OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPaleoantropologie se zaměřuje na studium fyzické evoluce člověka v širším kontextu vývoje klimatu, krajiny, lidského chování, sociálních struktur, technologií a myšlení. Zaměření v této oblasti je velmi široké, neboť Morava představuje v celosvětovém měřítku unikátní region s nálezy anatomicky moderního člověka ze svrchního pleistocénu. Proto Ústav antropologie zaměřuje svoji pozornost na současné výzkumy paleolitických nalezišť v Předmostí, Dolních Věstonicích a Pavlově. Vedle moravských lokalit se jeho zaměstnanci a studenti zaměřují na výzkum mezolitických lokalit v severních Čechách a  úzce spolupracují s detašovaným pracovištěm pro paleolit a paleoetnologii v Dolních Věstonicích při Archeologickém ústavu AVČR v Brně.

Do tohoto zaměření spadá výuka Paleoantropologie, Primatologie, Ekologie člověka v kvartéru, Paleoetnologie, Antropologie umění a Komparativní osteologie.

Terénní výzkumy

Ústav antropologie se podílí na terénních výzkumech paleolitického (Morava) a mezolitického (severní Čechy) osídlení, terénní prospekci modelových oblastí (tajga, tundra, aridní oblasti). Při terénních výzkumech úzce spolupracuje zejména s dolnověstonickým pracovištěm Archeologického ústavu AV ČR v Brně.

Gydan (Rusko), 2018

Dolní Věstonice, 2017

Kostelní rokle (České Švýcarsko), 2015

Etiopie, 2014

Pavlov I, 2014

Etiopie, 2013

Pavlov I, 2013

Dolní Věstonice IIa, 2012

Polární Ural (Rusko – Sibiř), 2012

Údolí Samoty (Českolipsko), 2011

Janova zátoka (České Švýcarsko), 2010

Jižní Ural (Rusko), 2010

Milovice IV (Morava), 2010

Pavlov II, 2009

Polární Ural a Severní Sos´va (Rusko – Sibiř), 2009

Pavlov VI, 2007

Nepál, 2006

Z vědeckovýzkumné činnosti

A Molecular Approach to the Sexing of the Triple Burial at the Upper Paleolithic Site of Dolní Věstonice

PLoS ONE 11 (10), 2016.

Alissa Mittnik, Chuan-Chao Wang, Jiří Svoboda, Johannes Krause

In the past decades ancient DNA research has brought numerous insights to archaeological research where traditional approaches were limited. The determination of sex in human skeletal remains is often challenging for physical anthropologists when dealing with incomplete, juvenile or pathological specimens. Molecular approaches allow sexing on the basis of sex-specific markers or by calculating the ratio of DNA derived from different chromosomes. Here we propose a novel approach that relies on the ratio of X chromosome-derived shotgun sequencing data to the autosomal coverage, thus establishing the probability of an XX or XY karyotype. Applying this approach to the individuals of the Upper Paleolithic triple burial of Dolní Věstonice reveals that all three skeletons, including the individual DV 15, whose sex has long been debated due to a pathological condition, were male.

Reflections on Gravettian firewood procurement near the Pavlov Hills, Czech Republic

Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 43, 2016, 1-12.

J. E. Pryor, A. Pullen, D. G. Beresford-Jones, J. A. Svoboda, C. S. Gamble

This paper draws attention to firewood as a natural resource that was gathered, processed and consumed on a daily basis by Palaeolithic groups. Using Gravettian occupation of the Pavlovské Hills as a case study (dated to around 30,000 years BP), we investigate firewood availability using archaeological, palaeoenvironmental and ecological data, including making inferences from charcoal in Pavlovian hearths. The collated evidence suggests that while dead wood was likely readily available in woodland areas where humans had not recently foraged, longer term occupations – or repeated occupation of the same area by different groups – would have quickly exhausted naturally occurring supplies. Once depleted, the deadwood pool may have taken several generations (∼40–120 years) to recover enough to provide fuel for another base camp occupation. Such exhaustion of deadwood supplies is well attested ethnographically. Thus, we argue that Pavlovian groups likely managed firewood supplies using methods similar to those used by recent hunter–gatherers: through planned geographic mobility and by deliberately killing trees years in advance of when wood was required, so leaving time for the wood to dry out. Such management of fuel resources was, we argue, critical to human expansion into these cold, hitherto marginal, ecologies of the Upper Palaeolithic.

Pleistocene Mitochondrial Genomes Suggest a Single Major Dispersal of Non-Africans and a Late Glacial Population Turnover in Europe

Current Biology 26, 2016, 827-833.

