The Earliest Europeans
A Year in the Life: Survival Strategies in the Lower Palaeolithic
Imprint: Oxbow Books
160 Pages, 140 x 211 mm, b/w figures
- May 2020
Current research has provided increasingly robust archaeological and Quaternary Science records, but there are ongoing uncertainties as to both the earliest Europeans’ specific survival strategies and behaviors, and the character of their dispersals into Europe. In short, how sustained and ‘successful’ were the individual phases of European occupation by Lower Palaeolithic hominins and what sorts of ‘human’ where they?
Using a season-by-season chapter structure to explore, for example, the contrasting demands and opportunities of winter versus summer survival, Hosfield explores how foods and other resources would vary across the four seasons in quantity and quality, and the resulting implications for hominin behaviors. Text boxes provide the background on key issues, and the book draws on a range of supporting evidence including technology (e.g. the nature of Lower Palaeolithic stone tools; the evidence for organic tools), hominin life history (e.g. the length of infant dependency; the nature of ‘parenting’; the implications of different mating models; the Social Brain Hypothesis), cognitive studies (e.g. brain scanning research into possible planning capabilities) and potential bias in the archaeological record (e.g. in terms of what is and isn’t preserved). By testing the likelihood of different scenarios by comparing short-term, site-based insights with long-term, regional trends, Hosfield is able to out forward ideas on how our earliest European ancestors survived and what their lives were like.
"...this is an excellent book that represents a long-overdue approach to understanding the Lower Palaeolithic archaeological record." ~Antiquity