The overarching goal of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History is to explore the human past over the long term using state-of-the-art analytical, genetic, archaeological and computational methods. Scientists from a broad range of diverse disciplines, including genetics, linguistics, archeology, anthropology and history, work together at the institute to answer fundamental questions about human biological and cultural evolution from the Palaeolithic until today. They also jointly develop innovative methods, in particular in the areas of genome and proteome sequencing, archaeological science, language documentation, bioinformatics and phylogeography.
The institute was founded in March 2014. The founding directors are Johannes Krause, who leads the Department of Archaeogenetics, and and Russell Gray, who directs the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution. A third Department, the Department of Archaeology, is directed by Nicole Boivin and began on August 1, 2016.
With the establishment of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, historical and evolutionary research finds a home where a broad range of biological and cultural questions about human history and development can be addressed using innovative methods, while Jena re-emerges as a global centre for phylogenetic and evolutionary studies [PDF].