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26-07-2012 | © F. d’Errico and L. Backwell, Production of ostrich egg shell beads by a San craftsman

Modern human culture could have emerged 44,000 years ago

In cooperation with the CNRS and University of Bergen When did human behaviour as we know it begin? Work conducted by an international team of researchers suggests that modern culture emerged 44,000 years ago. Their analysis of archaeological material discovered at Border Cave in South Africa has demonstrated that much of the material culture that characterized the lifestyle of San hunter-gatherers in southern Africa was part of the culture and technology of the inhabitants of Border Cave 44,000 years ago. This research, funded by an ERC Advanced Grant, is published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

24-07-2012 | ©Leonor Peña-Chocarro

Understanding the origins and spread of agriculture in the western Mediterranean

The first cultivated plants in south-western Europe date back to the first half of the 6th millennium BC. Farmers in this region cultivated a wide variety of crops which included cereals and legumes, as well as other crops such as flax and poppy. They also collected wild plants. Yet, available data from this area is scarce and unevenly distributed across the territory: with blank regions, like northern Morocco, where archaeobotanical data is still almost non-existent.

11-06-2012 | © picture

Virtual playing pitch to help Ulster rugby heroes

Ulster’s rugby stars, with the help of Queen’s University’s School of Psychology, have been taking part in an exciting new virtual reality project to help improve their tackling technique. The work, which is part of a much larger project funded by the European Research Council, has been developed by Queen’s Professor of Psychology Cathy Craig. She uses virtual reality to understand how expert players deal with deceptive movement on the field of play.

30-04-2012 | © picture

Voters' behaviour under scrutiny ahead of Sunday's French elections

Over 44 million French citizens have the right to vote next Sunday in the second round of the presidential elections. One ERC grantee will be looking at them attentively: Dr Michael Bruter, a political scientist working at the London School of Economics (UK). His research focuses on the deep mystery that surrounds the act of voting, and especially what happens in voters' minds as they stand in the polling booth, ready to place their ballot paper in the box.

26-04-2012 | Pedro Medeiros © Boaventura de Sousa Santos

A new vision of Europe

Pursuing a sustainable development and broadening social justice and cohesion are some of the challenges that Europe is currently facing. What if we could learn how to solve these challenges by using the social and political innovations taking place in different corners of the globe? Professor Boaventura de Sousa Santos suggests that a new approach can be developed in Europe based on the diversity of practices elsewhere.

12-04-2012 | © picture

Social and cultural factors in the European gambling industry

We normally think of anthropologists studying ‘exotic’ cultures – ancient tribes that live in faraway places. But how about cultures that are closer to home? Professor Rebecca Cassidy has devoted herself to anthropological studies of European cultures of gambling. In the ‘Gambling in Europe’ (GAMSOC) project – funded by the ERC – Prof. Cassidy and her team have taken this a step further, and conducted an anthropological study of the gambling research community itself.

21-11-2011 | Image copyright: Steven Wright

Plunging into the history of the Balkans to prepare for a better future

The peoples of the Balkans' region have long shared an "entangled" and tumultuous history. A visit to the Western Balkans shows how deep the scars of the bloodsheds of the 1990s have been in this part of the world. The scale of violence has exceeded our common understanding with human rights' abuses, massacres, torture, rapes and ethnic cleansing from all sides. With such context in mind, one would have thought that Balkan history could have been studied from a "relational" or "transnational" perspective, to which it seems historically predisposed. But this has rarely been the case.  

14-11-2011 | Photo: Pseudo-Aristotle, Theology, MS Istanbul, Süleymaniye Yazma Eser Kütüphanesi

Bridging Greek and Arabic philosophical and linguistic heritage

How deep are the roots of our culture formation? How was the Occidental culture influenced by the Greek Philosophy? What role did the Arabs play in transmitting it during Medieval times? These are some of the questions that Dr. Cristina D'Ancona, from the University of Pisa, intends to answer in her interdisciplinary ERC Advanced project. One of the main outcomes of this project will be the production of an unprecedented tool for analysing Graeco-Arabic texts.

07-11-2011 | Mudbrick and stone castle-like structure, Photo by Toby Savage

Castles in the desert – Satellites reveal lost cities of Libya

ERC project's team gets back to Libya after Gaddafi's fall. Satellite imagery has uncovered new evidence of a lost civilisation of the Sahara in Libya’s south-western desert wastes that will help re-write the history of the country.

01-03-2011 | Image: Jan Hering, Courtesy Daniela Grunow

Who is left holding the baby?

Researchers are to carry out a comprehensive investigation into how parenting is perceived by professionals, the media, the parents themselves and look into differences across various European countries.The image of the woman in the home, cooking and holding the baby is fast becoming one of previous times. Traditional family roles are being reversed with fathers staying home and mothers going out to work. But is this gender division of labour so clear-cut?