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Dr Sebastien Villotte

Research fellow

La Fondation Fyssen Post-doctoral Researcher Post-doctoral award for two years at the Bioarchaeology Laboratory, University of Exeter, “Activity-related Skeletal Morphologies of Europe’s Last Hunter-Gatherers and First Farmers” (€ 39,300)

My research focuses on the behavior of past human populations. The main issues addressed are division of labour and workload, human-environment interactions and group mobility. My goal is to formulate hypotheses concerning activities of prehistoric populations using a biological approach: the study of "occupational stress markers". These "markers" are modifications of human skeletons, pathological or not, caused by physical activity throughout life.

My research project will focus on human behaviour from the 7th to the end of the 5th millennium BC. During this period, groups of Mesolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers lived in close proximity to early Neolithic Europeans. Understanding the social structure and organization of the societies of these last hunters and first farmers solely from the material culture is difficult. The analysis of "occupational stress markers", taking into account biological, social, economic and environmental factors, will allow me to test several hypotheses based on ethnographic data, especially on the apparent increased workload of early Neolithic groups as well as the presence of social inequalities within them.

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