News from the Department of Archaeology

Researchers from the MPI-SHH have found what may be the oldest-known images of dogs, some of whom are wearing leashes. The original study, published in the Journal of Anthropolical Archaeology, is described in Science Magazine (with accompanying video).

Pre-Neolithic evidence for dog-assisted hunting strategies in Arabia

Researchers from the MPI-SHH have found what may be the oldest-known images of dogs, some of whom are wearing leashes. The original study, published in the Journal of Anthropolical Archaeology, is described in Science Magazine (with accompanying video).
Alicia Ventresca Miller is co-editor of this new edited volume, which brings together the latest studies using heavy and light stable isotopic analyses of humans and animals to investigate pastoralist diets, movement, and animal management strategies.

New Book: Isotopic Investigations of Pastoralism in Prehistory

Alicia Ventresca Miller is co-editor of this new edited volume, which brings together the latest studies using heavy and light stable isotopic analyses of humans and animals to investigate pastoralist diets, movement, and animal management strategies. [more]
The project, headed by Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, receives Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Ansari Award for Serving Kingdom’s Antiquities for a Pioneering Non-Saudi Group at the 1st Saudi Archeology Convention.

Green Arabia project wins award for archaeological work in Saudi Arabia

The project, headed by Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, receives Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Ansari Award for Serving Kingdom’s Antiquities for a Pioneering Non-Saudi Group at the 1st Saudi Archeology Convention. [more]
Exploring the long durée of Central Asian prehistory through cross-disciplinary approaches and methodologies. Nov. 7, 2017.

DA Workshop: Telescopic and Microscopic Visions of Central Asian Prehistory

Exploring the long durée of Central Asian prehistory through cross-disciplinary approaches and methodologies. Nov. 7, 2017. [more]
Article in the Guardian by postdoctoral researcher William Taylor discusses the problems currently faced in Mongolia due looting of archaeological sites. Mongolia’s cold, dry climate can result in incredible archaeological finds, but a harsh economic downturn means looting has risen to disastrous levels.

Beyond Genghis Khan: how looting threatens to erase Mongolia's history

Article in the Guardian by postdoctoral researcher William Taylor discusses the problems currently faced in Mongolia due looting of archaeological sites. Mongolia’s cold, dry climate can result in incredible archaeological finds, but a harsh economic downturn means looting has risen to disastrous levels. [more]
This workshop aims to explore the ways in which new and innovative multidisciplinary approaches can reveal how specific opportunities and obstacles shaped the spread of peoples, plants, and animals in Holocene eastern Africa.

Eastern Africa Workshop - Multidisciplinary approaches to investigating the spread of peoples, plants and animals in Holocene Eastern Africa

This workshop aims to explore the ways in which new and innovative multidisciplinary approaches can reveal how specific opportunities and obstacles shaped the spread of peoples, plants, and animals in Holocene eastern Africa. [more]
Genetic analyses uncover lost human populations and surprising relationships, revealing a complex history of population movements in ancient Africa.

First large-scale ancient genomes study from sub-Saharan African skeletons lifts veil on prehistoric populations

Genetic analyses uncover lost human populations and surprising relationships, revealing a complex history of population movements in ancient Africa. [more]
Max Planck Society Research Grant awarded to project led by Dr. Patrick Roberts to use tree DNA and chronological profiling to reconstruct prehistoric human rainforest disturbance.

A living archaeology in the Amazonian rainforest

Max Planck Society Research Grant awarded to project led by Dr. Patrick Roberts to use tree DNA and chronological profiling to reconstruct prehistoric human rainforest disturbance. [more]
IsoArcH (www.isoarch.eu) is a new open-access and collaborative isotope database for bioarchaeological samples (humans, animals, plants and organic residues) from the Graeco-Roman world (sensu lato) and its margins. It covers the period from the Iron Age to the end of the Late Antiquity/the Early Middle Age (i.e. from 12th c. BC to 8th c. AD).

IsoArcH.eu: New open-access database for bioarchaeological samples

IsoArcH (www.isoarch.eu) is a new open-access and collaborative isotope database for bioarchaeological samples (humans, animals, plants and organic residues) from the Graeco-Roman world (sensu lato) and its margins. It covers the period from the Iron Age to the end of the Late Antiquity/the Early Middle Age (i.e. from 12th c. BC to 8th c. AD). [more]
Agreement will facilitate strong research cooperations between the two institutions.

Memorandum of Understanding signed with National Museums of Kenya

Agreement will facilitate strong research cooperations between the two institutions. [more]
“A transect of environmental variability across South Asia and its influence on Late Pleistocene human innovation and occupation,” examines climate change as a driver of evolution and innovation.

