W2 Professor and Lise Meitner Group Leader of the Pan African
Research Group, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

The Demographic Context for Modern Human Dispersals

I was the Principal Investigator of this project, which was funded by the British Academy of Arts and Social Sciences. Through this project, I explored the temporal and spatial relationships between stone tools and palaeoclimates in North Africa between ~300-30 thousand years ago (ka), and their articulation with human dispersals. North Africa occupies a critical space between sub-Saharan Africa and Eurasia, which hominins had to cross in order to exit the continent. Significantly, dramatic climatic oscillations, affecting the expansion and contraction of the Sahara Desert calibrates the timing of potential dispersals, making North Africa particularly conducive to understanding such demographic processes. The presence in North Africa, of among the earliest examples of regional technological diversification and ‘symbolic’ material culture, also makes this region the perfect laboratory for understanding the factors driving social, and hence material culture, changes. 

Collaborators include: Professor Nick Drake (Kings College London), Professor Mark Thomas (University College London), Professor Irini Moustaki (London School of Economics), Dr Andrea Manica (University of Cambridge), Professor Mark Collage (Simon Fraser University), Dr Richard Jennings (Liverpool John Moores), Dr Huw Groucutt (University of Oxford), Professor Nick Barton (University of Oxford) and Professor Michael Petraglia (Max Planck Institute of the Science of Human History).


Scerri, E.M.L. & Spinapolice, E.E.A. Lithics of the North African Middle Stone Age. Journal of Anthropological Sciences. (In Press)

Groucutt, H.S., Scerri, E.M.L., Stringer, C., Petraglia, M.D. Skhul lithic technology and the dispersal of Homo sapiensinto Southwest Asia. Quaternary International (In Press)

Scerri, E.M.L. The North African Middle Stone Age and its place in recent human evolution. Evolutionary Anthropology 26 (3), 119-135 (2017).

Scerri, E.M.L. Le contexte démographique de la première dispersion des hommes modernes : une perspective de la Middle Stone Age de l’Afrique du Nord. Annales de la Fondation Fyssen 30161-171 (2017).

Scerri, E.M.L. Bridges and barriers: the Late Pleistocene demography of the Saharo-Arabian belt. In D. Agius, E. Khalil and E.M.L. Scerri (eds.), Proceedings of the Red Sea VI Conference. Brill Publishing: Leiden. pp. 69-88 (2017).

Campmas, E., Stoetzel, E., Oujaa, A., Scerri, E.M.L. Introduction to the special issue ‘The Role of North Africa in the Emergence and Development of Modern Behaviors: An Integrated Approach. ‘African Archaeological Review 34, 447–449 (2017).

Groucutt, H.S., Scerri, E.M.L., Lewis, L., Clark-Balzan, L., Blinkhorn, J., Jennings, R.P., Parton, A., Petraglia, M.D. Stone tool assemblages and models for the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. Quaternary International 382, 8-30 (2016).

Groucutt, H.S , Petraglia, M.D, Bailey, G., Scerri, E.M.L., Thomas, M.G, Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., Jennings, R., Lewis, L., Blinkhorn, J., Drake, N.A., Breeze, P., Boivin, N., Inglis, R.H., Devèsc, M.H., Meredith-Williams, M., Scally, A. Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. Evolutionary Anthropology 24, 149-164. doi:10.1002/evan.21455 (2015).

Scerri, E. M. L., Drake, N., Groucutt, H. S., Jennings, R. Earliest Evidence for the Structure of Homo sapiens Populations in Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 101, 207-216 (2014).

Scerri, E. M. L. On the spatial and technological organisation of hafting modifications in the North African Middle Stone Age. Journal of Archaeological Science 40, 4234-4248 (2013).

Scerri, E. M. L. The Aterian and its place in the North African Middle Stone Age. Quaternary International 300, 111-130 (2013).

Scerri, E. M. L. A New Stone Tool Assemblage Revisited: reconsidering the ‘Aterian’ in Arabia. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 42, 357-370 (2012).