Excavation in Portugal Illuminates Neanderthal Extinction and Modern Human Colonization of Western Europe

Photo of numerous people at a dig site in Portgual

Dr. Haws leads an interdisciplinary project studying Neanderthal extinction and modern human colonization of Western Europe. The research team is excavating Lapa do Picareiro, a cave site in Portugal with over 10 meters of deposits dated 10-75,000 years ago. These deposits are yielding archaeological, geological, and paleoecological records the team is using to explain how modern humans ultimately replaced Neanderthals. This work focuses on the role that environmental change, technology and diet choice played in this key period of human evolution.  

Every summer, UofL students participate in the excavation along with other students from the United States, Czech Republic, and Portugal. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UofL Portuguese Studies Program, the project offers scientific engagement and cultural enrichment for student participants who will join an interdisciplinary research team in an international setting. Student participants receive training in archaeological field methods, including 3-D spatial analyses, geoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, and artifact analysis.

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