Migration, diet and health of the first permanent settlers of Belgium. Inter- and multidisciplinary perspectives. The aim of this GOA project is to generate regional-scale insights into the lifeways of the first modern humans to settle permanently in Belgium during the Final Palaeolithic and Mesolithic. It achieves this through multi- and inter-disciplinary analysis of contextualised data from archaeological, palaeontological and anthropological assemblages whilst developing state-of-the-art analytical techniques in the fields of proteomics and stable isotope analysis.
This project aims thus to generate regional-scale, multi- and inter-disciplinary insights into the mobility and lifeways of the first modern humans to settle permanently in southern Belgium. Despite the plethora of studies on the extinction of Neanderthals and the first colonisation by anatomically modern humans (AMHs) and on the transition to farming and migration of the first farmers from the Near East towards western Europe, the lifeways of modern humans as hunter-gatherers in between these two events, corresponding to the Final Palaeolithic (Late Glacial) and Mesolithic (Early Holocene) in this region is greatly ignored.
Nevertheless, it represents a crucial phase for better understanding the permanent re-colonisation of northern Europe after the last ice age. This project adopts a cross-disciplinary approach that will combine data from bioarchaeology (anthropology), archaeology, zooarchaeology, stable isotope analyses, proteomics, radiocarbon dating, and ancient DNA. Our innovative multidisciplinary research approach will revolutionise our understanding of these communities, provide a much-needed framework against which to map the preceding and succeeding time periods, and set the peopling of Belgium into a European context.