Review of Pleistocene climates and environments across South Asia documents different tempos of human technological innovation

“A transect of environmental variability across South Asia and its influence on Late Pleistocene human innovation and occupation,” examines climate change as a driver of evolution and innovation.

New technologies provide evidence in the debate on when and how Asian fauna was introduced to Africa.

Early Indian Ocean trade routes bring chicken, black rat to eastern Africa

New technologies provide evidence in the debate on when and how Asian fauna was introduced to Africa. [more]
Interdisciplinary research on Quaternary climate and environmental changes and their effects on human dispersals based on sediment cores from the Jubbah palaeolake basin (Saudi Arabia). Organized by Florian Ott and Michael Petraglia. August 31 - September 1, 2017

DA Workshop: Green Arabia Drilling

Interdisciplinary research on Quaternary climate and environmental changes and their effects on human dispersals based on sediment cores from the Jubbah palaeolake basin (Saudi Arabia).
Organized by Florian Ott and Michael Petraglia.
August 31 - September 1, 2017 [more]
A partnership has been established between the IsoMemo initiative and the PRIMDAT and HOMDAT pre-Holocene hominin and human stable isotope databases (MPI-SHH).

Big Data initiative: partnership between IsoMemo and PRIMDAT/HOMDAT databases

A partnership has been established between the IsoMemo initiative and the PRIMDAT and HOMDAT pre-Holocene hominin and human stable isotope databases (MPI-SHH). [more]
Distinguished Lecturer Seminar SeriesAugust 16, 2017, 15:00Hosted by the Department of Archaeology

Oliver Craig: "Millet Agriculture, Material Culture and Organic Residue Analysis”

Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series
August 16, 2017, 15:00
Hosted by the Department of Archaeology [more]
A wooden container found in an ice patch at 2,650m in the Swiss Alps could help archaeologists shed new light on the spread and exploitation of cereal grains following a chance discovery.

Archaeologists find key to tracking ancient wheat in frozen Bronze Age box

A wooden container found in an ice patch at 2,650m in the Swiss Alps could help archaeologists shed new light on the spread and exploitation of cereal grains following a chance discovery.

[more]
A group of scientists has traced the domestication of cats by analyzing the DNA of ancient felines, discovering two major waves of domestication that left their mark in our modern housecat.

The Complex Domestication of Cats

A group of scientists has traced the domestication of cats by analyzing the DNA of ancient felines, discovering two major waves of domestication that left their mark in our modern housecat.

[more]
Petraglia’s work on the project will focus on fluctuating wet and arid phases in Arabia over the past 125,000 years, and how humans adapted to these changes.

Michael Petraglia and team receive grant from Levehulme Trust to study early human dispersals out of Africa

Petraglia’s work on the project will focus on fluctuating wet and arid phases in Arabia over the past 125,000 years, and how humans adapted to these changes. [more]
Department of Archaeology WorkshopDate: Jun 29 to Jun 30Organizer: Monica Tromp

Biological Markers of Change in Southeast and Island Southeast Asia

Department of Archaeology Workshop
Date: Jun 29 to Jun 30
Organizer: Monica Tromp [more]
Douka and her team have been awarded an ERC Starting Grant to search for human fossils, particularly Denisovans.

Katerina Douka joins the Department of Archaeology

Douka and her team have been awarded an ERC Starting Grant to search for human fossils, particularly Denisovans. [more]
Florian Ott, Researcher at the Department of Archaeology, has been awarded the Outstanding Student Poster and PICO (OSPP) Award of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Outstanding Student Poster Award for Florian Ott

Florian Ott, Researcher at the Department of Archaeology, has been awarded the Outstanding Student Poster and PICO (OSPP) Award of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). [more]
The Oxford Companion to Cheese, with a contribution by Jessica Hendy, is a recipient of the 2017 James Beard Foundation Book Award for best Reference and Scholarship Book. The Oxford Companion to Cheese is a reference with over 850 entries on all aspects of cheese - historical and cultural, scientific, and technical - with contributors ranging from cheesemakers and cheese retailers to dairy scientists, microbiologists, historians, and anthropologists. Hendy’s entry is on “Archaeological Detection" and outlines how archaeologists and scientists identify dairying practices in the past.   2017 James Beard Foundation Award Winners

The Oxford Companion to Cheese wins 2017 James Beard Foundation Book Award

The Oxford Companion to Cheese, with a contribution by Jessica Hendy, is a recipient of the 2017 James Beard Foundation Book Award for best Reference and Scholarship Book. The Oxford Companion to Cheese is a reference with over 850 entries on all aspects of cheese - historical and cultural, scientific, and technical - with contributors ranging from cheesemakers and cheese retailers to dairy scientists, microbiologists, historians, and anthropologists. Hendy’s entry is on “Archaeological Detection" and outlines how archaeologists and scientists identify dairying practices in the past.

