Dr. David Gaitero-Santos

David Gaitero-Santos

Topic of research (M.A.): Exploitation and use of pigments in the Levantine Mousterian site of Tinshemet cave, Israel (provisional title).

Advisor: Prof. Yossi Zaidner.

Research summary: Evidence for the existence of complex symbolic behavior in Levantine Mousterian Levant contexts, or before the Upper Paleolithic, is still today under hard scrutiny. This is also the case for other regions in the Old World. In various archaeological sites both in Africa and Eurasia, ochre fragments and examples of their application have been recovered on various archaeological artifacts. The use of ochre as source of pigments is associated with the emergence of complex symbolic behaviors in the antiquity of mankind, which are related to the evolution of the modern mind, and even language. It is traditionally believed these characteristics originated exclusively in Africa in the context of the emergence of Homo sapiens quickly spread to the rest of the world with the territorial replacement of Homo neanderthalensis by our own species.

The aim of this project is to explore evidence for the existence of symbolic behavior in the Levant linked to the use of pigments and its exploitation methods, long before the so-called Upper Paleolithic revolution and general, massive spread of Homo sapiens out of Africa.

Areas of interest: Symbolic behavior in Middle Paleolithic; cultural paleoanthropology; evolution of human cognition. Projects: Tinshemet cave excavations, since 2020 (Tinshemet Cave Project).

Education: BA in Anthropology and Human Evolution, Rovira i Virgili University (Catalonia, Spain). Papers: researchgate.net