Human Cultural Evolution

The evolution of human capacities and social relationships is one of the fundamental pursuits of archaeology. This program involves a diverse range of projects world-wide that analyse/study temporal or geographical shifts in the mode and tempo of cultural behaviour. The scope is all of human history and prehistory, from the emergence of human culture in Africa through to historic societies and modern ethnographic studies across the globe. Such research projects explore the processes by which human culture evolved. Topics of current study include the relationship between materiality/the material and human behaviour, the emergence of public symbolling and elaboration of signalling forms, the behavioural changes represented by the southern African Middle Stone Age (MSA), the global dispersion of modern humans and their colonisation of Australia, the emergence and dispersion of agriculture/domestication in various parts of the world and their consequences for human social and economic organisation, the emergence of sedentism and new urban structures , and the operation of recent, hierarchically organised societies.

Projects (arranged chronologically)

  • The evolution of Interaction, communication and materiality in human community behaviour
  • Origins and evolution of public signalling
  • MSA/LSA Technological Variability in Africa
  • Neanderthal technology in France
  • Colonisation of Australia in a regional context
  • Technological evolution in Australia
  • Northern hunter-gatherers
  • The nature of sedentism
  • Origins of nomadic pastoralism
  • Technology transfer and transmission of ideas
  • Development of complex societies in central Asia
  • Complex Societies Evolution and Cross-cultural Interactions in the Near East
  • Nomad state relations
  • The Elamite Heritage of Persian Sculptural Arts

Projects (arranged regionally)

Africa
  • Origins and evolution of public signalling
  • MSA/LSA Technological Variability in Africa
Australia
  • Origins and evolution of public signalling
  • Colonisation of Australia in a regional context
  • Technological evolution in Australia
Europe
  • Neanderthal technology in France
Middle East/Central Asia
  • Origins of nomadic pastoralism
  • Technology transfer and transmission of ideas
  • Development of complex societies in central Asia
  • Nomad state relations
  • Complex Societies Evolution and Cross-cultural Interactions in the Near East
  • The Elamite Heritage of Persian Sculptural Arts
Worldwide
  • The evolution of Interaction, communication and materiality in human community behaviour
  • The nature of sedentism
  • Visual Cultures in Context