Anthropology & Life from Earth to Mars
Come listen to researchers presenting their project and ask them your questions!
Larissa Mendoza Straffon
The Prehistory of Art
When did humans start making visual art? What were the earliest artworks like? Most textbooks will tell you that art began some 30,000 years ago with the cave paintings of Ice-Age France and Spain, but that is incorrect. I am a cognitive archaeologist and in this talk I will address the wealth of material evidence for early artistic behavior in our species and show you that visual art practice has a very long prehistory indeed.
The past isn’t black & white: the role of colour in the story of humans
Today, we can choose from thousands of colours to express our thoughts and emotions –and colours can carry many different meanings. However, was this always the case? When did our obsession with colours begin? To search for these answers, we can look to the past. My research focuses on archaeology from southern Africa and Europe, and how ancient humans began collecting and using colours from the environment as far back as 500,000 years ago. In this talk, I will discuss what archaeology can tell us about how humans have expressed themselves through using colours over time, and how it has shaped our culture today.
The hidden face of lakes: how natural archives bring us back to the Viking Age and beyond
Since 10,000 years, lakes have continuously accumulated sediments. These sediments contain particles of soil, plant, pollen and DNA from the surrounding environment, brought by rivers, runoff and the wind. They allow us to reconstruct the past evolution of the landscapes, the vegetation and agricultural practices, but also climate changes. By studying and dating cores of lake sediments in Norway, we can reconstruct the history of the environment throughout the last 10 000 years and explore the Viking Age.
Can life have existed on Mars? – Meteorites and rocks from the Earth can tell the secret
What ingredients are required to form life? Did they exist on Mars in time when life emerged on the Earth? Do they exist now? How do we know that there was once water on Mars and how to study it? Do we have to go there or are there other means to retrieve important information? What we can learn about the Red Planet from meteorites - free-delivery martian samples and by making comparisons with rocks from our own planet?