Recent Discoveries in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Spain)

October 21, 2015. University of Calgary Room ES 162. 7:30pm

Dr. Rolf Quam, Binghamton University

The Pleistocene cave sites in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain are well-known for a number of important paleoanthropological discoveries. In particular, the site of the Sima de los Huesos (the Pit of the Bones) has yielded the largest collection of human fossils from the Middle Pleistocene time period. These fossils are generally considered to represent ancestors of the later Neandertals. The site has been under excavation for the last 30 years and has provided an abundance of data on the course of human evolution in Europe, including the earliest evidence for human funerary behavior in the archaeological record. An overview of the discoveries and the significance of the site will be presented, along with some discussion of the latest findings.