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UA researcher Javier Fernández-López de Pablo co-edits a special issue on prehistoric demography in a Royal Society journal

The publication brings together the most cutting-edge work on Archaeology, Anthropology, Genomics, Palaeoecology and Evolutionary Demography to learn about past populations

The Royal Society, London's Royal Society for the Advancement of Natural Science, is one of the oldest scientific societies in the world



Alicante, Thursday, 10 December 2020

How did the population evolve in prehistoric times? How did human groups respond to the colonisation of new continents, to the great climatic changes produced by the glaciations, or to the appearance of agriculture and livestock? What role did the great migrations of the past play in the size, structure and genetic composition of prehistoric populations? To answer all these questions and to find out about the most cutting-edge studies in this field internationally, Javier Fernández-López de Pablo, a distinguished researcher at the  University of Alicante Institute for Research in Archaeology and Historical Heritage (INAPH), is part of the editorial team of the special issue entitled "Cross-disciplinary approaches to prehistoric demography", published in the prestigious scientific journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. The Royal Society for the Advancement of Natural Science in London - The Royal Society - is one of the oldest scientific societies in the world.

With a total of 18 articles by 54 authors, the volume contains case studies from around the world. This special issue is of great relevance as it defines the current bases and future challenges for the study of demography in prehistoric societies about which there are no written sources, as stressed by Fernández-López. In addition to the UA researcher, the editorial team is made up of leading experts from the universities of Barcelona, Liverpool and Bournemouth.

Prehistoric palaeodemography is the scientific discipline that attempts to reconstruct the populations of the past. However, according to Javier Fernández-López de Pablo, it is a very complex task as it requires the study and discussion of archaeological, genetic and anthropological data.

Images from the cover of the special issue "Cross-disciplinary approaches to prehistoric demography".


Past and present human culture

As the editors of this issue point out, demographics affect a wide range of aspects of human culture past and present. From the ability to pass on genes and knowledge across generations, to the extent of social networks and long-term impacts on the environment. Recent interdisciplinary advances in the reconstruction and interpretation of the histories of prehistoric populations have been transforming the understanding of past societies.

The distinguished researcher from the UA, Javier Fernández-López de Pablo, highlights that this thematic issue integrates the efforts of researchers working in the fields of archaeology, anthropology, genomics, palaeoecology and evolutionary demography, combining original research with critical reviews to provide a benchmark for the state-of-the-art in prehistoric demography and a statement of the future of this rapidly growing interdisciplinary effort.


JAVIER_FERNANDEZ_LOPEZ1Javier Fernández-López de Pablo

Javier Fernández-López de Pablo has a PhD in History from the University of Alicante and is director of the project Paleodem - Late Glacial and Postglacial Population History and Cultural Transmission in Iberia, funded by the European Research Council (ERC) with 1.5 million euros. In July 2019, he joined the University of Alicante as a distinguished researcher thanks to a programme to support talented researchers - Plan GenT, of Valencian Regional Ministry of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society. 

Throughout his career, he has been part of the University of California Santa Barbara Department of Anthropology (2006-2009), and has been a researcher for the Torres de Quevedo (2009-2011), Ramón y Cajal (2012-2016) and the Catalan Institute of Human Palaeoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) programmes (2017-2019). He has also been an associate professor in Ethnoarchaeology at the Rovira i Virgili University (2017-2019).





Family photo of the editing team and image of UA researcher Javier Fernández-López de Pablo



Cross-disciplinary approaches to prehistoric demography”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, January 2021 Volume 376

“A manifesto for palaeodemography in the twenty-first century”, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, November 2020



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