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Authors: Rodríguez, Jesús
Mateos Cachorro, Ana
Hertler, Christine
Palombo, Maria Rita
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: International Union for Quaternary Research
Citation: 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA), 2019, P-4202
Abstract: The Mid-Pleistocene Revolution (MPR), or Early-Middle Pleistocene Transition (EMPT) was a period of profound ecosystem reconfiguration, caused by climatic changes driven by variations in orbital forcing that took place at around 1 Ma. Changes in climate drastically affected vegetation in complex ways and led to a significant renewal of mammalian faunal complexes in Europe and elsewhere. In particular, it is generally accepted that those environmental changes affected the survival opportunities and the distribution patterns of humans in Europe. However, it is not well established how, where, when and at which extent the environment affected human population dynamics. The study of complex phenomena, as the ones described above, requires the contribution and cooperation of researchers from several fields. During the last decades, palaeontologists, palaeoanthropologists and archaeologists have produced organized datasets describing hominin distributionand databases containing quantitative palaeoenvironmental and palaeoecological. In parallel, several conceptual models have been proposed to explain the dynamics of the human colonisation of Europe in this period, but too often they reflect the actual data only loosely or were based selectively on data provided from a specific research field. Complex questions like understanding the dynamics of the early dispersal and, at least, temporary settlement of the continent require multidisciplinary synergic approaches. Mathematical modelling has revealed itself as an extremely helpful tool to describe complex systems dynamics in other disciplines, but it has been rarely used in terrestrial Quaternary palaeoecology or Palaeolithic archaeology. The METHOD International Focus Group (“Modelling EnvironmenTal Dynamics and HOminin Dispersals Around the Mid-Pleistocene Revolution”), funded by INQUA HabCom (1604F), promotes an active collaboration among researchers interested in understanding the dynamics of the first European humans, the specialists with knowledge on the ecological and environmental scenarios and the people with the skill to set up mathematical models, including mathematicians, physicists or engineers with experience in the study of complex systems through mathematical modelling and computer simulations. Since the MPR was a planetary event, the IFG has a worldwide scope, though it is initially focused on Europe because the quality and quantity of available data are significantly higher for this than for other regions. Europe constitutes an excellent case study to explore the application of quantitative approaches and mathematical modelling in the study of the early human settlement and dispersals. METHOD organised a number of activities during the 2016-2019 inter-congress period to promote collaboration among researchers and to provide training in specific topics. Main workshops were held in Burgos (2017, 2018), Mauer (2017) and Rome (2019), and Training Labs on the uses of databases and different modeling techniques were organised in Sassari (2016), Frankfurt (2017, 2018) and Burgos (2018). Up to 45 researchers from 10 different countries participated in the activities organised by METHOD during this period.
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Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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