Professor of Anthropology Alan Mann has been awarded the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the National Education Ministry of France for his anthropological research and mentoring of French students. The award is presented for significant contributions to furthering French intellectual, scientific and artistic achievements in the world.
The award will be presented in June in the village of Marillac-le-Franc in the Charente Department, where Professor Mann was co-director of an excavation of a prehistoric site with French and Princeton undergraduate students.
Anthropology 315: Modern Human Origins
Each summer since 2001, with the exception of 2008, a joint team from the Université de Bordeaux 1 and Princeton University have been excavating the prehistoric site of les Pradelles, a collapsed cave rich in archaeological remains. The human occupation, between 45 and 83,000 years BP, was in the middle of the last glacial advance when Neandertals occupied Europe. The site was a hunting camp where animals were brought back to be butchered, with the meatier parts being carried off to a living area that has now been lost. The group from Princeton is made up of undergraduates enrolled in Anthropology 315, Modern Human Origins, a six week program of intensive class and laboratory work involving training in the scientific methods of prehistoric archaeology. Students learn all aspects of excavation, analysis and identification. We are fortunate in being able to train our students at Les Pradelles, which is one of the very few sites currently being excavated in Europe from which Neandertal fossil bones have been found.
During the last few years of the excavation, a Neandertal thigh bone was found.