The Tibetan Plateau is the largest contiguous high-elevation terrain on the planet and ranks amongst the most extreme environments on Earth and as such is a largely blank area on the archaeological map. Only very few well dated Paleolithic sites exists so far on the upper Tibetan Plateau and no consensus exists on the timing or pattern of H. sapiens migration into Asia’s high-altitude core, or on how early dispersal were influenced by climate change. We use modern dating and geochemical techniques to construct a robust timeframe and paleoclimate record for the period of initial spread of H. sapiens onto the high elevation step of the Tibetan Plateau and thereby test current archaeological and DNA-based models for the expansion of our species into one of the most challenging environments on our planet.
Project title: High and Dry – Quaternary climates, paleoenvironments and human prehistory of the Tibetan plateau (FWF 24924–G19). Duration 2013-2015 and Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC).
P.i.: Michael Meyer
Co.p.i.: Mark Aldenderfer (U. Merced, California, USA)
Postdoc: Luke Gliganic
PhD student: Zhijun Wang
Collaborators: Dirk Hoffmann (National Research Centre on Human Evolution, Burgos, Spain), Frank Schluetz (Lower Saxony Institute for Historical Coastal Research, Wilhelmshaven, Germany), Jan-Hendrik May (U. Freiburg, Germany)