Cosimo Posth, Gabriel Renaud, Alissa Mittnik, Dorothée G. Drucker, Hélène Rougier, Christophe Cupillard, Frédérique Valentin, Corinne Thevenet, Anja Furtwängler, Christoph Wißing, Michael Francken, Maria Malina, Michael Bolus, Martina Lari, Elena Gigli, Giulia Capecchi, Isabelle Crevecoeur, Cédric Beauval, Damien Flas, Mietje Germonpré, Johannes van der Plicht, Richard Cottiaux, Bernard Gély, Annamaria Ronchitelli, Kurt Wehrberger, Dan Grigorescu, Jiří Svoboda, Patrick Semal, David Caramelli, Hervé Bocherens, Katerina Harvati, Nicholas J. Conard, Wolfgang Haak, Adam Powell, Johannes Krause

How modern humans dispersed into Eurasia and Australasia, including the number of separate expansions and their timings, is highly debated. Two categories of models are proposed for the dispersal of non-Africans: (1) single dispersal, i. e., a single major diffusion of modern humans across Eurasia and Australasia; and (2) multiple dispersal, i. e., additional earlier population expansions that may have contributed to the genetic diversity of some present-day humans outside of Africa. Many variants of these models focus largely on Asia and Australasia, neglecting human dispersal into Europe, thus explaining only a subset of the entire colonization process outside of Africa. The genetic diversity of the first modern humans who spread into Europe during the Late Pleistocene and the impact of subsequent climatic events on their demography are largely unknown. Here we analyze 55 complete human mitochondrial genomes (mtDNAs) of hunter-gatherers spanning ∼35,000 years of European prehistory. We unexpectedly find mtDNA lineage M in individuals prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). This lineage is absent in contemporary Europeans, although it is found at high frequency in modern Asians, Australasians, and Native Americans. Dating the most recent common ancestor of each of the modern non-African mtDNA clades reveals their single, late, and rapid dispersal less than 55,000 years ago. Demographic modeling not only indicates an LGM genetic bottleneck, but also provides surprising evidence of a major population turnover in Europe around 14,500 years ago during the Late Glacial, a period of climatic instability at the end of the Pleistocene.

Pavlov I: A large Gravettian site in space and time

Quaternary International 406, p. A, 2016, 95-105.

Jiří Svoboda, Martin Novák, Sandra Sázelová, Jaromír Demek

The formation of the large site clusters of the Gravettian (Pavlovian) represents one of the final effects of modern human adaptation in central Europe, but chronology of the site formation processes at such sites are still little understood. Here we present new evidence from Pavlov I, a site now prepared for the construction of a museum and subjected to a large-scale preparatory excavation. Understanding the spatial organisation, microstratigraphies, and the effects of cryogenic processes on the site formation is the basic presumption for lithic analysis at a large and complex site. Obviously, these extensive sites have a longer prehistory than was previously thought. The detection of the Early Upper Palaeolithic/Gravettian boundary was related to a radical change in the lithic raw material composition. The early and evolved Gravettian industries complete previously recorded the techno/typological spectrum by additional microlithic assemblages. With this new evidence, the paper also discusses the question of Gravettian origin.

The genetic history of Ice Age Europe

Nature 534, 2016, 200-205.

Q. Fu, C. Posth, M. Hajdinjak, M. Petr, S. Mallick, D. Fernandes, A. Furtwängler, W. Haak, M. Meyer, A. Mittnik, B. Nickel, A. Peltzer, N. Rohland, V. Slon, S. Talamo, I. Lazaridis, M. Lipson, I. Mathieson, S. Schiffels, P. Skoglund, A. P. Derevianko, N. Drozdov, V. Slavinsky, A. Tsybankov, R. Grifoni Cremonesi, F. Mallegni, B. Gély, E. Vacca, M. R. González Morales, L. G. Straus, Ch. Neugebauer-Maresch, M. Teschler-Nicola, S. Constantin, O. Teodora Moldovan, S. Benazzi, M. Peresani, D. Coppola, M. Lari, S. Ricci, A. Ronchitelli, F. Valentin, C. Thevenet, K. Wehrberger, D. Grigorescu, H. Rougier, I. Crevecoeur, D. Flas, P. Semal, M. A. Mannino, Ch. Cupillard, H. Bocherens, N. J. Conard, K. Harvati, V. Moiseyev, D. G. Drucker, J. Svoboda, M. P. Richards, D. Caramelli, R. Pinhasi, J. Kelso, N. Patterson, J. Krause, S. Pääbo, D. Reich

