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Francesco d'Errico

Francesco d'Errico
CNRS-University of Bordeaux · UMR PACEA

PhD, HDR

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389
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Publications

Publications (389)
Article
Full-text available
It has been suggested that engraved abstract patterns dating from the Middle and Lower Palaeolithic served as means of representation and communication. Identifying the brain regions involved in visual processing of these engravings can provide insights into their function. In this study, brain activity was measured during perception of the earlies...
Article
Border Cave (BC) has accumulated over 200,000 years of archaeological deposits that document remarkable evidence of human behaviour during the Middle and Later Stone Age. For nearly fifty years, researchers have relied on the stratigraphic framework established by Peter Beaumont in 1973, in which the deposits are lithostratigraphically categorized...
Article
In 2015, which marked 35 years since Beaumont had worked at the site, we renewed excavations at Border Cave. Our primary aims were to reassess the stratigraphic context of the sedimentary and cultural sequence, gain insight into site formation processes, make a detailed study of organic remains, identify long term cultural trends, and characterize...
Article
Full-text available
Homo sapiens was present in northern Asia by around 40,000 years ago, having replaced archaic populations across Eurasia after episodes of earlier population expansions and interbreeding1–4. Cultural adaptations of the last Neanderthals, the Denisovans and the incoming populations of H. sapiens into Asia remain unknown1,5–7. Here we describe Xiamab...
Article
Full-text available
Paint technology, namely paint preparation and application procedures, is an important aspect of painting traditions. With the expansion of archaeometric studies and in situ non-destructive analytical methods, a renewal of technological studies is being observed in rock art. In situ analyses have several limitations that are widely discussed in the...
Article
Extraordinary preservation of plant remains provides an insight into the construction and materials of bedding at Border Cave, South Africa. Towards the back of the cave there are particularly thick layers of desiccated and charred grass and our botanical study is from bulk samples of these approximately 60,000 to 40,000 year-old layers (Members 3...
Preprint
Full-text available
It has been suggested that engraved abstract patterns dating from the Middle and Lower Palaeolithic served as means of representation and communication. Identifying the brain regions involved in visual processing of these engravings can provide insights into their function. In this study, brain activity was measured during perception of the earlies...
Article
Full-text available
RESUMEN Border Cave es una cueva ubicada en las montañas de Lebombo, en la frontera entre la región de KwaZulu-Natal (Sudáfrica) y Esuatini. Las excavaciones arqueológicas se iniciaron en 1934, se retomaron en los 70’ y el sitio vuelve a investigarse en la actualidad. Border Cave es una ventana al conocimiento de la prehistoria sudafricana debido a...
Article
Personal ornaments have become a key cultural proxy to investigate cognitive evolution, modern human dispersal, and population dynamics. Here, we reassess personal ornaments found at Zhoukoudian Upper Cave and compare them with those from other Late Paleolithic Northern Chinese sites. We reappraise the information provided by Pei Wen Chung on Upper...
Data
Supplementary Online Material for the article: Errico, Francesco d’, Africa Pitarch Martí, Yi Wei, Xing Gao, Marian Vanhaeren, and Luc Doyon. “Zhoukoudian Upper Cave Personal Ornaments and Ochre: Rediscovery and Reevaluation.” Journal of Human Evolution 161 (2021): 103088. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2021.103088.
Chapter
Insects are of interest to forensic scientists, because they enable them to reconstruct length of body exposure, a subsequent sequence of decomposition events, and local environment. Relatively little attention has been paid to insects and other invertebrates as agents of bone modification. In order to rectify this, we conducted mostly laboratory e...
Article
Full-text available
Gruta do Caldeirão features a c. 6 m-thick archaeological stratification capped by Holocene layers ABC-D and Ea, which overlie layer Eb, a deposit of Magdalenian age that underwent significant disturbance, intrusion, and component mixing caused by funerary use of the cave during the Early Neolithic. Here, we provide an updated overview of the strat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The origin and development of osseous technology remains poorly documented to this day. From the first evidence of utilized bone fragments in East and South Africa, some ~2Myr ago, until the appearance of formal bone tools ~90 ka in Africa, and ~45 ka in the rest of the Old World, the archaeological record provides a limited number of specimens sca...
Article
Full-text available
Cueva de Ardales in Málaga, Spain, is one of the richest and best-preserved Paleolithic painted caves of southwestern Europe, containing over a thousand graphic representations. Here, we study the red pigment in panel II.A.3 of "Sala de las Estrellas," dated by U-Th to the Middle Paleolithic, to determine its composition, verify its anthropogenic n...
Article
Bone tool-use by Early Pleistocene hominins is at the centre of debates in human evolution. It is especially the case in South Africa, where 102 bone tools have been described from four Early Stone Age archaeological sites, which have yielded Oldowan and possibly Acheulean artefacts, as well as Paranthropus robustus and early Homo remains. Here we...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The origin and development of osseous technology remains a central focus to palaeoanthropological studies. Recognizing expedient bone tools, however, is not easy as many taphonomic processes converge to produce confounding modifications on faunal remains. Understanding what was their function is even more difficult owing to the limited number of st...
