Skip to content

Grantee Spotlight: Jamie Clark

Grantee Spotlight

Jamie Clark works on fauna from Mughr el-Hamamah (Jordan) in the Zooarchaeology Lab at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Jamie Clark (University of Alaska Fairbanks) was awarded a Leakey Foundation Research Grant during our fall 2015 cycle for her project entitled “Early Upper Paleolithic hunting strategies at Mughr el-Hamamah, Jordan.”

Understanding the reasons behind the success and spread of our species (Homo sapiens sapiens) relative to archaic humans such as the Neanderthals is a major focus of research within paleoanthropology.  A significant amount of research has centered on the Levant due to its potential as a corridor for population expansion out of Africa. Not only does the region preserve a number of sites associated with the Early Upper Paleolithic (EUP; presumably produced by modern humans), but it also preserves a rich record of Neanderthal occupation. The site of Mughr el-Hamamah (MHM, Jordan) is one of only a few sites in the southern Levant that both dates to the initial stages of the Early Upper Paleolithic (EUP; 45-39 ka cal BP) and has extensive faunal preservation. The site thus offers a unique opportunity to explore questions relating to human subsistence and landscape use during a critical period in the later expansion of our species from Africa into Eurasia.

Serial sampling a gazelle molar for stable isotope analysis. Photo courtesy Gideon Hartman.

Our project has two primary components: zooarchaeological analysis (to be conducted by Jamie Clark) and isotopic analysis (to be conducted by Gideon Hartman, co-PI). Zooarchaeological work will focus on the analysis of the large assemblage of identifiable bones (~11,000 specimens). Stable isotope work will focus on the analysis of carbon and oxygen isotopic data deriving from the tooth enamel from two key prey species: gazelle and fallow deer. We will combine these datasets in order to address three distinct issues: First, to explore the hypothesis that EUP populations had a wider diet breadth than their Middle Paleolithic (MP) counterparts. Second, to reconstruct environmental conditions in the eastern Jordan Valley. Finally, we will develop a model of landscape use and subsistence strategies that will provide a baseline for comparison with sites that pre- and post-date the EUP, allowing for new insights into variation in the adaptive strategies of MP and UP populations in the region.

Photograph of the Early Upper Paleolithic site of Mughr el-Hamamah (the site is the second cave from the left). Photo courtesy of Aaron Stutz.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

I [name], of [city, state ZIP], bequeath the sum of $[ ] or [ ] percent of my estate to L.S.B. Leakey Foundation for Research Related to Man’s Origins, Behavior & Survival, (dba The Leakey Foundation), a nonprofit organization with a business address of 1003B O’Reilly Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129 and a tax identification number 95-2536475 for its unrestricted use and purpose.

If you have questions, please contact Sharal Camisa Smith sharal at 

This will close in 0 seconds