Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

MPI-SHH officially supports March For Science

Our institute supports the "March for Science". Let's walk the streets of Jena on April 22, 2017. [more]

New insights into origins of Mongolia’s nomadic horse culture 

According to new research, nomadic horse culture can trace its roots back more than 3000 years in the eastern Eurasian Steppes. [more]

Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series

Guest lecture by Michael Richards on the topic of "Using isotopes to track past human migrations" on April, 12, 3 pm.

New research group

On April 1st a new ERC funded research group starts at MPI-SHH: CALC (Computer-Assisted Language Comparison) [more]

Forsche Schüler Project 2017

Listen up, students! Visit us and learn more about human history on April 27, 2017. [more]

New publication in Nature

 DNA in hair samples from Aboriginal people across Australia has revealed that populations have been continuously present in the same regions for up to 50,000 years.

Institute Profile

The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) in Jena was founded in 2014 to target fundamental questions of human history and evolution since the Paleolithic. From the vantage point of three interdisciplinary research departments – the Department of Archaeogenetics (Director Johannes Krause), the Department of Archaeology (Director Nicole Boivin), and the Department of Cultural and Linguistic Evolution (Director Russell Gray) – the MPI-SHH pursues an integrative approach to the study of human history that bridges the traditional divide between the natural sciences and the humanities. By assembling experts from research areas as diverse as paleogenetics, proteomics, bioinformatics, anthropology, archaeology, history, and quantitative linguistics, the MPI-SHH seeks to join and advance a broad range of methods, approaches, and datasets to explore big questions of the human past. Using state-of-the-art analytical techniques and technologies, the MPI-SHH tackles these and other topics:  

  • the settlement history of the world through past human migrations and genetic admixture events
  • the spread and diversification of human-associated microbes and infectious diseases
  • the impact of climatic and environmental change on human subsistence in different world regions
  • human modification of ecosystems
  • the rise of early forms of global trade systems
  • the spread and diversification of languages, cultures, and social practices
  • the co-evolution of genes and culture

With the establishment of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, a long tradition of phylogenetic and evolutionary research is revitalized in the city of Jena [learn more].