Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Bar-Yosef, Ofer
Location Harvard University
Primary Field Anthropology
 Election Citation
From Israel, Bar-Yosef's excavations at a wide range of sites in the Old World provided insight into important steps in our cultural evolution, such as the invention of agriculture, and the initial dispersal of humans out of Africa. His interdisciplinary work, focused on Israel, but including Turkey, Eastern Europe, China and the former Soviet Union, has spanned 40 years and produced crucial information on Middle Pleistocene humans, Neanderthals, and early Homo sapiens.
 Research Interests
I have excavated a wide range of sites that have contributed to answering questions about the important steps in human cultural evolution: Israel, Sinai (Egypt), Turkey, Czech Republic, Republic of Georgia, and the People's Republic of China. My early work added evidence for the first "out of Africa" human dispersals, represented at the site of 'Ubeidiya in the Jordan Valley. As co-director of a large Israeli-French-U.S. research program, I spent two decades of field and laboratory research in Kebara, Qafzeh, and Hayonim caves in Israel demonstrating the early arrival of modern humans and the surprising late appearance of Neanderthals. This cooperative study opened the way to a better understanding of the cultural emergence of early modern foragers across Eurasia who are considered the bearers of the "creative explosion." I have also investigated the material remains of the latest hunter-gatherers in the southern Levant, known as the Natufian culture, and one of the first Neolithic communities of cereal cultivators in the Jordan Valley. I am currently involved in continuing field programs in both southeast Turkey and southern China, which are designed to identify cultural and economic processes in these major centers of the Neolithic Revolution.

 
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