Home / Research / Junior Research Group 2015-2019

  • Into the rift: fieldwork in the Afar basin of Ethiopia

The Junior Research Group of the DFG Center for Advanced Studies was established in 2015, with Dr. Yonatan Sahle as its leader. The broad research interest of the working group was anatomical and behavioral evolution across the emergence of Homo sapiens. The group worked on later Middle- and Late Pleistocene fossil hominin and archaeological remains from eastern Africa, mainly Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania.

The Junior Research Group had two doctoral students. Abel Bosman (M.Sc., University of Leiden) studied Middle-Late Pleistocene hominin remains from several contexts in eastern Africa. Specifically, he employed advanced techniques in virtual anthropology to reconstruct and analyze these fossils. He reconstructed Pleistocene hominin crania from Kenya and Tanzania. Dr. Hila Ashkenazy (Ph.D, University of Jerusalem) examined lithic assemblages from recently excavated cave sites in southeastern Ethiopia.

In addition to doctoral dissertation projects, the Junior Research Group was actively exploring for new Late Pleistocene paleoanthropological occurrences along the western margin of the Afar Rift, Ethiopia. These multidisciplinary explorations, led by Dr. Yonatan Sahle, involved several collaborators, including the DFG Center’s co-director Prof. Dr. Katerina Harvati. Explorations in parts of the region of interest yielded promising results.

As part of its aim to promote interdisciplinary dialogue, the Junior Research Group organized bi-weekly colloquia in the Center. The aim of these colloquia was to discuss current research in the four areas represented by the Center, thereby serving as a forum for new research ideas and interdisciplinary collaborations. A typical colloquium involved a talk by researchers based in the Center or invited guests, while published works of interest were also critically discussed.


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