News 2017

Revising the story of the dispersal of modern humans across Eurasia
Technological advances and multidisciplinary research teams are reshaping our understanding of when and how humans left Africa – and who they met along the way. more
Crossroads: Multidisciplinary investigations of South Asia's past
This workshop will bring together different specialists working in South Asia to share results and facilitate an inter-disciplinary approach to uncovering the past of this diverse region "crossroads".
Date: Dec. 15, 9:00-18:00
Host: Department of Archaeology
Organizer: Ayushi Nayak ( more
"Adventures in Archaeology!"
The MPI-SHH Adventures in Archaeology coloring book, debuted at the Long Night of Sciences, is now available for download in three languages - with more on the way!
Spanish/Español more
Pre-Neolithic evidence for dog-assisted hunting strategies in Arabia
Researchers from the MPI-SHH have found what may be the oldest-known images of dogs, some of whom are wearing leashes. The original study, published in the Journal of Anthropolical Archaeology, is described in Science Magazine (with accompanying video). more
New Book: Isotopic Investigations of Pastoralism in Prehistory
Alicia Ventresca Miller is co-editor of this new edited volume, which brings together the latest studies using heavy and light stable isotopic analyses of humans and animals to investigate pastoralist diets, movement, and animal management strategies. more
Green Arabia project wins award for archaeological work in Saudi Arabia
The project, headed by Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, receives Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Ansari Award for Serving Kingdom’s Antiquities for a Pioneering Non-Saudi Group at the 1st Saudi Archeology Convention. more
DA Workshop: Telescopic and Microscopic Visions of Central Asian Prehistory
Exploring the long durée of Central Asian prehistory through cross-disciplinary approaches and methodologies. Nov. 7, 2017. more
Beyond Genghis Khan: how looting threatens to erase Mongolia's history
Article in the Guardian by postdoctoral researcher William Taylor discusses the problems currently faced in Mongolia due looting of archaeological sites. Mongolia’s cold, dry climate can result in incredible archaeological finds, but a harsh economic downturn means looting has risen to disastrous levels. more
Eastern Africa Workshop - Multidisciplinary approaches to investigating the spread of peoples, plants and animals in Holocene Eastern Africa
This workshop aims to explore the ways in which new and innovative multidisciplinary approaches can reveal how specific opportunities and obstacles shaped the spread of peoples, plants, and animals in Holocene eastern Africa. more
Diane Gifford-Gonzalez: Epizoötic Challenges to Pastoral Expansion in Africa: Minding the “Bovine Gap”
Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series
October 25, 2017, 15:30
Hosted by the Department of Archaeology more
First large-scale ancient genomes study from sub-Saharan African skeletons lifts veil on prehistoric populations
Genetic analyses uncover lost human populations and surprising relationships, revealing a complex history of population movements in ancient Africa. more
A living archaeology in the Amazonian rainforest
Max Planck Society Research Grant awarded to project led by Dr. Patrick Roberts to use tree DNA and chronological profiling to reconstruct prehistoric human rainforest disturbance. more
Memorandum of Understanding signed with National Museums of Kenya
Agreement will facilitate strong research cooperations between the two institutions. more
Review of Pleistocene climates and environments across South Asia documents different tempos of human technological innovation
“A transect of environmental variability across South Asia and its influence on Late Pleistocene human innovation and occupation,” examines climate change as a driver of evolution and innovation. more
Early Indian Ocean trade routes bring chicken, black rat to eastern Africa
New technologies provide evidence in the debate on when and how Asian fauna was introduced to Africa. more
DA Workshop: Green Arabia Drilling
Interdisciplinary research on Quaternary climate and environmental changes and their effects on human dispersals based on sediment cores from the Jubbah palaeolake basin (Saudi Arabia).
Organized by Florian Ott and Michael Petraglia.
August 31 - September 1, 2017 more
Big Data initiative: partnership between IsoMemo and PRIMDAT/HOMDAT databases
A partnership has been established between the IsoMemo initiative and the PRIMDAT and HOMDAT pre-Holocene hominin and human stable isotope databases (MPI-SHH). more
Oliver Craig: "Millet Agriculture, Material Culture and Organic Residue Analysis”
Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series
August 16, 2017, 15:00
Hosted by the Department of Archaeology more
Archaeologists find key to tracking ancient wheat in frozen Bronze Age box
A wooden container found in an ice patch at 2,650m in the Swiss Alps could help archaeologists shed new light on the spread and exploitation of cereal grains following a chance discovery. more
The Complex Domestication of Cats
A group of scientists has traced the domestication of cats by analyzing the DNA of ancient felines, discovering two major waves of domestication that left their mark in our modern housecat. more
Michael Petraglia and team receive grant from Levehulme Trust to study early human dispersals out of Africa
Petraglia’s work on the project will focus on fluctuating wet and arid phases in Arabia over the past 125,000 years, and how humans adapted to these changes. more
Biological Markers of Change in Southeast and Island Southeast Asia
Department of Archaeology Workshop
Date: Jun 29 to Jun 30
Organizer: Monica Tromp more
Matt Sponheimer - Early Hominin Diet: Where are we and where do we go from here?

