Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

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. [more]


News

Congratulations to Patrick Roberts from the Department of Archaology for winning the Beutenberg-Campus Jena e.V's award for outstanding achievement by a young researcher. Patricks work has uncovered new insights into the relationship between humans and tropical forests in the past.

Patrick Roberts wins Beutenberg Campus award

Congratulations to Patrick Roberts from the Department of Archaology for winning the Beutenberg-Campus Jena e.V's award for outstanding achievement by a young researcher. Patricks work has uncovered new insights into the relationship between humans and tropical forests in the past.
Students have the opportunity to discover the science of human history through exciting hands-on experiments.Date:  Apr 26, 2018Time:  09:00 - 13:00 Host:  Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Forsche Schüler Day 2018

Students have the opportunity to discover the science of human history through exciting hands-on experiments.
Date:
Apr 26, 2018
Time: 09:00 - 13:00
Host: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History [more]
The first Homo sapiens fossil discovery from Saudi Arabia dates to 90,000 years ago during a time when the region’s deserts were replaced by grasslands.

First human migration out of Africa much more geographically widespread than previously thought

The first Homo sapiens fossil discovery from Saudi Arabia dates to 90,000 years ago during a time when the region’s deserts were replaced by grasslands.

[more]
Piers Kelly is co-editor of this new edited volume on Australian kinship systems. Australia is unique in the world for its diverse and interlocking systems of Indigenous social organisation. Arising from the large-scale AustKin project, this book presents recent original research by a range of authors in the field on the kinship and social category systems in Australia.

New book: Skin, Kin and Clan - The dynamics of social categories in Indigenous Australia

Piers Kelly is co-editor of this new edited volume on Australian kinship systems. Australia is unique in the world for its diverse and interlocking systems of Indigenous social organisation. Arising from the large-scale AustKin project, this book presents recent original research by a range of authors in the field on the kinship and social category systems in Australia. [more]
Date & Time: April 5, 2018, 9:00 - 18:00 Room: Villa V14 Hosts: Alision Crowther, Department of Archaeology

the Future of the PAST - New archaeological science approaches to cultural interaction and biological exchange in Prehistory

Date & Time: April 5, 2018, 9:00 - 18:00
Room: Villa V14
Hosts: Alision Crowther, Department of Archaeology [more]
The "Adventures in Archaeological Science" Coloring Book has been translated into over a dozen languages and has been distributed to collaborators and friends in countries far and wide, from Mongolia to Mexico.

"Adventures in Archaeological Science" Coloring Book travels the world

The "Adventures in Archaeological Science" Coloring Book has been translated into over a dozen languages and has been distributed to collaborators and friends in countries far and wide, from Mongolia to Mexico. [more]
The new field of palaeoproteomics, harnessing cutting-edge techniques to analyze ancient proteins, is growing quickly. Researchers set out standards and precautions that aim to provide it with a firm foundation.

New standards for ancient protein studies set forth by multi-national group of researchers

The new field of palaeoproteomics, harnessing cutting-edge techniques to analyze ancient proteins, is growing quickly. Researchers set out standards and precautions that aim to provide it with a firm foundation. [more]
Prof. Petraglia’s talk at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge “Following in Bridget Allchin’s Footsteps: the Current State of Stone Age Archaeology” reflected on Dr. Allchin’s pioneering work and contributions to the field throughout her career.

Prof. Michael Petraglia speaks at University of Cambridge memorial event for Dr. Bridget Allchin, a pioneer in the field of South Asian archaeology

Prof. Petraglia’s talk at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge “Following in Bridget Allchin’s Footsteps: the Current State of Stone Age Archaeology” reflected on Dr. Allchin’s pioneering work and contributions to the field throughout her career. [more]
The Dravidian language family, varieties of which are spoken by 220 million people across South Asia, is crucial in understanding the prehistory not only of the subcontinent but of Eurasia as a whole.

New linguistic analysis finds that Dravidian language family is approximately 4,500 years old

The Dravidian language family, varieties of which are spoken by 220 million people across South Asia, is crucial in understanding the prehistory not only of the subcontinent but of Eurasia as a whole. [more]
The ERC has selected Wolfgang Haak of the Department of Archaeogenetics as one of the 2017 recipients for its highly competitive Consolidator Grant, for his project "PALEoRIDER - Human health and migration in prehistory."

