The kick off meeting of the INQUA funded Mapping Ancient Africa project took place on the 14 and 15 October 2021. This hybrid meeting linked up face-to-face meetings in Kenya, South Africa, Germany and the USA online. In total around 35 people participated in the meeting over the two days. It was great to start to get researchers back into rooms together, and to take advantage of the online link ups to connect people within regions who could not travel, and people in different continents. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the researchers to each other and to start to think about how we can work together to deliver the project goals of collating and synthesising data related to past climate, vegetation and hominin activity from across the continent.
During the meeting we identified gaps in the expertise of people already involved in the project related to western and northern Africa, and with regard to ancient DNA and charcoal analysis. We would therefore encourage researchers with expertise in these areas in particular to get in contact.
To maintain regular communication between the researchers we are establishing a series of monthly online seminars which will focus on key publications as well as activities of the group. These seminars will be open to other researchers who are interested to join. A schedule and agenda will shortly be placed on the project blog pages so keep an eye out for this if you are interested. It is likely that the first two seminars will focus on recent publications by Martin Trauth and Tyler Faith (see below for references).
Our ambition with the Mapping Ancient Africa project is to produce a Special Issue of Quaternary International. We are currently in the process of collating ideas for manuscripts to include in this volume. If you are not already involved but have an idea for a manuscript please get in contact as soon as possible so that ideas can be included.
We recorded the across hub meetings so that missed activities could see what was discussed and look for opportunities to get involved. These can now be watched via the Ecology of the Past YouTube channel.
- Trauth, M.H., Asrat, A., Berner, N., Bibi, F., Foerster, V., Grove, M., Kaboth-Bahr, S., Maslin, M.A., Mudelsee, M. & Schäbitz, F. (2021) Northern hemisphere glaciation, African climate and human evolution. Quaternary Science Reviews 268. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.107095
- Faith, J.T., Du, A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Davies, B., Patterson, D.B., Rowan, J. & Wood, B. (2021) Rethinking the ecological drivers of hominin evolution. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 36, 797-807. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2021.04.011