African Archaeology and Human Evolution
Africa has a special place in our understanding of human origins as the continent where the split between humans and other apes took place. Current research indicates that both the appearance of anatomically modern humans and the behavioral repertoire of our species is likely to have emerged in Africa during the last several million years, namely Modern Human Behavior (DNA studies have noted a close relation between the present Khoisan and the earliest Homo sapiens sapiens, making these populations the best ethnographic proxy for the earliest Modern human populations).
Prehistoric Coastal Adaptations
Coastal areas are dynamic zones of cultural interaction and social change. The Prehistoric Coastal Adaptations group at ICArEHB seeks to understand the role of coastlines, riverine and lake environments in human cultural and biological evolution, including settlement and dietary strategies. Our overarching goal is to reconstruct how humans have explored and adapted to changing coastal environments through time.
Development of Complex Societies
The development of complex societies is crucial area of archaeological research in understanding human biological and cultural evolution dynamics over time and space. Our group analyses traces of human lives and social relationships left behind in the archaeological, bio-anthropological and paleo-ecological records, while at the same time evaluating the relationship between these records of daily human activities and ecological and climatic changes overtime. Our aims are to study, characterise and interpret the development of social complexity within human societies, and the consequences of this process on the long-term evolution of human behaviour.
We have several ongoing projects focused on studying human societies within different archaeological contexts: complex hunter-gatherer-fisher to Bronze Age societies in Europe, emergence of farming in the Near East and Late Stone Age to Iron Age in Africa. Our research group is also actively collaborating with national (e.g. ERA, University of Lisboa) and international institutions (e.g. Max Planck institutions, University of Oxford) with research programs funded by FCT, the DFG excellence initiative and ERC horizon 2020. We welcome proposals for PhD, post-doctoral and institutional collaboration projects.
History of Archaeological Science
Research on the History of Archeology has focused on the study of its main actors and the institutions to which they have been linked. However, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that, in addition to the immediate and objective realities that have determined the progress of research, such studies have always been guided by ideas and concepts that change over time, depending on the progress of knowledge.
This research group deals with the history of archeological science research developed during the 19th and 20th centuries, with a special focus on Western Europe. We seek to contextualize inherent ideas and concepts that structured the archaeological thought presiding over the presentation of the results obtained in each period. Research developed over time has led, thus, to the accumulation of a rich, diversified, and heterogeneous set of information, which can only be understood through a critical and structured historical interpretation.