Caves provided early humans with easily accessible living space and protection from rain, wind and cold. But numerous species - from microbes to large mammals - also found shelter here. Caves were probably the first ecosystems to be profoundly altered by human activity. The Leibniz ScienceCampus "Geogenomic Archaeology Campus Tübingen (GACT)" investigates the interaction of humans with cave ecosystem from the Pleistocene to the present day.

Archaeological and palaeoecological studies have shown that even ancient hunter-gatherer groups played a substantial role in the global distribution of species and in the shaping and management of their environments. GACT brings together archaeologists, geneticists, microbiologists, geochemists, geoecologists, paleontologists, and paleoclimatologists, among others, with the ultimate goal of using ancient DNA recovered from cave deposits to investigate human interaction with, and impact on, past ecosystems through time.

In order to achieve this goal, GACT will establish new molecular, computational, geochemical and geoarchaeological methods to analyze sedimentary sequences recovered from the investigated caves. The topic is also attracting general interest among non-scientists, as climate change and biodiversity loss are currently the subject of increasing public debate.

Jun.-Prof. Cosimo Posth
Eberhard Karls University Tübingen
T +49 70 712974 089
Dr Gerlinde Bigga
Senckenberg Society for Nature Research