News Release

Clark to study human behavior within the context of long-term environmental change

Grant and Award Announcement

George Mason University

Area around Sefunim Cave (Israel)

image: Area around Sefunim Cave (Israel) view more 

Credit: Dr. Jamie L. Clark

Dr. Jamie Clark, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, Center for Social Science Research, has been awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct research at the archaeological site of Sefunim Cave (Israel).  

Dr. Clark will lead research on climate change—and the nature of human responses to that change—during the Last Glacial Period (~115,000-12,000 years ago). The Last Glacial Period was characterized by profound shifts in climate, culminating in the Last Glacial Maximum, when sea levels dropped to 130 m below the modern coastline. On a human scale, the phase witnessed significant biological, cultural, and technological changes, including the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans.  

There has been considerable debate about the role climate change played in these transitions, fueled in part by a lack of high-resolution, culturally-linked environmental data. By combining high-resolution paleoclimate and zooarchaeological data, the project will provide considerable insight into human-environmental interactions during a key period in the later evolution of the human species.  

Dr. Clark is conducting this research in collaboration with Dr. Gideon Hartman (University of Connecticut). Dr. Ron Shimelmitz (University of Haifa) and Dr. Andrew Kandel (Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, University of Tübingen) are leading excavations at Sefunim Cave. 

Clark will receive $44,745 from NSF for this research. Funding will begin in March 2022 and will end in late February 2025.  


About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia's largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 38,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Learn more at


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