Article
Cueva de Ardales in Málaga, Spain, is one of the richest and bestpreserved Paleolithic painted caves of southwestern Europe, containing over a thousand graphic representations. Here, we study the red pigment in panel II.A.3 of “Sala de las Estrellas,” dated by U-Th to the Middle Paleolithic, to determine its composition, verify its anthropogenic na...
Article
Full-text available
The origin and evolution of hominin mortuary practices are topics of intense interest and debate1–3. Human burials dated to the Middle Stone Age (MSA) are exceedingly rare in Africa and unknown in East Africa1–6. Here we describe the partial skeleton of a roughly 2.5- to 3.0-year-old child dating to 78.3 ± 4.1 thousand years ago, which was recovere...
Article
Full-text available
Activities attested since at least 2.6 Myr, such as stone knapping, marrow extraction, and woodworking may have allowed early hominins to recognize the technological potential of discarded skeletal remains and equipped them with a transferable skillset fit for the marginal modification and utilization of bone flakes. Identifying precisely when and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Carving a figurine requires the ability to mentally visualize a volume in matter and create symmetries in a three-dimensional space. During the Paleolithic, such objects were likely made to be transported, curated, manipulated, and hung on clothing. Thus far, no instances of three-dimensional portable art were documented in East Asia before the Neo...
Article
Full-text available
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-84805-6 Neanderthals have often been seen as populations that sought refuge in southern regions of Europe during ice ages and whose ultimate disappearance could be attributed to their inability to adapt to climate change. An international team of archaeologists, ecologists, and climate modelers refute thi...
Article
In southern Africa, key technologies and symbolic behaviors develop as early as the later Middle Stone Age in MIS5. These innovations arise independently in various places, contexts and forms, until their full expression during the Still Bay and the Howiesons Poort. The Middle Stone Age sequence from Diepkloof Rock Shelter, on the West Coast of the...
Article
Full-text available
Neuroarchaeology is an expanding research field that applies functional brain imaging techniques to participants in order to identify the cerebral regions involved in the production or perception of artefacts produced by past hominins. Neuroarchaeology allows making inferences about hominin cognitive abilities with regards to language, praxis, and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Activities attested since at least 2.6 Myr, such as stone knapping, marrow extraction, and woodworking may have allowed early hominins to recognize the technological potential of discarded skeletal remains and equipped them with a transferable skillset fit for the marginal modification and utilization of bone flakes. Identifying precisely when and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Activities attested since at least 2.6 Myr, such as stone knapping, marrow extraction, and woodworking may have allowed early hominins to recognize the technological potential of discarded skeletal remains and equipped them with a transferable skillset fit for the marginal modification and utilization of bone flakes. Identifying precisely when and...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental parameters constrain the distributions of plant and animal species. A key question is to what extent does environment influence human behavior. Decreasing linguistic diversity from the equator towards the poles suggests that ecological factors influence linguistic geography. However, attempts to quantify the role of environmental fact...
Article
Early plant use is seldom described in the archaeological record because of poor preservation. We report the discovery of grass bedding used to create comfortable areas for sleeping and working by people who lived in Border Cave at least 200,000 years ago. Sheaves of grass belonging to the broad-leafed Panicoideae subfamily were placed near the bac...
Article
Full-text available
The recent identification of cave paintings dated to 42–40 ka BP in Borneo and Sulawesi highlights the antiquity of painted representations in this region. However, no instances of three-dimensional portable art, well attested in Europe since at least 40 ka BP, were documented thus far in East Asia prior to the Neolithic. Here, we report the discov...
Article
African Middle Stone Age (MSA) populations used pigments, manufactured and wore personal ornaments, made abstract engravings, and produced fully shaped bone tools. However, ongoing research across Africa reveals variability in the emergence of cultural innovations in the MSA and their subsequent development through the Later Stone Age (LSA). When p...
Article
Marine food–reliant subsistence systems such as those in the African Middle Stone Age (MSA) were not thought to exist in Europe until the much later Mesolithic. Whether this apparent lag reflects taphonomic biases or behavioral distinctions between archaic and modern humans remains much debated. Figueira Brava cave, in the Arrábida range (Portugal)...
Article
Plant carbohydrates were undoubtedly consumed in antiquity, yet starchy geophytes were seldom preserved archaeologically. We report evidence for geophyte exploitation by early humans from at least 170,000 years ago. Charred rhizomes from Border Cave, South Africa, were identified to the genus Hypoxis L. by comparing the morphology and anatomy of an...
Article
The Neurovisual Resonance Theory (NRT) proposes a framework for interpreting the earliest abstract engravings. It postulates that the first engraved marks produced by hominins reflected preferences of the early visual cortex for simple geometric patterns and served aesthetic rather than symbolic purposes. In a recent article published in this journ...
