University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

Font Size: 
ROAD - A Portal and Platform for Research on Early Humans
Michael Märker, Zara Kanaeva, Geraldine Quénéhervé, Volker Hochschild

Last modified: 2011-12-18


The new research centre entitled “The Role of Culture in Early Expansions of Humans” (ROCEEH), funded by the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, is projected to run for 20 years. The research centre's aim is to reconstruct the spatial and temporal patterns of the expansions of hominins between 3 million to 20000 years ago within Africa and Eurasia. The main goal of the research centre is to explain the biotic and abiotic reasons for different hominin expansions. Implicit in the current working hypothesis is the assumption that the influence of changing environmental conditions decreased as the importance of cultural and technological innovations grew.

To achieve these general objectives, a geo-relational spatial database was developed and implemented, containing information about archaeology, palaeontology, and environmental circumstances. The database is called ROAD, an acronym standing for “ROCEEH Out of Africa Database”. In this paper we focus on the technical issues of this database, the functionalities, as well as the implementation in order to assess early human expansions. Moreover, we discuss the role of ROAD as an international platform and portal for researchers focussing on early human investigations.


geo-relational database; hominin expansion; data portal