Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Robert Power

Kahlaische Strasse 10

07745 Jena



Robert Power

Robert Power

Robert Power


  • +49 (0) 3641 686-735




Curriculum Vitae

Robert Power is an archaeological scientist, specializing in using plant remains to reconstruct diet. He is currently a research fellow at the Department of Archaeology. Robert focuses on using plant microremains trapped in human dental calculus deposits to chart dietary change and the dispersal of staple crops in the western Indian Ocean region as part of a multidisciplinary research programme.

His broader research interests include (a) how dietary transitions occur globally, (b) diet and its role in hominin dispersals, and (c) the broader significance of plants in the evolution of the human diet. His doctoral thesis, entitled ‘Evaluating the dietary microremain record in dental calculus and its application in deciphering hominin diets in Palaeolithic Eurasia’, was completed at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the University of Leiden. The thesis examined how Neanderthals had a consistent use of plant foods in their animal food rich diet, despite occupying high latitudes. Robert’s MSc research used phytoliths to interpret Late Natufian subsistence and behaviours in Raqefet Cave, Mount Carmel. He has authored a variety of papers on his research in a number of international peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes.


Peer-reviewed journal articles

Power RC, Salazar-García DC, Wittig RM, Freiberg M,Henry AG, 2015. Dental calculus evidence of plant diet and life history transitions in the Taï Forest Chimpanzees. Scientific Reports, 5, 15161.

Power RC, Salazar-García DC, Straus LG, González Morales M, Henry AG, 2015. Microremains from El Mirón Cave human dental calculus suggest a mixed plant-animal subsistence economy during the Magdalenian in Northern Iberia. Journal of Archaeological Science, 60, 39–46.

PowerRC, Salazar-García DC, Wittig RM, Henry AG, 2014. Applications of optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy to dental calculus studies. Journal of Archaeological Science, 49, 160–169.

Power RC, Rosen AM, Nadel D, 2014. The economic and ritual utilization of plants at the Raqefet Cave Natufian site: the evidence from phytoliths. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 33,49-65.

Salazar-García DC, Power RC, Sanchís AS, Villaverde V, Walker MJ, Henry AG, 2013. Neanderthal diets in central and southeastern Mediterranean Iberia. Quaternary International, 318, 3–18.

Nadel N,Danin A, Power RC, Rosen AM, Bocquentin F, Tsatskin A, Rosenberg D, Yeshurun R,Weissbrod L, Rebollo NR, Barzilai O, Boaretto E, 2013. Earliest floral gravelining from 13,700- 11,700-y-old Natufian burials at Raqefet Cave, Mt. Carmel,Israel. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 110(29).

Book chapters

Power RC, In prep. Phytolith analyses report. In Brady N, The Medieval Rural Settlement Project: the excavations of Tulsk. Discovery Programme Monograph.

Power RC, Salazar-García DC, Henry AG, 2016. Dental calculus evidence of Gravettian diet and behaviour at Dolní Věstonice and Pavlov

Power RC, Rosen AM, Nadel D, 2016. Phytolith evidence of the use of plants as food by Late Natufians at Raqefet Cave. In (Ed.) Hardy K, Wild harvest: Plants in the hominin and pre-agrarian human worlds. Oxbow Books, Oxford.

Current projects

Rainforest reliance in the archaeological record

Biomolecular Prehistory of South Asia Project

Biological exchange, diet and health in African prehistory

Archaeology of the Comoros: Tracking Human Arrivals and the Emergence of Trade Links

Understanding phytolith taphonomy

Diet and Human Adaptation to the Expansion of Forests during the Early Holocene

Organizational Unit (Department, Group, Facility):

  • Department of Archaeology
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