2017 James Beard Foundation Award Winners

[more]
A new paper published in the American Journal of Primatology provides a comprehensive plant reference dataset for a forest habitat of three primate species in Sri Lanka.

Study of stable carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen isotopes of plants in Sri Lanka reveals complexity in interpreting primate stable isotope ecology

A new paper published in the American Journal of Primatology provides a comprehensive plant reference dataset for a forest habitat of three primate species in Sri Lanka.

A new paper published in the Journal of Human Evolution demonstrates human reliance on tropical rainforest resources in the Late Pleistocene, 36,000 years ago.

Earliest evidence for human rainforest resource reliance – 36,000 years ago in Sri Lanka

A new paper published in the Journal of Human Evolution demonstrates human reliance on tropical rainforest resources in the Late Pleistocene, 36,000 years ago.

The European Research Council is celebrating its 10th anniversary. With their project proposals Sealinks and Palaeodeserts, Nicole Boivin and Michael Petraglia were among the first winners of ERC grants. Featured by Science and the MPG: Career success stories of the European Research Council, At 10, Europe`s 'excellence' fund ponders changes, Top funding for top researchers

10 years of ERC

The European Research Council is celebrating its 10th anniversary. With their project proposals Sealinks and Palaeodeserts, Nicole Boivin and Michael Petraglia were among the first winners of ERC grants.

Featured by Science and the MPG: Career success stories of the European Research Council, At 10, Europe`s 'excellence' fund ponders changes, Top funding for top researchers
How have humans colonised the entire planet and reshaped its ecosystems in the process? This unique and groundbreaking collection of essays explores human movement through time, the impacts of these movements on landscapes and other species, and the ways in which species have co-evolved and transformed each other as a result.

New Book: Human Dispersal and Species Movement in Prehistory

How have humans colonised the entire planet and reshaped its ecosystems in the process? This unique and groundbreaking collection of essays explores human movement through time, the impacts of these movements on landscapes and other species, and the ways in which species have co-evolved and transformed each other as a result. [more]
Workshop Feb. 20. - Feb. 21. at MPI for the Science of Human History

Megafauna and Methods: New Approaches to the Study of Megafaunal Extinctions

Workshop Feb. 20. - Feb. 21. at MPI for the Science of Human History [more]
Foraging lifestyles persisted in New Guinean tropical forest environments even after the advent of farming 8,000 years ago

Persistent tropical foraging in the highlands of terminal Pleistocene/Holocene New Guinea

February 06, 2017

Foraging lifestyles persisted in New Guinean tropical forest environments even after the advent of farming 8,000 years ago [more]
Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series Jan 25, 2017Host: Department of Archaeology

Matthew J. Collins: Survival and utility of ancient proteins in archaeology

Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series
Jan 25, 2017
Host: Department of Archaeology

Dr. Patrick Roberts of the Department of Archaeology, has been involved for the second time to an UNESCO meeting centred on tropical forest conservation.

"Exploring frameworks for tropical forest conservation" - UNESCO Conference, Mexico, 24th-26th  January 2017

Dr. Patrick Roberts of the Department of Archaeology, has been involved for the second time to an UNESCO meeting centred on tropical forest conservation. [more]
In a new paper in Evolutionary Anthropology, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History review the evidence for the time-depth and nature of Homo’s relationship with tropical forest environments.

Homo sapiens demonstrates unique tropical forest adaptations

In a new paper in Evolutionary Anthropology, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History review the evidence for the time-depth and nature of Homo’s relationship with tropical forest environments.
The earth sciences have defined a new human age - now social scientists are calling for broader and more interdisciplinary discussion.Erle Ellis, Mark Maslin, Nicole Boivin, and Andrew Bauer:Involve social scientists in defining the Anthropocene. Nature, Vol. 540, 8. December 2016

No Anthropocene without us!

The earth sciences have defined a new human age - now social scientists are calling for broader and more interdisciplinary discussion.
Erle Ellis, Mark Maslin, Nicole Boivin, and Andrew Bauer:Involve social scientists in defining the Anthropocene. Nature, Vol. 540, 8. December 2016

[more]
One of our research themes is exploring the ways in which biological and cultural processes interact over long-term historic and prehistoric timescales. In a piece published Dec 7 in The Guardian, incoming postdoctoral fellow William Taylor highlights recent archaeological research on climate and ancient nomadic life in Mongolia, discussing implications for the future in the context of anthropogenic climate change.

