Institute of Archaeology

First for Archaeology in UK 2015

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Fabio Silva

Modeling anatomically modern human dispersals by fitting analytical and numerical predictions to the archaeological and fossil records

Currently available genetic, linguistic and archaeological evidence supports the view that anatomically modern humans had a recent and unique origin in East Africa, from whence they migrated out, subsequently colonizing the whole globe. In all these studies the archaeological and fossil records are typically used just to date key events (e.g. continental arrival times, coexistence periods with other hominin species). My research project endeavours to provide empirical archaeological tests of Pleistocene human dispersal models, such as the unique origin or the multi-regional evolution models, but also to identify and characterize population distribution patterns on continental scales. The latter will shed light on the reasons behind the major dispersal events, especially with regards to their synchronicity with climatic changes, as well as on Pleistocene hunter-gatherer habitat preferences and choice of environments.

Other research interests include: mathematical approaches to archaeological/anthropological problems, the Upper Palaeolithic Franco-Cantabrian refuge, the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition, Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy.


 Educational background

  • BSc Hons., Physics, University of Aveiro (PT), 2006
  • PhD, Astrophysics, University of Portsmouth, 2010
  • MA, Cultural Astronomy, University Wales TSD, 2012

Silva, F. and Pimenta, F. (2012). "The Crossover of the Sun and the Moon." Journal for the History of Astronomy, 43(2): 191-208.

Silva, F. and Steele, J. (2012). "Modeling boundaries between converging fronts in prehistory." Advances in Complex Systems, 15(1-2).

Silva, F. (2010). "A New Survey of Neolithic Dolmens in Central Portugal." Journal of Cosmology 9: 3094-3106.

Conference presentations:

Silva, F. (in press). "Equinoctial Full Moon Models and Non-Gaussianity: Portuguese Dolmens as a Test Case." In M. Rappenglueck, B. Rappenglueck, N. Campion (in press). Astronomy and Paper – Proceedings of SEAC2010. British Archaeological Reports.

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