The aim of this paper is to review the current knowledge on human settlement in Sicily during the lower Palaeolithic and its implications in the diffusion of Homo erectus in Europe. So far, evidences of the presence of Homo erectus are limited to scattered lithic artifacts, out of a clear stratigraphical context. However, useful data can be collected from the fossil mammal record, the palaeogeographical and the paleoecological restorations. Palaeontological, palaeogeographical and palaeoecological data indicate that during Lower Paleolithic Sicily was an archipelago of small islands, with reduced food availability. In particular, the recovered mammal faunas showed marked characters of insularity, such as low biodiversity, gigantism of small mammals and dwarfism of large mammals. In conclusion, if hunter-gatherer visited Sicily in the lower Paleolithic, they have found small islands with few animals: not a gateway but a very difficult passage to Europe. Moreover, the artifacts from the peninsular Italy at that time indicate sporadic, not stable settlements of Homo erectus. Although the settlement of Sicily during lower Palaeolithic needs to be confirmed by new data, if it took place it has been episodic and not influent in the population of Europe.

Did the first settlers of Sicily ever meet endemic faunas?

MARRA, Antonella Cinzia
2007

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to review the current knowledge on human settlement in Sicily during the lower Palaeolithic and its implications in the diffusion of Homo erectus in Europe. So far, evidences of the presence of Homo erectus are limited to scattered lithic artifacts, out of a clear stratigraphical context. However, useful data can be collected from the fossil mammal record, the palaeogeographical and the paleoecological restorations. Palaeontological, palaeogeographical and palaeoecological data indicate that during Lower Paleolithic Sicily was an archipelago of small islands, with reduced food availability. In particular, the recovered mammal faunas showed marked characters of insularity, such as low biodiversity, gigantism of small mammals and dwarfism of large mammals. In conclusion, if hunter-gatherer visited Sicily in the lower Paleolithic, they have found small islands with few animals: not a gateway but a very difficult passage to Europe. Moreover, the artifacts from the peninsular Italy at that time indicate sporadic, not stable settlements of Homo erectus. Although the settlement of Sicily during lower Palaeolithic needs to be confirmed by new data, if it took place it has been episodic and not influent in the population of Europe.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/1709388
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