Carmen Martin Ramos

Carmen Martin Ramos

Profile
Profile Display Name:
Carmen Martin Ramos
E-mail Address:
c.martin-ramos@nhm.ac.uk
Start Year

2016 (Cohort 3)

Research interests:

Palaeolithic Archaeology, Prehistory, Lithic Technology, Anthropology, Human Evolution, Geoarchaeology, Palaeoanthropology

Hobbies and interests:

Comics, books, coffee, beer, chocolate, being outdoors, and cats… Specially cats.

PhD Project
PhD Title
Homo erectus behavioural and cognitive evolution at Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania). A technological approach.
Research Theme
Past Life and Environments
Primary Supervisor

Sylvia Bello

Primary Institution
NHM
Secondary Supervisor

Ignacio dela Torre

Secondary Institution
UCL
Additional supervisor(s)
James Steele (UCL),
Abstract

My PhD research focus on Homo erectus behavioural and cognitive evolution at Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania). It aims to reconstruct hominin behaviour from the material culture that our ancestors left behind, and thus, this project is based on a re-evaluation of archaeological handaxes from a series of Acheulean sites excavated by Mary Leakey and the Olduvai Geochronology Archaeology Project in Olduvai Gorge. In addition to reconstruction of the chaînes opératoires employed, this project aims to identify behavioural patterns in LCTs (Large Cutting Tools) that can be correlated to cognitive development and the increase of working memory capacity.

In order to address hominin cognitive skills, this project is based on the analysis of LCTs from the different archaeological beds at Olduvai Gorge. These Large Cutting Tools are the most representative tool type in the Acheulean record and the first evidence of the deliberate imposition of shape and form. Among other factors, such intentional façonnage reflects the existence of a mental template in the minds of knappers, as well as degrees of forward planning. These characteristics, together with the fact that Acheulean handaxes become more standardised, symmetrical and refined through time, have made them a specific subject for inferring the mental capabilities of Homo erectus and Homo heidelbergensis.

Policy Impact
Background Reading
  • Leakey, M. D. (1971) Olduvai Gorge Volume 3: Excavations in Beds I and II, 1960-1963. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Leakey, M. D. and Roe, D. A. (1994) Olduvai Gorge Volume 5: Excavations in Beds III, IV and the Masek Beds, 1968-1971. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hay, R. L. (1976) Geology of Olduvai Gorge. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  • Publications

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