On the Trail of Homo through Earth’s High Mountains and Plateaus

Author(s): Brian Stewart; Kurt Rademaker

Year: 2018


Of Earth’s habitable landscapes, mountain environments present humans with some of the most striking adaptive challenges. But they also offer unique opportunities. Cross-cultural comparative research on montane hunter-gatherers in prehistory has focused on the settlement of expanses of contiguous high-elevation terrain – the world’s ‘high plateaus.’ Yet plateau peopling represents one chapter in a much longer evolutionary story of when, how and why ancient people engaged with upland landscapes. This was a human odyssey spanning hundreds of millennia, multiple hominin taxa and continents, the world’s high plateaus, but also its much more widespread high-mountain systems. To date, little effort has gone towards investigating the full variability of montane lifeways through time and space. This symposium will bring together archaeologists studying hunter-gatherer biocultural adaptations in diverse upland settings across the globe. What were the timings, motives and modes of montane exploitation, and can we elucidate the evolutionary processes by which our genus engaged with upland landscapes with increasing frequency and intensity? With these questions at the fore, this presentation introduces the session by exploring its rationale, themes and aims.

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On the Trail of Homo through Earth’s High Mountains and Plateaus. Brian Stewart, Kurt Rademaker. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444412)

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Abstract Id(s): 22326