Human Evolution @ UCL


Looking back at 25 years of research at the famed Homo heidelbergensis site of Schöningen, northern Germany

27 October 2018

The open cast mine at Schöningen, Germany, provides the opportunity to study climatic and environmental changes that occurred from the Middle Pleistocene until today.

Geographical Location of Schöningen (Serangeli, 2018) Therefore, researchers from several different institutes and disciplines have been collecting data here for more than 25 years. These studies not only take place on the basis of singular cores, but also mainly in the context of long cross sections through the mine reflecting large landscape areas and biotopes. The quantity as well as the quality of the finds is unique. The Lower Palaeolithic complex includes wooden artefacts, stone artefacts, bones with impact scars and cut marks as well as bone artefacts, charcoal, charred wood and heated flint. Moreover, the countless natural remains of plants (e.g. wood, seeds, roots and leaves), bones, eggshells, molluscs, insects, and microscopic organisms can be used as proxies to understand the landscape and climatic development in Central Europe during the Upper Middle Pleistocene.

Schöningen provides the data from changing environments with rich biodiversity which Homo heidelbergensis adapted to over a period of thousands of years. Thus it offers new insights into the evolution of the capacities and mechanisms involved in the exploitation of resources and the settlements dynamics.

The Project Schöningen from an ecological and cultural perspective

Jordi Serangeli, Bárbara Rodríguez-Álvarez, Mario Tucci, Ivo Verheijen, Gerlinde Bigga, Utz Böhner, Brigitte Urban, Thijs van Kolfschoten, Nicholas J.Conard

DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.08.020