Modern humans arrived in Europe ~45,000 years ago, but little is known about their genetic composition before the start of farming ~8,500 years ago. Here we analyse genome-wide data from 51 Eurasians from ~45,000–7,000 years ago. Over this time, the proportion of Neanderthal DNA decreased from 3–6% to around 2%, consistent with natural selection against Neanderthal variants in modern humans. Whereas there is no evidence of the earliest modern humans in Europe contributing to the genetic composition of present-day Europeans, all individuals between ~37,000 and ~14,000 years ago descended from a single founder population which forms part of the ancestry of present-day Europeans. An ~35,000-year-old individual from northwest Europe represents an early branch of this founder population which was then displaced across a broad region, before reappearing in southwest Europe at the height of the last Ice Age ~19,000 years ago. During the major warming period after ~14,000 years ago, a genetic component related to present-day Near Easterners became widespread in Europe. These results document how population turnover and migration have been recurring themes of European prehistory.

A revised timescale for human evolution based on ancient mitochondrial genomes

Current Biology 23, 2013, 553-559.

Q. Fu, A. Mittnik, P. Johnson, K. Bos, M. Lari, R. Bollongino, Ch. Sun, L. Giemsch, R. Schmitz, J. Burger, A.M. Ronchitelli, F. Martini, R. Cremonesi, J. Svoboda, P. Bauer, D. Caramelli, S. Castellano, D. Reich, S. Pääbo & J. Krause

Recent analyses of de novo DNA mutations in modern humans have suggested a nuclear substitution rate that is approximately half that of previous estimates based on fossil calibration. This result has led to suggestions that major events in human evolution occurred far earlier than previously thought. Here, we use mitochondrial genome sequences from ten securely dated ancient modern humans spanning 40,000 years as calibration points for the mitochondrial clock, thus yielding a direct estimate of the mitochondrial substitution rate. Our clock yields mitochondrial divergence times that are in agreement with earlier estimates based on calibration points derived from either fossils or archaeological material. In particular, our results imply a separation of non-Africans from the most closely related sub-Saharan African mitochondrial DNAs (haplogroup L3) that occurred less than 62–95 kya. Though single loci like mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can only provide biased estimates of population divergence times, they can provide valid upper bounds. Our results exclude most of the older dates for African and non- African population divergences recently suggested by de novo mutation rate estimates in the nuclear genome.

Dolní Věstonice IIa: Gravettian microstratigraphy, environment, and the origin of the baked clay production in Moravia

Quaternary International 359-360, 2015, 195-210.

J. Svoboda, Š. Hladilová, I. Horáček, J. Kaiser, M. Králík, J. Novák, M. Novák, P. Pokorný, S. Sázelová, L. Smolíková & T. Zikmund

Creating an overall scheme of Gravettian stratigraphy and chronology in the Middle Danube area is a matter of current debate. This paper addresses the formation of microstratigraphies at large open-air sites, evidence of the earliest Gravettian occupation in the Dolní Věstonice-Pavlov area, and occurrence of early ceramics from this context. The case presented here is a complex early Gravettian microstratigraphy of charcoal deposits at Dolní Věstonice IIa with a sequence of AMS dates between 28.4 and 31.7 ka uncal BP (30e33 ka cal BC) and two middle Gravettian (Pavlovian) dates from the nearby living floor. The associated environmental evidence of charcoal, pollen, molluscs, and vertebrates shows that climatic development through the six horizons was relatively stable, but with a certain variability in moisture and extension of forest. In horizon 3c, the molluscs and both small and large vertebrates indicate an episode of restricted forest formation around 28.4 ka uncal BP (30e31 ka cal BC). Baked clay (“ceramic”) fragments from horizon 3c represent the earliest dated items of this kind in the Gravettian. Microstratigraphies of this type demonstrate the complexity of cultural deposits at the large Gravettian sites and throw light on the hitherto poorly understood time-period of the early Gravettian in Moravia.

Patterns of Change in a Nenets Landscape: An Ethnoarcheological Study of Yangana Pe, Polar Ural Mts. Russia

Human Ecology 43, 2015, 283-294.

S. Sázelová, J. Svoboda, P.A. Kosintsev & M. Novák

Using an ethnoarcheological perspective we examine Nenets site formation, seasonality and landscape usage in controlling reindeer herds in a complex system of more than 20 abandoned campsites and other sites of interest over 100 km2 and a time-span of several decades. We establish a chronology based on more than 150 expiration dates from imported food items, supported by additional seasonal evidence such as presence/absence of newborn reindeer, hearths and other artifacts. We separated the sites into five stages and compared the patterns of change, especially from 1986 to 2003 as the road and railroad connecting the Yamal gas mining fields were constructed nearby. We find that the impact of road and rail construction is reflected in the increase of imported goods upon its completion.

