FUNDING INSTITUTIONEuropean Research Council (ERC) 
Horizon Europe Research and innovation program
REFERENCEDispersals, resilience, and innovation in Late Pleistocene SE Africa
Grant agreement ID: 101052761
DURATION5 years (2023-2027)
Southeastern africa

Project Description.

Genetic evidence suggests that successful modern human migration out of Africa is believed to have started c. 70,000 years ago, populating the whole world, at different rates and times. This incredible voyage took place because of human’s unique resilience, versatility, and innovation, both biological and cultural, to external stimuli, including ecological and environmental changes.

The main objective of the DISPERSALS project is to investigate the migration and dispersal dynamics of early Homo sapiens in sub-Saharan Africa, evaluate those conflicting models, and examine the claim that the successful human dispersals originated in southern Africa and moved to eastern Africa in the
last c. 100,000 years. This will be accomplished by examining issues of cultural and biological continuity/discontinuities between the Limpopo and the Save river basins in central Mozambique and the two most important geographic centers of human development, i.e., southern and eastern Africa.

DISPERSALS will compare the human occupation and ecology between central Mozambique and eastern and southern Africa using a multi-scale approach based on the study of regional diachronic cultural traits. It will reconstruct regional population patterns, followed by comparative quantitative population genetics combined with GIS computational network analyses.

The results will be then integrated through Agent-based modeling, based on the incremental creation, elimination, or reorientation of network links to simulate a quantitative framework to study the evolution of population dispersal across southern-eastern Africa. The project will be crucial in providing ground-breaking high-resolution archaeological, chronological, and paleoenvironmental data.

DISPERSALS will deliver a fundamental perspective on the key processes that triggered migrations and dispersals within Africa and out-of-Africa which ultimately resulted in the human diaspora over the entire planet.

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