The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

Eastern Mediterranean Communications Zone in the Pleistocene: Paleoanthropological and archaeological evidence


1Department of Anthropology, University of Winnipeg, 2Department of Archaeology, University of Belgrade, 3Paleolithic and Mesolithic Collections, National Museum of Belgrade

March 27, 2015 9:30, Grand Ballroom D Add to calendar

A hominin mandible BH-1 from the Middle Pleistocene cave of Mala Balanica suggested a tantalizing possibility that human populations in this part of the Continent were not subject to the process of Neanderthalization observed in the west. Current consensus sees Neanderthals as descendants of European *Homo heidelbergensis* who spread northwards and eastwards in a pulsing fashion dictated by retreating glaciers. With paleontological evidence supporting successive movements of fauna from Africa / Southwest Asia (SWA) into Europe in the Early and Middle Pleistocene, this has served to strengthen the demographic “sinks and sources” model that postulates a demographic source population in SWA region. The Balkans, lacking any geographic barriers to SWA, represents a logical continuation of this region. Building on the scant – but growing – fossil human record contextualized by more abundant archaeological data, we examine the evidence for this larger Eastern Mediterranean Communications Zone in the Middle and Upper Pleistocene record.

Funding provided by NSERC grant and to MR and the Ministry of Culture (Serbia) to DM and BM. Travel Grant Provided by UWinnipeg Research Office