Wolfgang Haak awarded ERC Consolidator Grant for his project PALEoRIDER

The ERC has selected Wolfgang Haak of the Department of Archaeogenetics as one of the 2017 recipients for its highly competitive Consolidator Grant, for his project "PALEoRIDER - Human health and migration in prehistory." [more]
Computational analyses of the evolution of 155 Island South East Asian and Pacific societies reveal the way social and material factors combine to drive major transitions in human social organization.

Intensification of agriculture and social hierarchies evolve together, study finds

Computational analyses of the evolution of 155 Island South East Asian and Pacific societies reveal the way social and material factors combine to drive major transitions in human social organization. [more]
Ancient nuclear DNA from 15,000-year-old modern humans from Morocco, the oldest ever recovered from Africa, shows dual genetic ancestry to ancient Near Eastern and to sub-Saharan African populations.

Scientists discover genomic ancestry of Stone Age North Africans from Morocco, which shows links to the Near East and sub-Saharan Africa

Ancient nuclear DNA from 15,000-year-old modern humans from Morocco, the oldest ever recovered from Africa, shows dual genetic ancestry to ancient Near Eastern and to sub-Saharan African populations. [more]
Speaker: Prof. Kyle Harper, Professor of Classics and Letters, Senior Vice President and Provost, University of OklahomaDate & Time: Mar. 22, 2018, 15:30 Room: Villa V14 Hosts:  Johannes Krause & Christina Warinner, Department of Archaeogenetics

Distinguished Lecture by Prof. Kyle Harper - “Patterns of Disease in the Roman Empire”

Speaker: Prof. Kyle Harper, Professor of Classics and Letters, Senior Vice President and Provost, University of Oklahoma
Date & Time: Mar. 22, 2018, 15:30
Room: Villa V14
Hosts: Johannes Krause & Christina Warinner, Department of Archaeogenetics [more]
Scientists have further evidence that an ancient family of languages spread over most of the Australian continent in the last 6000 years, rapidly replacing pre-existing languages. But the puzzle remains as to why.

Tracking the spread of early hunter-gatherers through language

Scientists have further evidence that an ancient family of languages spread over most of the Australian continent in the last 6000 years, rapidly replacing pre-existing languages. But the puzzle remains as to why. [more]
This month we will be highlighting female employees and their work, beginning with Director Nicole Boivin of the Department of Archaeology. Check back here throughout the month for updates!

International Women's Day 2018 at the MPI-SHH

This month we will be highlighting female employees and their work, beginning with Director Nicole Boivin of the Department of Archaeology. Check back here throughout the month for updates! [more]
In a new video from Latest Thinking, Johann-Mattis List describes his research on automatic methods of language comparison, which have reached a level of performance that allows linguists to use them as a pre-screening tool.

"How Well Do Automatic Methods for Language Comparison Work?"

In a new video from Latest Thinking, Johann-Mattis List describes his research on automatic methods of language comparison, which have reached a level of performance that allows linguists to use them as a pre-screening tool. [more]
Participants from around the world will attend to learn about the latest cutting-edge techniques in archaeological science.

Department of Archaeology hosts a weeklong workshop on “International Applications of Archaeological Science”

Participants from around the world will attend to learn about the latest cutting-edge techniques in archaeological science. [more]
Speaker: Dr. María Martinón-Torres, Director, Centro National Research Center on Human Evolution (CENIEH), Burgos, SpainDate & Time: March 14, 2018, 15:30Room: Villa V14Hosts: Michael Petraglia and Nicole Boivin, Department of Archaeology

Distinguished Lecture by Dr. María Martinón-Torres - "The Evolution of Homo sapiens: Asian Perspectives"

Speaker: Dr. María Martinón-Torres, Director, Centro National Research Center on Human Evolution (CENIEH), Burgos, Spain
Date & Time: March 14, 2018, 15:30
Room: Villa V14
Hosts: Michael Petraglia and Nicole Boivin, Department of Archaeology [more]
Dogs create a mental representation of objects that they perceive through smell, a new study shows – and are surprised if what they find at the end of the trail differs from what they expected to find.