Archaeology sheds light on Mongolia’s uncertain nomadic future

One of our research themes is exploring the ways in which biological and cultural processes interact over long-term historic and prehistoric timescales. In a piece published Dec 7 in The Guardian, incoming postdoctoral fellow William Taylor highlights recent archaeological research on climate and ancient nomadic life in Mongolia, discussing implications for the future in the context of anthropogenic climate change. [more]
With their research project “Heirloom Microbes: The History and Legacy of Ancient Dairying Bacteria”, Dr. Jessica Hendy and Dr. Christina Warinner have won the Max Planck Society’s Annual Donation Award 2017.

The hidden bacterial legacy of ancient cultures

November 15, 2016

With their research project “Heirloom Microbes: The History and Legacy of Ancient Dairying Bacteria”, Dr. Jessica Hendy and Dr. Christina Warinner have won the Max Planck Society’s Annual Donation Award 2017. [more]
Conference at MPI for for the Science of Human History, November 8-10, 2016 Organised by Prof. Michael Petraglia

Human Dispersals in the Late Pleistocene - Interdisciplinary Approaches Towards Understanding the Worldwide Expansion of Homo sapiens

Conference at MPI for for the Science of Human History, November 8-10, 2016 Organised by Prof. Michael Petraglia [more]
Nicole Boivin on TV. Aired on Oct 25, 2016, 3sat [In German]

Anthropocene. The age of humanity has begun

Nicole Boivin on TV. Aired on Oct 25, 2016, 3sat [In German] [more]
Pantropica: an investigation of geographical and temporal diversity in human ‘rainforest prehistories’, Jena October 3-6, 2016.  

 'Green hell' has long been home for humans. Andrew Curry covers the PANTROPICA workshop at MPI SHH in Science.

PANTROPICA Workshop

Pantropica: an investigation of geographical and temporal diversity in human ‘rainforest prehistories’, Jena October 3-6, 2016.

'Green hell' has long been home for humans. Andrew Curry covers the PANTROPICA workshop at MPI SHH in Science.

[more]
A multidisciplinary team of scientists recently excavated one of Zanzibar’s most important caves, revealing a complex human occupation history over the last 18,000 years.  Initial occupations by Later Stone Age hunter-gatherers ranged between ~18,000 - 13,000 years ago.  Later peoples inhabited the cave in the late first to early second millennia AD. The new research contrasts with previous excavations and interpretations, painting a radically different picture of human habitation in the Zanzibar Archipelago of Tanzania.

New Excavations in Kuumbi Cave, Zanzibar

A multidisciplinary team of scientists recently excavated one of Zanzibar’s most important caves, revealing a complex human occupation history over the last 18,000 years.  Initial occupations by Later Stone Age hunter-gatherers ranged between ~18,000 - 13,000 years ago.  Later peoples inhabited the cave in the late first to early second millennia AD. The new research contrasts with previous excavations and interpretations, painting a radically different picture of human habitation in the Zanzibar Archipelago of Tanzania. [more]
Press release to: Boivin, N. L.; Melinda Zederc, M.; Fullerd, D.; Crowthere, A.; Larsonf, G.; Erlandsong, J.; Denhamh, T.; Petraglia, M. D.: Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 (23)  , S. 6388-6396 (2016)

‘Pristine’ landscapes haven’t existed for thousands of years due to human activity

June 06, 2016

Press release to: Boivin, N. L.; Melinda Zederc, M.; Fullerd, D.; Crowthere, A.; Larsonf, G.; Erlandsong, J.; Denhamh, T.; Petraglia, M. D.: Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 (23) , S. 6388-6396 (2016)
[more]
Press release to: Alison Crowther, Leilani Lucas, Richard Helm, Mark Horton, Ceri Shipton, Henry T. Wright, Sarah Walshaw, Matthew Pawlowicz, Chantal Radimilahy, Katerina Douka, Llorenç Picornell-Gelaber, Dorian Q Fuller, and Nicole Boivin (2016) Ancient crops provide first archaeological signature of the westward Austronesian expansion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 (24), 6635-6640 (2016)

Ancient crops provide a window into Madagascar’s past

May 30, 2016

Press release to: Alison Crowther, Leilani Lucas, Richard Helm, Mark Horton, Ceri Shipton, Henry T. Wright, Sarah Walshaw, Matthew Pawlowicz, Chantal Radimilahy, Katerina Douka, Llorenç Picornell-Gelaber, Dorian Q Fuller, and Nicole Boivin (2016) Ancient crops provide first archaeological signature of the westward Austronesian expansion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 (24), 6635-6640 (2016)

[more]