skip to content

The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement


Centre members working on human cultures, evolution, environment


University of Cambridge resarch:

Culture at the Macro-Scale: Boundaries, Barriers and Endogenous Change: This 2020-22 project at the Department of History and Philosphy of Science investigates the processes and patterns of human cultures at and above the group level over the course of the last 2 million years. As groups of hominin populations explored, foraged, or fled across landscapes, they could encounter other populations with different resources, tools, myths, and rituals. Drawing on archaeology, cultural evolution, cognitive science, and philosophy, the project explores the importance of cultural groups and group boundaries for understanding cultural change at encompassing spatial and temporal scales. The project is run in collaboration with Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University. Principal Investigator at Cambridge: Dr Andrew Buskell.

In-Africa: The 'In-Africa' research programme investigated the origins of our species - Homo sapiens - and its diversity in Africa, and aimed at making new discoveries of early human fossils, archaeological sites and their environmental context in East Africa to test models of human origins and diversification. The study of environmental and demographic selection pressure - such as the push-pull mechanisms for local survivorship caused by the timings of tropical droughts - gives insight into early human biology and human behaviour and the subsequent complex mechanisms of social, cultural and cognitive change. The 5-year project was led by by Prof Marta Mirazon-Lahr, Department of Archaeology.

FOGLIP: The 'Food Globalisation In Prehistory' project investigated the early phase of food globalisation of staple grain crops through prehistoric trade networks (to the end of the 2nd millennium BC). It used archaeobotany, genetics, stable isotope analyses and ethno-archaeology to shed light on the evolution of the crop plants themselves and of the societies that utilised them, giving insight into prehistoric human mobility between Asia and Europe. The project at the Department of Archaeology was led by Emeritus Prof Martin Jones.

ARTEFACT: 'The Global as ARTEFACT: Understanding the Patterns of Global Political History Through an Anthropology of Knowledge – The Case of Agriculture in Four Global Systems from the Neolithic to the Present'; 2017-23. This project takes a wide-angle anthropological approach to capture general evolutionary patterns of our species’ epistemic development and transformation across cultural areas in different socio-economic and natural environments/conditions. It aims to conceptualise the evolutionary patterns of the transformation of agricultural systems in different regions of the world, and to better track the diffusion of agricultural products (conceived as carriers of human knowledge). The project is led by Dr Inanna Hamati-Ataya and hosted by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH).