1Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, University of Tübingen, 2Tübingen Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoenvironment, University of Tübingen
March 27, 2015 8:45, Grand Ballroom D
Since the 1990s when the Out of Africa hypothesis for the expansion of modern humans out of Africa gained near universal acceptance, researchers have intensified their study of the geographic regions adjacent to Africa with the goal of establishing an empirical archaeological record of this process. Work in Tübingen has focused on new field work in Southern Arabia, Syria and Iran. While the skeletal record of human evolution in these regions remains poor, new fieldwork is beginning to allow us to trace the archaeological signature of the spread of modern humans out of Africa. The earlier phase of this process lies in the Middle Paleolithic, and the later phase in the early Upper Paleolithic. Based on our extensive survey projects and excavations at sites including Jebel Faya (UAE), Wadi Mushkuna (Syria), Ghar-e Boof (Iran) and complementary information from other projects, this paper summarizes current research on the population movements of late archaic and early modern humans in Arabia and Southwestern Asia and addresses how the archaeological record relates to competing hypotheses for this critical phase of human evolution.