly Ternifine) sites in northern Algeria”

Robert Sala, Gema Chacón propose a paper on the Algerian sites where lead research in cooperation with the Centre de Recherches CNRPAH of Algiers: “A Middle Pleistocene human occupation of an ancient humid basin close to the Chotts Regions (N’Gaous, Algeria)”.

Isabel Cáceres participates in the Gona project lead by Sileshi Semaw: “The early Acheulian from Gona, Ethiopia: implications for Homo erectus technological transitions and diet”.

Bienvenido Martínez-Navarro, Eudald Carbonell, Xosé-Pedro Rodríguez: “The Plio-Pleistocene record from the Engel Ela basin (Danakil desert, Eritrea): geology, paleontology and archaeology”.

Bienvenido Martínez-Navarro participates in the research team of Dmanisi lead by David Lordkipanidze: “Dmanisi large mammal assemblage”

Jordi Agustí participates in the research team of Dmanisi lead by David Lordkipanidze: “The late Neogene-Quaternary small vertebrate succession from Georgia: zoogeographical and paleoecological implications”.

 

 

Maçao welcomes the XI presentation of master thesis of the Erasmus Mundus in Quaternary Archaeology and Human Evolution

Students from many different countries as Spain, France, Italy, Chile and Venezuela have participated

Since 2006, eleventh promotions of master students have been graduated and more than 168 research works have been completed so far

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Maçao (Portugal) has hosted the presentation of 16 Erasmus Mundus master’s thesis in Quaternary Archaeology and Human Evolution, taught in the Rovira i Virgili University (URV), in Tarragona (Spain). Apart from European students of Spain, Italy, France, Chile and Venezuela, have defended their works. The defense was held on 19th and 20th September.

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Students and teachers in Maçao these days – IPHES

The Erasmus Mundus Master in Quaternary Archaeology and Human Evolution is given in partnership with other European institutions, particularly the University of Ferrara, (Italy), the National Museum of Natural History (Paris, France) and the Tomar Polytechnic Institute (in Portugal).

Internationalization

Since 2006, eleventh promotions of master students have been graduated and more than 168 research works have been completed so far. Many of them are based on different projects in which the IPHES participates, in line with the center of uniting teaching with research, field work and socializing.

Indeed, the Erasmus Mundus Master in Quaternary Archaeology and Human Evolution began to teach at the URV in 2004-2005 academic year, thanks to the research carried out in the IPHES, participating in major global projects in its field. Last year, the European Commission renewed this academic offer within the new Erasmus + program for three more years, this award represents an important recognition of the quality and singularity to attract students and represents a key on the internationalization objectives of the URV.