From June 29 to July 8 we were in Russia at Denisova cave for an invited meeting. It was an opportunity for us to present our new series of dates from the site and to hear the latest results from others working here, mainly the geneticists.
Prof. Svante Pääbo was one of the speakers, along with some of the geneticists working on the Denisova and Neanderthal genome projects (Fernando Racimo from Berkeley). Laurent Excoffier from Berne came to talk about modelling genetic introgressions. We had talks from Dr Alexandra Buzhilova and Dr Maria Mednikova on the physical remains of Neanderthals from the region. Dr Maria Dobrovolskaya talked about stable isotope research. Dr Bence Viola and Dr Andrei Krivoshapkin talked about their research in central Asia. Prof. Milford Wolpoff and Prof. John Hawks were other notable speakers. John talked about the incredible finds at the RIsing Star site in the Cradle of Humanity area of South Africa.
The meeting was beautifully divided into talks and presentations, which took place in the mornings, and excursions to some of the key sites in the Altai region, which were in the afternoons. Among the sites we went to were Kamminaya, Ohkladnikov (below), Kara Bom, Annui 1 (above) and 2, Karama and Ust-Karakol. We also had a long day trip to the higher altitude Altai regions where we were able to see some of the famous Scythian kurgans.
Everyone agreed that the meeting was perfect in terms of the size and speakers invited. The organisers, Profs. Anatoly Derevianko and Michael Shunkov, are to be congratulated. We all hope to be back again in 2017 for more.