James Blinkhorn

James Blinkhorn
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History · Pan-African Evolution Research Group

DPhil

About

77
Publications
55,636
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
1,571
Citations
Citations since 2016
54 Research Items
1439 Citations
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250300
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250300
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250300
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250300
Additional affiliations
January 2013 - January 2015
Université Bordeaux 1
Position
  • Fondation Fyssen Post-Doctoral Fellow

Publications

Publications (77)
Article
Full-text available
Recent archaeological investigations in Sri Lanka have reported evidence for the exploita- tion and settlement of tropical rainforests by Homo sapiens since c. 48,000 BP. Information on technological approaches used by human populations in rainforest habitats is restricted to two cave sites, Batadomba-lena and Fa-Hien Lena. Here, we provide detaile...
Article
Full-text available
South Asia hosts the world’s youngest Acheulean sites, with dated records typically restricted to sub-humid landscapes. The Thar Desert marks a major adaptive boundary between monsoonal Asia to the east and the Saharo-Arabian desert belt to the west, making it a key threshold to examine patterns of hominin ecological adaptation and its impacts on p...
Article
Full-text available
Pleistocene hominin dispersals out of, and back into, Africa necessarily involved traversing the diverse and often challenging environments of Southwest Asia 1–4 . Archaeological and palaeontological records from the Levantine woodland zone document major biological and cultural shifts, such as alternating occupations by Homo sapiens and Neandertha...
Preprint
Full-text available
Eastern Africa has played a prominent role in debates about human evolution and dispersal due to the presence of rich archaeological, palaeoanthropological and palaeoenvironmental records. However, substantial disconnects occur between the spatial and temporal resolutions of these data that complicate their integration. Here, we apply high-resoluti...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of modern carnivore accumulations of bone (i.e., neo-taphonomy) are crucial for interpreting fossil accumulations in the archaeological and paleontological records. Yet, studies in arid regions have been limited in both number and detailed taphonomic data, prohibiting our understanding of carnivore bone-accumulating and -modifying behavior...
Article
Full-text available
Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5, ~ 130 to 71 thousand years ago, was a key period for the geographic expansion of Homo sapiens, including engagement with new landscapes within Africa and dispersal into Asia. Occupation of the Levant by Homo sapiens in MIS 5 is well established, while recent research has documented complementary evidence in Arabia. Her...
Article
Full-text available
The long-standing debate concerning the integrity of the cultural taxonomies employed by archaeologists has recently been revived by renewed theoretical attention and the application of new methodological tools. The analyses presented here test the integrity of the cultural taxonomic division between Middle and Later Stone Age assemblages in easter...
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
The Middle to Later Stone Age transition is a critical period of human behavioral change that has been variously argued to pertain to the emergence of modern cognition, substantial population growth, and major dispersals of Homo sapiens within and beyond Africa. However, there is little consensus about when the transition occurred, the geographic p...
Article
Full-text available
Neanderthals occurred widely across north Eurasian landscapes, but between ~ 70 and 50 thousand years ago (ka) they expanded southwards into the Levant, which had previously been inhabited by Homo sapiens. Palaeoanthropological research in the first half of the twentieth century demonstrated alternate occupations of the Levant by Neanderthal and Ho...
Article
Full-text available
The African Middle Stone Age (MSA, typically considered to span ca. 300–30 thousand years ago [ka]), represents our species’ first and longest lasting cultural phase. Although the MSA to Later Stone Age (LSA) transition is known to have had a degree of spatial and temporal variability, recent studies have implied that in some regions, the MSA persi...
Article
Full-text available
The Middle Stone Age (MSA) corresponds to a critical phase in human evolution, overlapping with the earliest emergence of Homo sapiens as well as the expansions of these populations across and beyond Africa. Within the context of growing recognition for a complex and structured population history across the continent, Eastern Africa remains a criti...
Article
Chronometrically dated Pleistocene records of human occupations of West Africa are rare but offer critical information with which to explore patterns of human origins and adaptation both within the region and more widely across the continent. A number of Middle Stone Age sites are known from the larger river valleys of West Africa, but recent work...
Article
Full-text available