Enamel thickness variation of deciduous first and second upper molars in modern humans and Neanderthals

Journal of Human Evolution 76, 2014, 83-91.

C. Fornai, S. Benazzi, J. Svoboda, I. Pap, K. Harvati & G. Weber

Enamel thickness and dental tissue proportions have been recognized as effective taxonomic discriminators between Neanderthal and modern humans’ teeth. However, most of the research on this topic focused on permanent teeth, and little information is available for the deciduous dentition. Moreover, although worn teeth are more frequently found than unworn teeth, published data for worn teeth are scarce and methods for the assessment of their enamel thickness need to be developed. Here, we addressed this issue by studying the 2D average enamel thickness (AET) and 2D relative enamel thickness (RET) of Neanderthal and modern humans unworn to moderately worn upper first deciduous molars (dm1s) and upper second deciduous molars (dm2s). In particular, we used 3D mCT data to investigate the mesial section for dm1s and both mesial and buccal sections for dm2s. Our results confirmed previous findings of an Neanderthal derived condition of thin enamel, and thinner enamel in dm1s than dm2s in both Neanderthal and modern humans. We demonstrated that the Neanderthal 2D RET indices are significantly lower than those of modern humans at similar wear stages in both dm1s and dm2s (p < 0.05). The discriminant analysis showed that using 2D RET from dm1 and dm2 sections at different wear stages up to 93% of the individuals are correctly classified. Moreover, we showed that the dm2 buccal sections, although non-conventionally used, might have an advantage on mesial sections since they distinguish as well as mesial sections but tend to be less worn. Therefore, the 2D analysis of enamel thickness is suggested as a means for taxonomic discrimination between modern humans and Neanderthal unworn to moderately worn upper deciduous molars.

Předmostí III: un site pavlovien de la Porte de Moravie (République tchèque, Europe centrale)

L´Anthropologie 118, 2014,255-291.

M. Polanská, J. Svoboda, B. Hromadová & S. Sázelová

The complex of sites of Předmostí is one of the most famous in the Central Europe. The site Předmostí III has been excavated several times during the last thirty years. This article focuses on the materials discovered in 1982 and 1983. The lithic industry has been knapped in situ on radiolarite river pebbles. The association of a Kostenki’ knife with geometric microlith indicates a cultural attribution to the Pavlovian and more particularly to the kind described as the ‘‘group with geometric microliths’’. Blades and bladelets are mainly produced with an organic hammer. This fact could fit with the discover of a piece of mammoth tusk with percussion marks on its the distal end that could have been used as a hammer. In spite of the small number of artefacts preserved, the reassessment of that collection contributes to a better understanding of the Pavlovian industries.

Research report: The Middle Stone Age of the Blue Nile Gorge, Ethiopia

Anthropologie LI/3, 2013, 431-436.

J. Svoboda, H. Said, M. Novák, A. Desse, S. Sázelová

A promising way to address the patterns of Early Modern Human settlement strategies in Africa and Europe is comparing the spatial distributions and densities of lithic artefact scatters in perspective areas. Here we present new evidence on spatial distribution and techno/typology of the Middle Stone Age (MSA) occupation in the Blue Nile Gorge, Oromia, Ethiopia. Whereas the occurrence of Late Stone Age (LSA) lithic artefacts and ceramic sherds on the highest plateau of the Blue Nile Gorge has been already recorded prior to our survey, the discovery of Middle Stone Age (MSA) artefacts on the low terraces is a new fact. Moreover, The LSA artefacts are recorded in almost all altitudes, from the lower terrace to the highest plateau, while the MSA artefacts were restricted to the lower terraces and to relative altitudes 120–130 m. The observations on settlement geography may be correlated with patterns of lithic raw material usage (LSA predominantly made of a whitish-to-yellowish or reddish cherts, and rarely obsidian; the MSA almost entirely made of a light chert with whitish patination and few from the local basalt). The origins of modern behaviour, namely the tendencies to produce long and thin blades, backed and geometric microliths and decorative items, are being sought in the African MSA record. If the backed point fragment was a part of MSA segment (as suggested by its location, raw material, and patination), than the MSA industry of the Blue Nile reflects similar tendencies. In contrast to certain parts of Sahara where the spatial extension of human settlement culminated during the Middle Stone Age and became more restricted during the later periods of aridisation, in the Blue Nile region the intensity of occupation increased gradually, from the MSA to the LSA. This difference may reflect variability in climatic development between the two regions.


Ústav antropologie
Přírodovědecká fakulta
Masarykova univerzita
Kotlářská 2
611 37 Brno

tel.: 54949 1432

Pracoviště ústavu:

Kotlářská 2
611 37 Brno