Matt Sponheimer - Early Hominin Diet: Where are we and where do we go from here?

Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series
June 28, 2017, 15:00
Hosted by the Department of Archaeology
Katerina Douka joins the Department of Archaeology
Douka and her team have been awarded an ERC Starting Grant to search for human fossils, particularly Denisovans. more
Outstanding Student Poster Award for Florian Ott
Florian Ott, Researcher at the Department of Archaeology, has been awarded the Outstanding Student Poster and PICO (OSPP) Award of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). more
The Oxford Companion to Cheese wins 2017 James Beard Foundation Book Award
The Oxford Companion to Cheese, with a contribution by Jessica Hendy, is a recipient of the 2017 James Beard Foundation Book Award for best Reference and Scholarship Book. The Oxford Companion to Cheese is a reference with over 850 entries on all aspects of cheese - historical and cultural, scientific, and technical - with contributors ranging from cheesemakers and cheese retailers to dairy scientists, microbiologists, historians, and anthropologists. Hendy’s entry is on “Archaeological Detection" and outlines how archaeologists and scientists identify dairying practices in the past.

2017 James Beard Foundation Award Winners more
Michael Richards: Using isotopes to track past human migrations
Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series
April 12, 2017
Hosted by Department of Archaeology more
Precision chronology sheds new light on the origins of Mongolia’s nomadic horse culture
According to new research, nomadic horse culture – famously associated with Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes – can trace its roots back more than 3000 years in the eastern Eurasian Steppes, in the territory of modern Mongolia. more
Study of stable carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen isotopes of plants in Sri Lanka reveals complexity in interpreting primate stable isotope ecology
A new paper published in the American Journal of Primatology provides a comprehensive plant reference dataset for a forest habitat of three primate species in Sri Lanka. more
Earliest evidence for human rainforest resource reliance – 36,000 years ago in Sri Lanka
A new paper published in the Journal of Human Evolution demonstrates human reliance on tropical rainforest resources in the Late Pleistocene, 36,000 years ago. more
10 years of ERC

10 years of ERC

The European Research Council is celebrating its 10th anniversary. With their project proposals Sealinks and Palaeodeserts, Nicole Boivin and Michael Petraglia were among the first winners of ERC grants.

Featured by Science and the MPG: Career success stories of the European Research Council, At 10, Europe`s 'excellence' fund ponders changes, Top funding for top researchers
New Book: Human Dispersal and Species Movement in Prehistory
How have humans colonised the entire planet and reshaped its ecosystems in the process? This unique and groundbreaking collection of essays explores human movement through time, the impacts of these movements on landscapes and other species, and the ways in which species have co-evolved and transformed each other as a result. more
Megafauna and Methods: New Approaches to the Study of Megafaunal Extinctions
Workshop Feb. 20. - Feb. 21. at MPI for the Science of Human History more
Persistent tropical foraging in the highlands of terminal Pleistocene/Holocene New Guinea
Foraging lifestyles persisted in New Guinean tropical forest environments even after the advent of farming 8,000 years ago more
Matthew J. Collins: Survival and utility of ancient proteins in archaeology

Matthew J. Collins: Survival and utility of ancient proteins in archaeology

Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series
Jan 25, 2017
Host: Department of Archaeology

"Exploring frameworks for tropical forest conservation" - UNESCO Conference, Mexico, 24th-26th  January 2017
Dr. Patrick Roberts of the Department of Archaeology, has been involved for the second time to an UNESCO meeting centred on tropical forest conservation. more
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