Anthropology Colloquia: Dr. Jennifer Rose Jones, Instituto Internacional de Investigaciones Prehistóricas (IIIPC), University of Cantabria, Spain

The UBC Department of Anthropology is pleased to present the


2015-2016 Anthropology Colloquia  



When: Thursday, February 11, 2016

Time: 2:00-3:00 PM

Where: ANSO 1305, 6303 Marine Drive



Dr. Jennifer Rose Jones

Instituto Internacional de Investigaciones Prehistóricas (IIIPC), University of Cantabria, Spain



“Exploring human responses to palaeoenvironmental changes during the Palaeolithic in the Cantabrian Region, Northern Spain: A Stable Isotope Approach”




During the Upper-Middle Palaeolithic transition the Cantabrian Region was home to some of the last surviving Neanderthals in Europe, and during the Last Glacial Maximum the region acted as a refugium for plants, animals and human, and undoubtedly played an important role in human evolution during this time. Changes in the environment are thought to have been driving factors behind the extinction of the Neanderthals, the rise of Anatomically Modern Humans, and later the development of the rich cave art assemblages during the Last Glacial Maximum. Whilst broad scale studies of ice and marine cores have provided a broad indication of environmental changes throughout the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic, these are very much removed from continental conditions experienced by people inhabiting archaeological sites at this time.  Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of hunted animal bone collagen from specimens found within archaeological deposits can be used to understand past environments at this time. Changes in the environment including factors such as temperature, aridity produce different isotopic signatures within plants, and the animals that consume them, and analysis of these specimens on a wide scale. This research uses large scale isotopic analysis of analysis of zooarchaeological remains to characterise how the environment changed, and human responses to these environmental changes in the Cantabrian region throughout the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic. Results suggest that the environment became more arid during the Aurignacian, and the Gravettian periods. Within the Eastern Cantabrian region both Neanderthals and AMHs may have been hunting from two different parts of the landscape, indicative of similar subsistence strategies in response to environmental conditions experienced. This study represents the first isotopic analysis of Middle and Upper Palaeolithic sites within this region, and provides valuable insights into environmental conditions, and it’s impact on human groups in the region at this crucial period in human evolution.