ERC grant success for Ignacio de la Torre

17 January 2012

European Research Council (ERC) logo

Ignacio de la Torre's ERC-funded project on the Origins of the Acheulean in East Africa is launched this month and is marked by the unveiling of a new project website.

Ignacio has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant for his project 'ORACEAF: The Origins of the Acheulean in East Africa' (2012-2016) to enable him to lead a team of multidisciplinary researchers who will provide an integrative perspective to the analysis of the palaeoecology, archaeology, geology and geochronology of the early Acheulean at Olduvai.

Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania) is the site where the earliest Acheulean was first discovered, and where the traditional view of the Oldowan-Acheulean transition was established.


Despite the pivotal role of Olduvai as a sequence of reference for East Africa and elsewhere, the original datasets are now outdated and are unsuitable for current discussions.  Ignacio's 5-year project aims to solve this problem by conducting a comprehensive research programme at Olduvai, based on the retrieval of fresh data derived from new laboratory and fieldwork research.

Using an innovative theoretical perspective that combines interests in cultural change, ecological adaptations, and biological evolution, and also state-of-the-art methods in archaeology, geology, and taphonomy, this project aims to make Olduvai the world’s best reference for the understanding of the evolutionary processes that led to the emergence of the Acheulean - the longest lasting culture in the history of mankind!