Opendata, web and dolomites


Mid-Pleistocene environments of the lower Vaal River

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "MINERVA" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: KIEL
postcode: 24118

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Total cost 162˙806 €
 EC max contribution 162˙806 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2018
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-RI
 Starting year 2019
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2019-05-01   to  2021-04-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

The project ‘MinErVa: Mid-Pleistocene Environments of the lower Vaal River’ seeks a multidisciplinary perspective on the effects of environmental change on human evolution by examining the palaeoenvironmental context of the first anatomically modern humans in the arid interior of southern Africa (c. 300-100ka). The MinErVa project is focused around the archaeological site of Pniel, an Early Middle Stone Age open-air site on the Vaal River that I have been excavating for two seasons since 2017. The site is located in an area with fossil evidence for early human evolution, however, there is a lack of terrestrial proxy records to reconstruct climate and environment during this time period. Specifically, the project will test the hypothesis that the local environment included phases of persistent wetness and significant biome shifts, caused by increased winter rainfall, though carbon and oxygen stable isotope analysis on herbivore teeth. Furthermore, MinErVa will apply innovative carbon and hydrogen stable isotope analysis on leaf wax n-alkanes in sediment to reconstruct vegetation and palaeohydrology. In a synthesis with isotopic, zooarchaeological, geomorphological, phytolith and lithic data sets recovered from my ongoing excavations, this project will explore how the first Homo sapiens were adapting to their environment. The project offers scope for testing the application of stable isotope analysis of leaf wax isotopes in sediment for the first time in a terrestrial context of this antiquity on South Africa and will therefore offer unique training to the applicant in a novel method which can has the scope to establish new proxy records in a region where there is a distinct lack of them.

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The information about "MINERVA" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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