About the Project

Population trajectories and cultural dynamics of late Neanderthals in Far Western Eurasia

Very little is known in southwestern Iberia about the cultural dynamics occurring between the apparent stable conditions of fisher-hunter-gatherers, art-producing Neanderthals before c. 70,000 years ago, and the complete disappearance of those populations.

The main objective of FINISTERRA is to investigate the paleoenvironmental and cultural dynamics involved in the disappearance of the Neanderthals, by implementing an integrative, interdisciplinary, macro-regional approach to the archaeological and paleoecological records of what is thought to be the last refugia for those populations – southwestern Iberia.

Our Goals

More specific objectives of the FINISTERRA project can be summarized as follows:

To contribute with an unprecedented combination of high-resolution geoarchaeological and paleoecological data recovered from multiple cave and open-air archives in southwestern Iberia.

To establish a robust chronological sequence for the late Neanderthals occupations in southwestern Iberia, roughly covering the MIS 4 and MIS 3.

To build a paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic framework for reconstructing local ecological niches, as well as for refining macro-regional climate models.

To provide a detailed characterization of late Neanderthals’ technological, economic, and social behaviors across space and time, particularly focusing on aspects related to technological innovation, diversification and intensification of subsistence, mobility and settlement patterns, cultural transmission, and social connectedness.

To explore late Neanderthal cultural and population trajectories using a combination of quantitative methods to monitor human resilience and the presence of the so-called early warning signals of bio-cultural collapse.