The effect of terrain on Neanderthal ecology in the Levant

Donald O. Henry, Miriam Belmaker, Sean M. Bergin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Our study assesses the influence of differences in terrain and locomotor energetics on the land-use strategies and settlement patterns of Levantine Neanderthals and Modern Human – Early Upper Paleolithic groups through a digital application of site catchment analysis. Our findings indicate that Neanderthals habitually commanded smaller site exploitation territories (SETs), principally situated in the rugged Mediterranean Woodlands of the Levant, whereas early Upper Paleolithic groups generally enjoyed larger SETs and displayed a more generalized, wider settlement range encompassing both rugged woodland and more regular, level steppe landscapes. The broader implications of these findings may explain the biogeographic limits on the Neanderthal dispersal into Southwest Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-105
Number of pages12
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - Apr 12 2017


  • Ecology
  • Neanderthal
  • Site catchment analysis
  • Terrain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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