Interglacials: Human Behavioural Strategies
Organization of Early Social Systems
Climate change is as much a part of human evolution as is sibling rivalry. It lets us grow and forces us to adopt new ways. And in the future it will again open a new chapter – or close our history book forever. High time, therefore, to investigate the role of climate change in the evolution of our present day behaviour.
The global warming facing us is of catastrophic proportions, but is far from being the first one in the course of human history. Previous phases of warm climate, so called interglacials, occurred repeatedly at regular intervals. They provide archaeologists with ideal conditions for research:
By choosing similar environmental backgrounds we study the evolution of human behaviour as if through a filter. The diachronic comparison shows how human behaviour in equivalent environmental situations has developed at different times.
Current research projects are concentrated on the development of behaviour during the earlier interglacials. Bilzingsleben, Neumark-Nord und Schöningen are the most important sites from the periods around 400,000 and 120,000 years ago.
This research integrates and complements the results of recently concluded projects investigating survival strategies at the beginning of the Holocene (present day) interglacial.
As omnivores humans are inventive at acquiring food – but at the same time very selective about what they eat.
We study all aspects of subsistence from the choice, acquirement and processing of nutritional resources, to methods of storage and the technologies and systems of landscape exploitation implicit to these. Developments in settlement behaviour and social structures are linked inextricably to subsistence.
Two major evolutionary advances stand out in particular: