FUNDING INSTITUTIONFundação para Ciência e Tecnologia
DURATION3 years (2016-2019)

Project Description.

The project investigators seek funding for a three-year study of the origins and spread of anatomically modern humans. The emergence of novel behaviors that define our species, such as innovations in ecology, technology, social organization and symbolic behavior remains a key problem in human evolution. The primary goal of the project is to help resolve a recent debate about the significance of southern Africa as the center of origin for modern human cognitive behavior. We propose an interdisciplinary geoarchaeological survey to investigate the Middle Stone Age (MSA) origins of modern human behavior in southern Mozambique. Our purpose is to find comparable evidence for the appearance of “modern” behavior including but not limited to the use of artifacts, including pigments and shells, for symbolic purposes such as abstract representation, personal adornment and expression of individual and group identity, development of regional social networks, increased specialization in lithic technology, systematic use of bone, ivory and shell tools, long distance procurement and exchange of raw materials, expansion of ecological niches and greater exploitation of coastal resources such as shellfish and fish, etc.