About the Project

Late Glacial and Postglacial Population History and Cultural Transmission in Iberia (c.15,000-8,000 cal BP)

The aim of this project is to investigate patterns of population history and cultural transmission from the Late Magdalenian to the Late Mesolithic (c.15,000-8,000 cal BP) in South-western Europe. This period witnessed major environmental changes and cultural transformations on settlement distribution, technology and social organisation. Our project specifically addresses two major inter-related research topics: Firstly, to what extent demographic behaviour was driven by environmental factors; and secondly, how did regional population patterns influence cultural transmission processes.

This project develops a new, multi-scale, methodological approach to study population patterns and cultural change between the Late Magdalenian and the Late Mesolithic in the Iberian Peninsula. First, at a local scale, our project will combine new empirical data obtained at open-air residential sites with well dated multi- proxy palaeoenvironmental reconstructions to understand the impact of climate change and hydrological stress on human settlement areas. Then, we will reconstruct population patterns at 5 different Iberian regional units analysing summed probabilities of radiocarbon date distributions from a new audited radiocarbon database. Finally, we will conduct computational network analysis at a macro-regional scale to identify how diachronic variations on hunter-gatherer settlement networks affected the transmission of cultural traits and the spread of technological innovations.

With this multi-step interdisciplinary approach, we aim to provide a chronological-secure framework and spatially explicit context for the interpretation of population history, cultural change, and resilience to environmental changes through from the Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene transition to the Middle Holocene in Iberia.