Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

The role of environmental change in the expansion of early modern humans in the Levant - what can we learn from mollusc shells

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperConference abstract in journalResearchpeer-review

  • Amy Prendergast
  • ,
  • Marjolein D. Bosch, Denmark
  • Marcello Mannino
  • Bernd Schöne
  • ,
  • Daniella Bar-Yosef Mayer
Humans respond to changes in their local environment on daily to seasonal timescales. Therefore, a robust assessment of the impact of environmental change on human behaviour requires an understanding of local environmental
change at seasonal to sub-seasonal resolution. Stable isotope records from mollusc shells provide one of the few sub-seasonally resolved palaeoenvironmental proxies in the Mediterranean. Obtaining these records from
molluscs that were consumed by people enables the reconstruction of a more detailed picture of how humans responded to changing climatic regimes in the past and ensures that the resulting palaeoenvironmental records are
directly linked with human activity. Here we present sub-monthly resolved environmental reconstructions from stable isotope analyses of mollusc shells from the Upper Palaeolithic assemblages of the archaeological sites of
Ksˇar Akil in Lebanon and Manot Cave in Israel. These highly resolved environmental records, coupled with well dated archaeological sequences provide a framework for assessing the complex interplay between early modern
humans and their local environments. We found evidence for fluctuating temperature, rainfall and seasonality regimes throughout marine isotope stages (MIS) 4 to 2, some of which appear to be linked to northern hemisphere
millennial-scale climate oscillations. The archaeological records show human occupation of these sites occurred during both warmer and cooler phases and during both high and low seasonality regimes, indicating that modern
human populations were somewhat resilient to the resource uncertainty that would have accompanied these changing temperature and seasonality regimes. These paired cultural-environmental records have enabled an examination
of hominin-environment interactions during critical periods of the late Pleistocene in a region with comparatively few high-resolution climate records.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Abstracts
Pages (from-to)EGU2018-1110
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventEGU2018 European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018 - Austria Center Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Duration: 8 Apr 201813 Apr 2018


ConferenceEGU2018 European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018
Location Austria Center Vienna
Internet address

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 142979202