Research is organized in three main groups: Prehistoric Coastal Adaptations; African Archaeology and Human Evolution; Development of Complex Societies. These groups are not independent from each other, since their scientific enquire frequently overlaps and overflows to the other lines. Research focus mostly on the emergence of Anatomically Modern Humans, hunter-gatherer coastal adaptations, the development of complex societies, and African Archaeology using different disciplines and methodological approaches, such as geoarchaeology, Use-wear analysis, zooarchaeology, paleobotany, GIS, and Earth Sciences. Currently, there are close to a dozen projects taking place in Iberia and southern Africa, which include graduate students from those countries, as well as from the United States.
Prehistoric Coastal Adaptation This research group focuses on the study of human coastal adaptations with the premise that coastlines, riverine and lake environments have been a crucial focus for human settlement, population growth, dispersal and social complexity from the earliest periods of prehistory, especially after the MIS6, and have functioned as dynamic zones of cultural interaction and social change. The goals of this research unit for the 2015/2020 period are essentially the continuation and extension of the ongoing projects in southwestern Iberia and southern Africa, as well as to initiate new working programs to respond to specific questions about the evolution of prehistoric cultural, social and economic adaptive systems in marine and estuarine landscape settings
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).
Development of Complex Societies Combining modern technical and methodological procedures with solid grounded theoretical approaches, the group aims to study, characterize, and interpret the socio-historical and anthropological dynamics of Complex Societies. Research will take place both in Iberia and Africa. Particular attention will be addressed to the emergence and development of domestication in a narrow sense (of animal and plants), but also in a broader one, relating to the “domestication” of space through architecture and landscape building, or through funerary practices and human mobility studies.