Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Dr. Ricardo Fernandes

Kahlaische Strasse 10

07745 Jena



Dr. Ricardo Fernandes

Dr. Ricardo Fernandes

Dr. Ricardo Fernandes


  • +49 (0) 3641 686-728


Main Focus

Ricardo’s current research project at the MPI-SHH aims at reconstructing the lifeways of ancient Roman and Greeks and it embodies a vision of an integrated approach to archaeological research (see also The proposed integrated approach combines as key components: Big Data collection through the IsoMemo initiative, employment of multiple (and novel) isotopic proxies established from the analysis of controlled animal feeding experiments, and the use of Bayesian modelling. Under such an integrated approach it becomes possible to combine historical and archaeological evidence from diverse disciplines to quantify different aspects of past human lifeways such as diet, mobility, and chronology.

Ricardo has applied and developed a diverse suite of scientific methods to the study of past human lifeways. He has taken part in projects that relied on stable and radiogenic isotope analysis to establish accurate chronologies, study past human subsistence strategies and mobility patterns, and reconstruct paleoenvironments. He also created a Bayesian statistical method to quantify diets from isotopic data, conducted feeding experiments to expand the existing understanding of dietary physiology, tested methods to improve the reliability of isotopic signals measured in archaeological materials, and developed a method for the radiocarbon dating of single amino acids. Ricardo is the leading responsible for the IsoMemo initiative (, a Big Data initiative of isotopic data.

In addition to his interest in Classical Archaeology, Ricardo currently collaborates in several other archaeological, ecological, and forensics projects. This includes the study of Bronze Age sites in Russia (in collaboration with the Russian State Museum in Moscow and the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg), Hunter-Gatherer sites in northern Chile (in collaboration with University of Chile and University of Concepción), and medieval European sites (in collaboration with several institutions).

Curriculum Vitae

Ricardo Fernandes has a Bachelor's degree in Physics from Porto University (Portugal) and a Master’s degree in Geoarchaeology with a Minor in Mediterranean and Near East Archaeology from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). In 2013 he concluded with summa cum laude distinction his Ph.D. in Natural Sciences at the University of Kiel (Germany).


‘ An open-access and collaborative isotope database for bioarcheological samples from Graeco-Roman World and its margins‘,Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports (in press). Salesse K., Fernandes R., de Rochefort X., Brůžek J., Castex D., Dufour E.

‘A novel tertiary prep-HPLC method for the isolation of single amino acids for AMS-radiocarbon measurement‘ Journal of Chromatography (2017), vol. 1058 pp. 85-92. Fernandes R., Koudelka T., Tholey A., Dreves A.

‘Radiocarbon in ecology: Insights and perspectives from aquatic and terrestrial studies‘Methods in Ecology and Evolution (2017). Larsen T., Yokoyama Y., Fernandes R.

 ‘Isotope in Archaeology (editorial)‘, In: Fernandes, R.  and Jaouen, K. (eds.), Isotopes in Archaeology (2017), Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. Fernandes R., Jaouen, K.

‘Bivalves and Radiocarbon‘, In: Allen, M. (ed.), Molluscs in Archaeology (2017), pp. 361- 380, Oxbow Books. Fernandes R., Dreves A.

‘Artefacts and ecofacts from El Gaucho site (2325 cal BC) hiperarid coast f northern Chile. Contextual reconstruction of a disturbed site‘(article in Spanish) Taltalia (2016), vol. 9 pp. 7-25. Mengozzi F., Contreras R., Andrade P. , Power X. , Flores C., Salazar D., Bravo G., Urrea J., Fernandes R., Hamann C.

‘Subsistence strategies of Meshchera lowlands populations during the Eneolithic-Bronze ages: results from a multidisciplinary approach‘, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports (2016). Shishlina N., Kaverzneva E., Fernandes R., Sevastyanov V., Bobrov A., Roslyakova N., Gimranov D., Kuznetsova O.

‘Wirklich nur Bauern? Bemerkenswerte Essgewohnheiten im neolithischen Ostorf‘, Archäologie in Deutschland (2016).  Fernandes R.

 ‘Subsistence continuity linked to consumption of marine protein in the Formative Period in the interfluvic coast of Northern Chile: reassessing contacts with agropastoral groups from highlands‘, Radiocarbon (2015). Andrade P., Fernandes R., Codjambassis K., Urrea J., Olguín L., Rebolledo S., Lira F., Aravena C., Berríos M.

‘Quantitative diet reconstruction of a Neolithic population using a Bayesian mixing model (FRUITS): the case study of Ostorf (Germany)’, American Journal of Physical Anthropology (2015). Fernandes R., Grootes, P.M., Nadeau M-J., Nehlich O.

‘A simple(r) model to predict the source of dietary protein carbon in individual consumers’, Archaeometry (2015). Fernandes R.

‘Human Exploitation of Aquatic Landscapes (editorial)’, Internet Archaeology (2014). Fernandes R., Meadows J.

‘Dietary history contributes to enterotype-like clustering and functional metagenomic content in the intestinal microbiome of wild mice’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2014). Wang J., Linnenbrink M., Kuenzel S., Fernandes R., Nadeau M-J., Rosenstiel P., Baines J.F.