Article
Located in the KwaZulu-Natal, 15 km from the coast, Sibudu has yielded twenty-three marine gastropods, nine of which are perforated. At 70.5 ± 2.0 ka, in a Still Bay Industry, there is a cluster of perforated Afrolittorina africana shells, one of which has red ochre stains. There is also a perforated Mancinella capensis and some unperforated shells...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Middle to Late Pleistocene transition is shaping up to be a critical period for hominin evolution and dispersals as well as behavioural development in many regions of the Old World. Yet, relatively little is known about hominin behavioural variability in vast regions of the globe such as East Asia. In China, for example, behavioural variability...
Article
Full-text available
The use of colouring materials by Neanderthals has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years. Here we present a taphonomic, technological, chemical-mineralogical and functional analysis of fifty-four manganese rich lumps recovered during past and on-going excavations at the lower rockshelter of Le Moustier (Dordogne, France). We compare c...
Article
Full-text available
The production of abstract engravings is considered an indicator of modern human cognition and a means for the long-term recording and transmission of information. This article reports the discovery of two engraved bones from the Lingjing site in Henan Province, China, dated to 105–125 kya. The carefully engraved nature of the incisions, made on we...
Data
The Online Supplementary Materials include: 1) A referenced database of early engravings from Africa and Eurasia; 2) A detailed description of the Lingjing site; 3) A extended description of the materials and methods used in the study; 4) Data gathered during the taphonomic analysis; 5) Morphometric and technological data on the Lingjing engraved...
Article
Full-text available
The earliest human graphic productions, consisting of abstract patterns engraved on a variety of media, date to the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic. They are associated with anatomically modern and archaic hominins. The nature and significance of these engravings are still under question. To address this issue, we used functional magnetic resonance i...
Article
Neanderthal material culture patterning in Western Europe has been primarily approached from retouched stone tools and associated flake production methods. While considerable effort has been devoted over the past decade to better characterize Middle Palaeolithic lithic techno-complexes (LTCs) in this region, the extent to which they reflect cultura...
Presentation
Full-text available
The production of abstract engravings is considered an indicator of modern cognition and a mean for recording and transmitting information in a durable manner. Few abstract engravings were discovered at archaeological sites predating the African Later Stone Age and the European Upper Palaeolithic. No convincing evidence of such behaviour is known f...
Article
Full-text available
Island Southeast Asia (ISEA)is a key region for the study of human evolution. New fossil and archaeological evidence, from several islands, suggests an Early to Middle Pleistocene colonisation date by hominins. A taphonomic framework, however, such as that exists for Africa, is currently lacking, and taphonomical studies of ISEA vertebrate assembla...
Preprint
Full-text available
The earliest human graphic productions dating to the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic are associated with anatomically modern and archaic hominins. These productions, which consist of abstract patterns engraved on a variety of media, may have been used as symbols, and their emergence is thought to be associated with the evolution of the properties of...
Data
This data includes: 1) A complete technological description of the needles assemblage from Shuidonggou Locality 12 (SDG12) and the associated manufacturing by-products; 2) A detailed description of the lithic and faunal remains found at SDG12; and 3) A database of Eurasian and North American Pleistocene sites that have yielded bone needles.
Article
Full-text available
When, how, and following which paths hominins created the innovations that allowed them to colonize regions of the planet that were not suited to their thermal physiology is still a matter of inquiry. In this paper, we elaborate a theoretical framework to investigate the origin and diversification of bone needles, summarize the evidence for their e...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract and depictive representations produced by drawing-known from Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia after 40,000 years ago-are a prime indicator of modern cognition and behaviour1. Here we report a cross-hatched pattern drawn with an ochre crayon on a ground silcrete flake recovered from approximately 73,000-year-old Middle Stone Age levels at...
Article
New excavations at Border Cave use high-resolution techniques, including FT-IR, for sediment samples and thin sections of micromorphology blocks from stratigraphy. These show that sediments have different moisture regimes, both spatially and chronologically. The site preserves desiccated grass bedding in multiple layers and they, along with seeds,...
Article
New excavations at Border Cave use high-resolution techniques, including FT-IR, for sediment samples and thin sections of micromorphology blocks from stratigraphy. These show that sediments have different moisture regimes, both spatially and chronologically. The site preserves desiccated grass bedding in multiple layers and they, along with seeds,...
Article
On the basis of recent advancements in both neuroscience and archaeology, we propose a plausible biocultural mechanism at the basis of cultural evolution. The proposed mechanism, which relies on the notions of cultural exaptation and cultural neural reuse, may account for the asynchronous, discontinuous, and patchy emergence of innovations around t...
Article
Self‐ornamentation is an indicator of self‐perception and an effective means of communication. Recent archaeological discoveries have demonstrated that the first beadworking traditions emerged in Africa and the Near East at least 100,000 years ago. These discoveries have challenged the traditional view associating this cultural innovation with the...
Article
It is often, though sometimes only implicitly, assumed that biological/genetic evolution sets neural substrates, that neural substrates fix cognitive abilities, and that cognitive abilities determine the spectrum of cultural practices exhibited by a biological species. We label this view as the “bottom‐up‐only” view. In this paper we will show that...