As many of you are aware, our newest grant program is the Engaged Anthropology Grant, a special initiative we began to help anthropologists bring their research “home” to the communities that hosted them during their time in the field. Scholars who have previously been awarded either the Dissertation Fieldwork Grant or the Post-PhD Grant are eligible, with awardees receiving up to $5,000 to return to their fieldsite and share the results of their Wenner-Gren funded project in a productive way with the local community.
The first completed Engaged Anthropology Grant belongs to Post-PhD grantee Dr. Liubov Golovanova of St. Petersburg’s Labratory of Prehistory, who received funding in 2009 to aid research on ““The Study of Settlement Dynamics in the Middle/Upper Paleolithic in Northwestern Caucasus”. Below is the report prepared by Dr. Golovanova, as per the requirements of the Engaged Anthropology Grant.
The Engaged Anthropology Grant was granted by the Wenner-Gren Foundation to Dr. L. Golovanova for the project, “Public lectures about environmental and cultural dynamics in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic in Caucasus”, to disseminate the newest results of Wenner-Gren funded research awarded to the grantee in 2004, 2006, and 2011 to local academic and university communities in the Northwestern Caucasus.
In 2011, the Wenner-Gren Foundation granted to Dr. L.Golovanova a Post-Ph.D. Research Grant #8389 for the project, “The Study of Settlement Dynamics in the Middle/Upper Paleolithic in Northwestern Caucasus”. The research focused on the study of natural (climate and environment) and social (behavior and adaptations) factors that were favorable and could rule settlement dynamics of Neanderthal and anatomically modern human (AMH) populations in the region. The study indicated that the most crucial factors that supported the Paleolithic hominid occupation of mountain environments in the Northwestern Caucasus were favorable climatic and environmental conditions. The project has provided new data in support of the relationship between the paleovolcanism and the Neanderthal disappearance and for understanding of differences/similarities between survival systems of Neanderthals and modern humans in the region. After the most powerful volcanic eruption at about 40 kyr ago, the Middle Paleolithic Neanderthals disappear and a high-developed Early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) industry produced most likely by AMH groups first appears in the Northwestern Caucasus. The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) breaks the development of Upper Paleolithic in the region. After the LGM, favorable conditions of a climatic optimum (dated 17000-13000 14C yr BP), with climate warmer than today, promoted the increase of number of occupations and growth of mobility of Epipaleolithic human groups. The Wenner-Gren Post-Ph.D. Research Grant #8389 was a logical continuation of the previous Post-Ph.D. research projects, “The Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition in the Western Caucasus” (Grant #7176) and “Significance of ecological factors in the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition” (Grant #7463), sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation to the grantee in 2004 and 2006, respectively.
Upon the Engaged Anthropology Grant project, the grantee visited several major universities, museums, and research institutions in the Northwestern Caucasus. The grantee presented a series of public lectures to local academic scholars and faculties, both historians and archaeologists, and student communities to share the results of the last ten years of her research in the region and also to report most recent information about the earliest stages of human evolution and culture development. The lectures have been presented as PowerPoint presentations, on the following topics:
1. Environmental and cultural dynamics in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic of Caucasus.
2. Volcanism, the Neanderthal disappearance, and the spread of early modern humans.
3. Significance of ecological factors in the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition.
4. Cultural innovations and environmental dynamics in the Upper Paleolithic of Caucasus.
5. Settlement dynamics in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic in the Northwestern Caucasus.
In Maikop (the capital of Adigeya Republic), the grantee presented a lecture, “Settlement dynamics in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic in the Northwestern Caucasus”, to academic scholars of the Adigeayn National Museum and the Adigeayn Scientific-Research Institute of History, Language, and Literature. Also in Maikop, the grantee presented a lecture, “Environmental and cultural dynamics in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic of Caucasus” to faculties and students of Historical Faculty of the Adigeayn State University. For almost 30 years, students of this university had archaeological practice in the North-Caucasian Paleolithic expedition lead by Dr. Golovanova and participated in many her field projects in the Northwestern Caucasus. The grantee also presented a lecture to faculties and students in Faculty of ecology of Maikop State Technological University
In Krasnodar (the capital of Krasnodar Krai), the grantee presented a lecture to academic scholars, faculties, personal, and students of the Kuban State University, the Krasnodar State History-Archaeological Museum-Reserve, and the Authority for protection of monuments of history and culture. Local academic scholars and faculty, historians and archaeologists, in particularly, as well as students are interested in getting more recent information about the earliest stages of human evolution and culture development.
The grantee presented a lecture, “Environmental and cultural dynamics in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic of Caucasus”, to academic scholars and students of History-Archaeological and Paleontological Museum-Reserve in Azov, the Pedagogical University in Armavir, and the Karachay-Cherkessian Republican Scientific-Research Institute of History, Language, and Literature, Karachay-Cherkessian Republican Museum-Reserve, and the Authority for cultural heritage protection in Cherkessk. In Cherkessk (the capital of Karachay-Cherkessia Republic), the lecture took place in the Rebublic Public Library, thanks to significant organization activities of the former assistant director of the Karachay-Cherkessian Republican Museum-Reserve L. Dolechek and the director of the Authority for cultural heritage protection L. Dolechek. After each lecture, the grantee presented compact discs with most recent publications on the topic to local academic scholars and faculties, and to libraries.
See more photos from Dr. Golovanova’s trip on our facebook page.