The rationale for the workshop is pretty simple: there's quite a few people doing Neanderthal/Paleolithic research within about a two-hour drive from Denver, all of whom are doing really interesting research. In fact, I'd even go as far as saying that the density of Neanderthal specialists along the Front Range is among the highest outside of Europe. Yet, for a variety of reasons, we rarely come together to take full benefit of each other's expertise or bounce ideas off of one another. Sure, nowadays, you could argue that face-to-face interaction is not necessary, but my view is that nothing replaces direct interaction.
So with that in mind, I invited colleagues from my own institution, CU Boulder, Colorado State University (where I had a wonderful time when I gave a talk there last month - thanks to Chris and Mica for setting it up!), UC Colorado Springs, Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the University of Wyoming, to congregate on the UC Denver campus so we can give each other an overview of and comment on our ongoing research. As well, I've invited students to present posters on some of their own project, so that they can get some feedback on their ongoing projects from specialists in the field. Here's the program of the day:
9:15 - The Middle and Upper Pleistocene Record of Western Europe and South Africa: Similarities and Differences.
P. Villa, CU Museum of Natural History
9:40 - How to Think like a Neandertal.
T. Wynn & F. Coolidge, UC Colorado Springs
10:05 - The Paleobiogeography of Central Asia: Addressing the Validity of a Neandertal Range.
M. Glantz, Colorado State University
10:30 Coffee break
10:45 - 'Necessity is the Mother of Invention': Late Neanderthal Cultural Innovation in Context
J. Riel-Salvatore, UC Denver
11:10 - The Neandertal-Modern Human Biocultural Transition in South-Central Europe: The Evidence From Croatia.
J.C. Ahern et al., University of Wyoming
11:35 - The Early Upper Paleolithic of Eastern Europe Reconsidered..
J.F. Hoffecker, CU Boulder
12:00 - The Upper Paleolithic Levels at Ksar Akil, Lebanon, and the Levantine Aurignacian.
J. Williams, SWCA
12:30 - Student poster session:
T. Beeton et al.: GIS Modeling of Hominin Landscape Exploitation Strategies in Central Asia.
L. Denton: The Internal Structure of Shovel Shaped Incisors Revealed.
I.C. Ludeke et al.: Contrasting Neanderthal and Homo sapiens Use of Space at Riparo Bombrini, Italy.
I. Riley et al.: Evaluating the Ballistic Properties of Levallois Points from ‘Ain Difla (Jordan).
C.J. Tinti: Understanding Patterned Behaviors through the Analysis of Femoral Neck Torsion.
Two of these posters are by some of my own students, Ingrid Ludeke and Ian Riley, who are presenting preliminary results of really interesting projects we've been working on together for the past semester.
The talks and poster session are open to the public, provided interested parties register by contacting me directly (replace the dot by, well, dots!). There's also a roundtable in the afternoon that includes my UC Denver colleagues D. Tracer and C. Musiba, as well as S. Nash of the DMNS, but that is closed to the public. If you want more info, you can also download the program in pdf format.
In any case, here's to hoping I haven't jinxed the event by talking about it before it happens (they're predicting snow on Saturday morning, of course), but I really think it's going to be a lot of fun on top of being a great occasion to hear about some really forward-looking research by very active scholars in the field.