The global distribution of modern humans is unparalleled amongst other terrestrial fauna and explaining how we have become so uniquely successful is a topic of major debate in palaeoanthropology. Examining how past populations engaged and adapted to new ecologies, rather than just when and where they first appear in the fossil record, can best be r...
Article
The Thar Desert, located in western South Asia, marks a major global biogeographic boundary and a major adaptive threshold for the eastward expansions of modern humans from Africa across Asia. Examining the framework of palaeoenvironmental change in this region, both in terms of the regional manifestation of global climate change and the physical g...
Article
The pandemic will allow us to fundamentally remodel the way field-based sciences are taught, conducted and funded — but only if we stop waiting for a ‘return to normal’.
Article
Full-text available
The Middle to Later Stone Age transition marks a major change in how Late Pleistocene African populations produced and used stone tool kits, but is manifest in various ways, places and times across the continent. Alongside changing patterns of raw material use and decreasing artefact sizes, changes in artefact types are commonly employed to differe...
Article
Sri Lanka has produced the earliest clear evidence for Homo sapiens fossils in South Asia and research in the region has provided important insights into modern human adaptations and cultural practices during the last ca. 45,000 years. However, in-depth multidisciplinary analyses of Late Pleistocene and Holocene sequences remain limited to just two...
Article
Full-text available
The appearance of hafting technologies marks a key shift in hominin behavioural evolution. Hafting first appears in Africa and Western Eurasia across the transition from Late Acheulean to Middle Palaeolithic technologies ~ 300–200 thousand years ago (ka). Hafting technology in South Asia may have emerged as a result of a local innovation, through c...
Article
South Asia has a rich Palaeolithic heritage, and chronological resolution for this record has substantially improved over the past decade as a result of focused, interdisciplinary research at a number of key sites. Expanding the spatial diversity of dated Palaeolithic sites in South Asia grows increasingly important to examine how patterns of chang...
Article
Full-text available
Microliths–small, retouched, often-backed stone tools–are often interpreted to be the product of composite tools, including projectile weapons, and efficient hunting strategies by modern humans. In Europe and Africa these lithic toolkits are linked to hunting of medium- and large-sized game found in grassland or woodland settings, or as adaptations...
Article
The ecological adaptations that stimulated the dispersal and technological strategies of our species during the Late Pleistocene remain hotly disputed, with some influential theories focusing on grassland biomes or marine resources as key drivers behind the rapid expansion and material culture innovations of Homo sapiens within and beyond Africa. H...
Article
Full-text available
Defining the distinctive capacities of Homo sapiens relative to other hominins is a major focus for human evolutionary studies. It has been argued that the procurement of small, difficult-to-catch, agile prey is a hallmark of complex behavior unique to our species; however, most research in this regard has been limited to the last 20,000 years in E...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract The Acheulean is the longest lasting cultural–technological tradition in human evolutionary history. However, considerable gaps remain in understanding the chronology and geographical distribution of Acheulean hominins. We present the first chronometrically dated Acheulean site from the Arabian Peninsula, a vast and poorly known region tha...
Article
Full-text available
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0200497.].
Article
Archaeobotanical evidence from two Early Historic sites in Sri Lanka, Kantharodai and Kirinda, is reported, providing significant evidence for agricultural diversity beyond the cultivation of rice. These data highlight the potential of systematic archaeobotanical sampling for macro-remains in tropical environments to contribute to the understanding...
Article
Full-text available
Despite occupying a central geographic position, investigations of hominin populations in the Arabian Peninsula during the Lower Palaeolithic period are rare. The colonization of Eurasia below 55 degrees latitude indicates the success of the genus Homo in the Early and Middle Pleistocene, but the extent to which these hominins were capable of innov...
Data
Statistical tests of Whalen excavation artefacts. (XLSX)
Article
Full-text available
The Middle Stone Age (MSA) of eastern Africa has a long history of research and is accompanied by a rich fossil record, which, combined with its geographic location, have led it to play an important role in investigating the origins and expansions of Homo sapiens. Recent evidence has suggested an earlier appearance of our species, indicating a more...
Article
Full-text available
The originally published version of this Article contained an error in Fig. 3, whereby an additional unrelated graph was overlaid on top of the magnetic susceptibility plot. Furthermore, the Article title contained an error in the capitalisation of 'Stone Age'. Both of these errors have now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Ar...
Article
Full-text available
