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PI: Rosa Maria Albert (2017-2020).

Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad (2017-2020).

The evolution of human groups is closely related to the climate, environment and the way they used the available resources. There are four important moments for the history of humankind: the emergence of early Homos during the Plio-Pleistocene and Lower Pleistocene in Africa; b) emergence of Anatomically Modern Homo populations in Africa and Neanderthal populations in Europe and Asia; c) development of agricultural and herding practices and d) evolution of urban centres. These four moments represent significant changes at the social, intellectual, and economic level, and gave place to important transformations that modified our behaviour. With this multidisciplinary proposal, we intend to advance our knowledge on the environment and its influence on our physical and cognitive capacities; to examine this environment as a source of vegetal resources necessary for our survival and, finally to identify the impact caused by the use of these resources on the environment. The methods that we use are based on the microarchaeology, the study of non-visible remains, but that can offer valuable information for a better understanding of the archaeological record. In our case, we focus on the study of microremains of bioarchaeological origin (phytoliths, starches, calcium oxalate crystals, diatoms, faecal spherulites, etc.) and on mineralogical analyses of sediments through the use of Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR). We also pay special attention to the postdepositional conditions that may affect the preservation of this microremains, and in particular to improve the methodological approaches addressed to identify combusted phytoliths, for better recognize fire evidence in prehistoric sites. The sites object of study throughout this project are: Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania) (Plio-Pleistocene and Lower Pleistocene); Mughr el-Hamamah (Jordan) (Transition Middle-Upper Palaeolithic); Lusarket (Armenia) (Transition Middle-Upper Palaeolithic); Cueva del Arco (Murcia) (Transition Middle-Upper Palaeolithic); Los Husos (Álava, Spain) (Neolithic); Cova de Can Sadurni (Begues, Spain) (Neolithic); Pollentia (Alcúdia, Spain) (Roman site)