2020 Research News

Mike Benedetti

UNCW Professor Co-leading Research on Prehistoric Humans and Climate in Portugal

September 29, 2020—Professor Mike Benedetti of the UNCW Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences is co-leading a study of prehistoric human occupation and environmental change at a cave site in central Portugal named Lapa do Picareiro.

Recent discoveries at the site include the early arrival of modern humans in the area around 40,000 years ago and geological evidence for dramatic climate change around the same time frame (detailed in press releases by NSF Research News and the University of Louisville, and articles in PNAS and Geoarchaeology). The research team was also featured in episode 2 of the Netflix documentary series Connected

UNCW faculty and student participants in the project join an international team of archaeologists and geoscientists from the USA, Czech Republic, and Portugal. UNCW has received more than $340,000 from the National Science Foundation for this work since 2011 in support of field work, laboratory analysis, and student research projects. Student participants have also been supported by undergraduate research funding from UNCW.

Photo of Cave

Photo Inside Cave

Photo Inside Cave

Photo of Cave Site