The Middle to Later Stone Age transition in Africa has been debated as a significant shift in human technological, cultural, and cognitive evolution. However, the majority of research on this transition is currently focused on southern Africa due to a lack of long-term, stratified sites across much of the African continent. Here, we report a 78,000...
Article
Examinations of modern human dispersals are typically focused on expansions from South, East or North Africa into Eurasia, with more limited attention paid to dispersals within Africa. The paucity of the West African fossil record means it has typically been overlooked in appraisals of human expansions in the Late Pleistocene, yet regions such as S...
Article
Full-text available
The Indian subcontinent lies on a key east-west corridor for hominin expansions across Asia, which has led to it playing a prominent role in debate surrounding the dispersal of modern humans. The current geography and ecology of the region consists of a diverse array of habitats. An examination of changes in monsoonal intensity indicates that geogr...
Article
Climate change is frequently highlighted as a key driver of biological evolution and cultural innovation in our species. It is often seen as influencing behavioural plasticity and the development of buffering mechanisms, for example in the form of more efficient technology and subsistence strategies. However, such hypotheses are yet to be studied i...
Article
Full-text available
The Indian Ocean coastline is argued to have been a critical route of modern human dispersal from Africa, introducing Late Palaeolithic industries into South Asia, but a dearth of evidence has prevented a direct evaluation of this. Kachchh (Gujarat, India), located immediately east of the Indus Delta, is an important setting to appraise the Palaeol...
Article
Full-text available
Late Pleistocene palaeoenvironments in the Thar Desert (India), located at the eastern extent of the Saharo-Arabian desert belt, have fluctuated considerably as a result of the varying range and intensity of the Indian summer monsoon. Phases of widespread Pleistocene aridity are well documented in the Thar Desert, but research focusing on humid pro...
Article
The importance of Africa in human origins is widely recognised, yet knowledge remains strongly biased towards certain regions of the continent at the expense of others. West Africa in particular is a vast area with extremely limited archaeological, environmental and fossil records. In this paper, we contribute towards redressing this imbalance thou...
Article
Full-text available
Quantitative, attribute-based analyses of stone tools (lithics) have been frequently used to facilitate large-scale comparative studies, attempt to mitigate problems of assemblage completeness and address interpretations of the co-occurrence of unrelated technological processes. However, a major barrier to the widespread acceptance of such methods...
Article
Full-text available
Point technologies form a key component of Middle Palaeolithic and Middle Stone Age industries across the Old World. However, only limited attention has been paid to the appearance of point technologies in the South Asian context. Two recent studies have indicated that the lack of Indian point technologies that are analogous to those known from the...
Article
The dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa has been extensively researched across several disciplines. Here we review the evidence for spatial and temporal variability in lithic (stone tool) technologies relative to the predictions of two major hypotheses: 1) that a single successful dispersal occurred 60–50 thousand years ago (ka), marked by a tr...
Article
Full-text available
New evidence is presented for the earliest occurrence of ostrich (Struthio sp.) in India during the Late Pleistocene along with a synthesis on the evidence for ostrich populations in the subcontinent. Direct dating of ostrich eggshell using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon methods on excavated samples from Katoati, Rajasthan, India i...
Article
The Indian subcontinent contains a number of volcanic ash deposits representing the Youngest Toba Tuff (YTT) volcanic eruption of 75,000 years ago, though relatively few localities have been reported in detail. Here, we identify tephra deposits in the Sagileru Valley, south India, in association with Palaeolithic industries. The glass shard and bio...
Article
Full-text available
Neumayer Erwin . Prehistoric rock art of India. 304 pages, 1011 colour and b&w illustrations. 2013. New Delhi: Oxford University Press; 978-0-19-806098-7 hardback £115. - Volume 88 Issue 341 - James Blinkhorn
Article
Full-text available
Significance Mammalian extinction during the past several hundred thousand years has been a major focus for evolutionary biologists, geologists, and archaeologists, often being linked to climate change and human overhunting. Until relatively recently, study has been largely restricted to the Americas, Europe, and Australasia. We present the oldest...
Article
Full-text available
The dominance of erosional sedimentary processes in desert regions results in Palaeolithic records rich in surface scatters. Engaging with this abundant archaeological resource, including incorporating them within absolute chronologies or schemes of environmental variability, is critical to understanding hominin habitation in arid landscapes. Exten...