Ball or stuffed toy - do dogs “know” what they’re smelling?

Dogs create a mental representation of objects that they perceive through smell, a new study shows – and are surprised if what they find at the end of the trail differs from what they expected to find. [more]
New genetic research explains how Austronesian languages were retained throughout its history despite near-total replacement of early Austronesian-Lapita with Papuan ancestry.

Ancient DNA reveals genetic replacement despite language continuity in the South Pacific

New genetic research explains how Austronesian languages were retained throughout its history despite near-total replacement of early Austronesian-Lapita with Papuan ancestry. [more]
Second largest ancient DNA study provides insight into the arrival of the first farmers to Europe and their interactions with hunter-gatherers.

Ancient DNA study reveals the prehistory of Southeastern Europe

Second largest ancient DNA study provides insight into the arrival of the first farmers to Europe and their interactions with hunter-gatherers. [more]
Largest ancient DNA study ever conducted answers the long-debated question of whether the spread of “Beaker” pottery was due to population migrations or the movement of cultural ideas.

Ancient DNA reveals impact of the “Beaker Phenomenon” on prehistoric Europeans

Largest ancient DNA study ever conducted answers the long-debated question of whether the spread of “Beaker” pottery was due to population migrations or the movement of cultural ideas. [more]
Stable isotope research group of the MPI-SHH provides recommendations on terminology, methodology, data handling, and reporting when developing and reviewing stable isotope applications in archaeology.

"Calling all archaeologists"

Stable isotope research group of the MPI-SHH provides recommendations on terminology, methodology, data handling, and reporting when developing and reviewing stable isotope applications in archaeology. [more]
Mr. Rajachandran Madhan and researchers discussed ongoing projects in India and possibilities for future collaborations.

Visit from the Counsellor for Science & Technology of the Indian Embassy in Germany

Mr. Rajachandran Madhan and researchers discussed ongoing projects in India and possibilities for future collaborations. [more]
Dr. Yang, whose research areas include Paleolithic East Asia, lithic techniques and raw material sourcing, is a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Shixia Yang granted a Humboldt Research Fellowship to conduct research at the Institute

Dr. Yang, whose research areas include Paleolithic East Asia, lithic techniques and raw material sourcing, is a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. [more]
A research team from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Tübingen examines the genetic material of 18th century German architect George Bähr to learn more about his appearance and health.

A typical Central European - The genome of the architect of the Dresden Frauenkirche deciphered

A research team from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Tübingen examines the genetic material of 18th century German architect George Bähr to learn more about his appearance and health.
Analysis of ancient DNA found that Scandinavia was settled by hunter-gatherers via a southern and a northern route, and reveals that agriculture was likely introduced by migrating agriculturalists.

Northern European population history revealed by ancient human genomes

Analysis of ancient DNA found that Scandinavia was settled by hunter-gatherers via a southern and a northern route, and reveals that agriculture was likely introduced by migrating agriculturalists. [more]
In a new video from Latest Thinking, Olivier Morin explains his recent reserach, in which he examined the letters of 116 writing systems from all over the world.

"How Does Writing Reflect Deep Human Preferences for Certain Shapes?"

In a new video from Latest Thinking, Olivier Morin explains his recent reserach, in which he examined the letters of 116 writing systems from all over the world. [more]
Our inaugural monthly "Work-in-Progress" seminar featuring: Paul Heggarty (DLCE), Monica Tromp (DA) and Cosimo Posth (DAG)Date: January 18, 2018Time: 15:00Room: Villa V14

Cross-Departmental Work-in-Progress Seminar

Our inaugural monthly "Work-in-Progress" seminar featuring: Paul Heggarty (DLCE), Monica Tromp (DA) and Cosimo Posth (DAG)
Date: January 18, 2018
Time: 15:00
Room: Villa V14 [more]
Salmonella enterica, the bacterium responsible for enteric fever, may be the long-debated cause of the 1545-1550 AD “cocoliztli” epidemic in Oaxaca, Mexico that heavily affected the native population.

Possible cause of early colonial-era Mexican epidemic identified

Salmonella enterica, the bacterium responsible for enteric fever, may be the long-debated cause of the 1545-1550 AD “cocoliztli” epidemic in Oaxaca, Mexico that heavily affected the native population. [more]