‘Towards the use of radiocarbon as a dietary proxy: establishing a first wide-ranging radiocarbon reservoir effects baseline for Germany’, Environmental Archaeology (2014). Fernandes R., Rinne C., Nadeau, M-J., Grootes, P.M.

‘A preliminary study on the influence of cooking on the C and N isotopic composition of multiple organic fractions of fish (mackerel and haddock)’, Journal of Archaeological Science (2014). Fernandes R., Meadows J., Dreves A., Nadeau, M-J., Grootes, P.M.

 ‘EDTA based protocols for the cleaning of ancient bone bioapatite’, In: Scott R., Braekmans D., Carremans M., Degryse P., Proceedings of the 39th International Symposium for Archaeometry, (2014), pp. 73-78. Fernandes, R., Nadeau, M-J., Grootes, P.M.

‘Food Reconstruction Using Isotopic Transferred Signals (FRUITS): a Bayesian model for diet reconstruction’, PLOS ONE (2014), vol. 9(2): e87436. Fernandes R., Millard A.R., Brabec M., Nadeau M-J., Grootes P.M.

 ‘The use of Hand-Held XRF for investigating the composition and corrosion of Roman copper-alloyed artefacts’, Heritage Science (2013), vol. 1(30). Fernandes R., van Os B.H.J., Huisman H.D.J.

 ‘Investigating the correlation between monthly average temperatures and tithe proxy data from the Low Countries’, Climatic Change (2013), vol. 119(2) pp. 291-306. de Kraker A., Fernandes R.

‘A freshwater lake saga: carbon routing within the aquatic food web of Lake Schwerin’, Radiocarbon (2013), vol. 55(2-3) pp. 1102-1113. Fernandes R., Dreves A., Nadeau M-J., Grootes P.M.

‘Dating the finds contained in the cenotaph of Queen Editha’, In: Meller H., Schenkluhn W., Schmul B.E.H. (eds.), Archäologie in Sachsen-Anhalt Sonderband: Königin Editha (2012), pp. 157-168. Nadeau M-J., Hüls M., Grootes P.M., Fernandes R., Kromer B., Lindauer S.

‘Macronutrient-based-model for dietary carbon routing in bone collagen and bioapatite’, Journal of Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (2012), vol. 4(4) pp. 291-301. Fernandes R., Nadeau M-J., Grootes P.M.

‘Revisiting the chronology of northern German monumentality sites: preliminary results’, Megaliths and Identities’, In: Hinz M., Müller J., Lüth F. (eds.), Frühe Monumentalität und soziale Differenzierung, Band 2, Verlag Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH (2012), pp. 87-103. Fernandes R., Rinne C., Nadeau M-J., Grootes P.M.

 ‘Mussels with Meat: bivalve tissue-shell radiocarbon age differences and archaeological implications’, Radiocarbon (2012), vol. 54(3-4) pp. 953-965. Fernandes R., Bergemann S., Hartz S., Grootes P.M., Nadeau M-J., Melzner F., Rakowski A., Hüls M.

‘Testing an alternative high-throughput tool for investigating bone diagenesis: FTIR in attenuated total reflection (ATR) mode’, Archaeometry (2012), vol. 55(3) pp. 507–532. Hollund H.I., Ariese F., Fernandes, R., Jans M.M.E., Kars H.

 ‘Assessing screening criteria for the radiocarbon dating of bone mineral’, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B (2012), vol. 294 pp. 226–232. Fernandes R., Hüls M., Nadeau M-J., Grootes P.M., Garbe-Schönberg D., Hollund H.I., Lotnyk A., Kienle L.

‘Mapping the probability of settlement location for the Malia-Lasithi region (Crete, Greece) during the Minoan Protopalatial period’, In: Kluiving, S.J., & E.B. Guttmann-Bond (eds.), Landscape Archaeology between Art and Science – From a multi- to an interdisciplinary approach, Landscape & Heritage Series, Proceedings, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam (2012), pp. 353-368. Fernandes R., Geeven G., Soetens S., Klontza-Jaklova V.

‘Deletion/Substitution/Addition (DSA) model selection algorithm applied to the study of archaeological settlement patterning’, Journal of Archaeological Science (2011), vol. 38(9) pp. 2293-2300. Fernandes R., Geeven G., Soetens S., Klontza-Jaklova V.

‘New ideas in predictive modelling: a Minoan case study’, Proceedings SOJA 2009 (Symposium Onderzoek  Jonge Archeologen - Research Symposium for Young Archaeologists)(2009). Fernandes R.

‘Study on Roman and Merovingian copper alloyed artefacts. In soil corrosion processes and recycling practices’, IGBA rapport 2009-12 (2009), pp. 235.  Fernandes R.

‘Μαθηματικά μοντέλα πρόβλεψης στην αρχαιολογία: Δυνατότητες και προβλήματα’, (Archaeological  Predictive Modelling: Potentialities and Problems). Αμάλθεια (Almatheia). (2009), vol. 40(158-159) pp. 27 - 32. Fernandes R.

Organizational Unit (Department, Group, Facility):

  • Department of Archaeology
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