Jonathan Haws

Dr. Haws' Research

I have been doing archaeological fieldwork in Portugal since 1993.  My research interests focus on prehistoric human land-use and decision-making as part of a socio-natural process.  I use a multi-scale approach to understand how past humans, especially Neanderthals and Upper Paleolithic modern humans in Europe, interacted with their environment.

Currently, I am conducting a new 3-year collaborative NSF-funded project titled, Neanderthal and Modern Human Response to Environmental Change at the Middle-Upper Paleolithic Transition, Lapa do Picareiro, Portugal. The project brings together an international team to recover high-resolution archaeological, geological and paleoecological records from the excavation of Lapa do Picareiro, a cave in central Portugal. Our research is designed to test three possible scenarios: 1) southern Iberia was abandoned by both Neanderthals and modern humans; 2) Neanderthals existed in southern Iberia; and 3) modern humans were present, spreading into the region soon after they arrived in northern Iberia. The ultimate goal is to test replacement models based on human responses to climate and environmental change. Lapa do Picareiro is a unique site, with about 10m of sediments spanning 50,000 years. The sequence includes almost 2m of deposits dated between 30-42 ka cal BP, making it an ideal locale to track changes in paleoenvironments and human ecodynamics across the Middle-Upper Paleolithic transition.  We just finished the 16th season of work at the cave with previous funding by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Archaeological Institute of America, the National Geographic Society and the University of Louisville. In this past season we discovered a sealed off part of the cave with Magdalenian artifacts and bones scattered on the surface. We also confirmed 2 new Early Upper Paleolithic and 3 new Middle Paleolithic levels. The work will continue through at least 2016.

Also, I recently completed a collaborative NSF-funded project titled Human responses to late Pleistocene environmental change in the coastal zone of Portuguese Estremadura, with Michael Benedetti of UNC-Wilmington.  This project was a geoarchaeological survey of the coastal region between the towns of São Pedro de Muel and Peniche, about 100 km north of Lisbon. This project discovered dozens of new Paleolithic sites, including Mira Nascente and Praia Rei Cortiço, and several important stratified sections that contain uplifted Pleistocene beaches, tidal flats, estuarine muds and freshwater peats. The two sites demonstrate Middle Paleolithic settlement in coastal wetlands, a previously undocumented landscape setting for Neanderthal habitation.  Praia Rei Cortiço is particularly important because it represents a rare glimpse of Last Interglacial environments in Iberia. In 2015, we will return to Mira Nascente for additional investigation.

In addition to my work in Portugal, I recently began a project in Mozambique with Prof. Nuno Bicho of the Universidade do Algarve (Portugal). This is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary effort funded by the Fundação para Tecnologia e para Ciências (FCT) in Portugal. The goal is to investigate the Middle Stone Age archaeology of early modern humans. In 2014, we conducted archaeological survey in Niassa province near Lake Malawi (Niassa locally). The survey team discovered dozens of new open-air MSA sites in the Ncuala Valley and tested several rockshelters in the region. We plan to return to Mozambique in 2015 to survey other regions.


Recent Publications include:

Bicho, N., Marreiro, J., Cascalheira, J., Pereira, T. and Haws, J. 2014. Bayesian modeling and the chronology of the Portuguese Gravettian. Quaternary International DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2014.04.040.

Haws, J.A. and Bicho, N.F. (Eds.). 2013. Paleolithic Ecodynamics in Southern Iberia. Quaternary International 318.

Conyers, L.B., Daniels, J.M., Haws, J.A., Benedetti, M.M. 2013. A Late Paleolithic Landscape Analysis Coastal Portugal Using Ground-penetrating Radar. Archaeological Prospection, 20: 45-51.

Bicho, N.F. and J.A. Haws. 2012. The Magdalenian in central and southern Portugal: human ecology at the end of the Pleistocene. Quaternary International, 272-273: 6-16.

Haws, J.A. 2012. Paleolithic socionatural relationships during MIS 3 and 2 in central Portugal. Quaternary International, 264: 61-77.

Bicho, N.F.,J.A. Hawsand L. Davis. 2011. Trekking the Shore: Changing Coastlines and the Antiquity of Coastal Settlement. Springer, New York.

Haws, J.A., C.L. Funk, M.M. Benedetti, N.F. Bicho, J.M. Daniels, T.A. Minckley, R.F. Denniston, M. Jeraj, J. Gibaja and B.S. Hockett. 2011. Paleolithic landscapes and seascapes of the west coast of Portugal. in N.F. Bicho, J.A. Haws & L. Davis (eds.). Trekking the Shore: Changing Coastlines and the Antiquity of Coastal Settlement. p. 203-246. Springer, New York.

Haws, J.A., M.M. Benedetti, C.L. Funk, N.F. Bicho, J.M. Daniels, P.A. Hesp, T.A. Minckley, S.L. Forman, M. Jeraj, J. Gibaja and B.S. Hockett. 2010. Coastal wetlands and the Neanderthal settlement of Portuguese Estremadura. Geoarchaeology 29: 709-744.

Benedetti, M.M., J.A. Haws, C.L. Funk, J.M. Daniels, P.A. Hesp, N.F. Bicho, T.A Minckley, B.B. Ellwood and S.L. Forman. 2009. Late Pleistocene raised beaches of coastal Estremadura, central Portugal. Quaternary Science Reviews 28: 3437-3447.

Hockett, B.S. and J.A. Haws. 2009. Continuity in animal resource diversity in the Upper Paleolithic diet of central Portugal.  Before Farming 2009/2/2.

Bicho, N.F. and  J.A. Haws. 2008. At the land’s end: marine resources and the importance of fluctuations in the coastline in the prehistoric hunter-gatherer economy of Portugal. Quaternary Science Reviews 27: 2166-2175.