Information for

Institute members

Latest publications

Blasi, D. E.; Wichmann, S.; Hammarström, H.; Stadler, P. F.; Christiansen, M. H.:
Sound–meaning association biases evidenced across thousands of languages.
Feldman, M.; Harbeck, M.; Keller, M.; Spyrou, M. A.; Rott, A.; Trautmann, B.; Scholz, H. C.; Päffgen, B.; Peters, J.; McCormick, M. et al.; Bos, K. I.; Herbig, A.; Krause, J.:
A high-coverageYersinia pestis genome from a 6th-century Justinianic plague victim.
Kelly, P.:
Excavating a hidden bell story from the Philippines: a revised narrative of cultural-linguistic loss and recuperation.

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

News from the institute

Joboffer: PhD-Fellowships in the Max Planck Harvard project on the Ancient Mediterranean  [more]

Sound of words is no coincidence

Particular sounds are preferred or avoided in non-related languages far more often than previously assumed [more]

Justinian plague

First complete reconstruction of the early medieval pathogen genome Yersinia pestis from Bavarian skeletons [more]

New Excavations in Kuumbi Cave

A multidisciplinary team led by N. Boivin recently excavated one of Zanzibar’s most important caves, revealing a complex human occupation history. [more]

Institute Profile

The overarching goal of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History is to explore the history of humans using state-of-the-art analytical and genetic methods. Scientists from different disciplines, such as genetics, linguistics, archeology, anthropology and history are working together  to answer fundamental questions about the biological and cultural evolution of man from the paleolithic until today, and they jointly develop innovative methods, in particular in the areas of genome sequencing, language documentation, bioinformatics and phylogeography.

The institute was founded in March 2014. Founding directors are Johannes Krause (Department of Archaeogenetics) and Russell Gray (Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution). A third Department of Archaeology (Director Nicole Boivin) started on December 1st.


By founding and establishing the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena the evolutionary research gets a place where a broad range of biological and cultural questions about human history and development will be answered by innovative methods; and at the same time evolutionary research returns to its origins in Germany.


Predecessor Institute

Before the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History was established the Max Planck Institute of Economics was located in Jena from 1993 until 2014.
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