Pedro Horta, Gruta do Escoural, Portugal 2020

Algarve Archaeological Association October talk

Dissecting the latest discoveries from Bacho Kiro Cave (Bulgaria): Understanding the first (human) Europeans

We are pleased to announce that the Algarve Archaeological Association (AAA) is resuming its monthly lectures in October. On Tuesday, October 12, the AAA will be presenting two lectures, in English, by Pedro Horta. The first lecture will be at 2.30pm at the Museu do Traje in São Brás, and the second lecture will be at 6pm at the Convento de São José in Lagoa.

Pedro Horta will be talking about the latest archaeological discoveries regarding the earliest human immigration into Europe. Humans as a species (Homo sapiens) appeared sometime in the middle late Pleistocene in Africa.

The finds in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, have pushed the date of the emergence of modern humans as early as 300,000 years ago (Hublin et al., 2017). From that moment onwards, humans started to expand their territory throughout Africa and soon after into Eurasia, slowly replacing the earliest species that populated these areas.

Recent discoveries in Bacho Kiro Cave in Bulgaria have revealed the earliest human occupation in Europe at around 45,000 years ago (Hublin et al., 2020), in other words, the first Human Europeans. Interestingly, the site has been excavated for nearly a century and also has evidence of Neanderthal presence. Nevertheless, this discovery marks one of the most important archaeological finds in the last decade and serves as an important key towards unravelling the mysteries of the arrival of humans into a Neanderthal Europe.

Serving as a continuation of previous talks, (“Modern Humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans” and “The emergence and expansion of Modern Humans throughout the Old World”), this talk will explore the recent finds in Bacho Kiro. It will take into consideration the most current data available in the literature and will discuss the life of the first humans in Europe.

In a moment where immigration to Europe is at its highest peak in decades, it is interesting to reflect on who the first human Europeans were and where they came from.

Pedro Horta is a Palaeolithic archaeologist interested in the evolution of hominin adaptation and migration strategies from the earliest stone tool industries to the more complex stone tools used by modern humans. He is currently a PhD student and a Research fellow at ICArEHB, University of Algarve, where he completed his MA and BA. His ongoing PhD project is generating new data on how bipolar stone tool strategies impacted the arrival and settlement of early modern humans in Europe.

He has participated in a number of Palaeolithic fieldwork projects in Europe and North and Southeastern Africa. Currently, he is involved with projects in Portugal (Vale Boi, Gruta da Companheira, Torre da Fuzeta and Gruta do Escoural), France (Abri Pataud) and Bulgaria (Bacho Kiro). All of these are focused on hominin adaptations just prior to and after the arrival of modern humans in Europe, a subject which Horta has mainly focused and published on.

Non-members are welcome to attend AAA lectures for a €5 admission fee, with all money raised by the AAA being used for archaeological grants and speakers.

algarvearchass@gmail.com | arquealgarve.weebly.com | Facebook: ‘Algarve Archaeological Association’ (check the website or Facebook page for any last-minute changes)

By JANE ROBERTSON

Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria
Photo: N. Zahariev
Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria
Photo: Tsenka Tsanova
Pedro Horta, Gruta do Escoural, Portugal 2020