Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Dr. Jana Zech

Kahlaische Strasse 10

07745 Jena


Dr. Jana Zech

Dr. Jana Zech

Dr. Jana Zech


  • +49 (0) 3641 646-993




Main Focus

As lab manager she is facilitating the labs of the Department of Archaeology. Jana is in charge of student and postdoctoral student training in the use of the equipment in the stable isotope lab, and health and safety protocol within the laboratory of the department of archaeology. She is responsible for the maintenance and day-to-day running of state of the art Gasbench-irMS, TC/EA and EA-irMS, GC-MSD and GC-C-irMS, as well as other equipment used in the preparation of archaeological samples for stable isotope analysis. She is committed to developing and applying novel stable isotope methodologies (such as compound specific isotope analyses of dD and 13C) in the study of the human past. In particular, Jana facilitates the use of isotope methodologies in the study of intra- and inter- societal differences in prehistoric and historical human diets, the development of detailed human stable isotope ecologies, and the development of new, detailed palaeoenvironmental proxies of immediate relevance to studies of past human responses to climatic and environmental change.  

Curriculum Vitae

Jana received her Master in Geography at the Technical University Dresden, Germany, where she applied U/Pb dating of zircons using Laser-ICP-MS. She received her PhD from the University of Bern, Switzerland in palaeogeoecology. For her PhD she focused on landscape and climate reconstruction applying 10Be surface exposure dating. As a visiting scientist at Brown University, USA, she focused on alkenone-paleotemperature determination and foraminifera determination for estimating past ocean productivity in the eastern equatorial Pacific. At the University of Bern she ran the stable isotope laboratory as well as the cosmogenic nuclide laboratory of the biogeochemistry and palaeoclimate research group of the Department of Geography. She has supervised BSc, MSc and PhD students in lab work and research with the research focus on climate and landscape change since the last ice age in South America and Eurasia applying biomarker and stable isotope analyses (compound specific dD, 13C), as well as 10Be surface exposure dating in South America and Eurasia. 



Hausmann, N., Prendergast, A. L., Lemonis, A., Zech, J., Roberts, P., Siozos, P., Anglos, D. (2019): Extensive elemental mapping unlocks Mg/Ca ratios as climate proxy in seasonal records of Mediterranean limpets, Scientific Reports, Volume 9, 3698, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-39959-9

Roberts, P., Stewart, M., Alagaili, A.N., Breeze, P., Candy, I., Drake, N., Groucutt, H.S., Scerri, E.M.L., Lee-Thorp, J., Louys, J., Zalmout, I.S., Al-Mufarreh, Y.S.A., Zech, J., Alsharekh, A.M., al Omari, A., Boivin, N., Petraglia, M. (2018). Fossil herbivore stable isotopes reveal Middle Pleistocene hominin palaeoenvironment in ‘Green Arabia’. Nature Ecology and Evolution, DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0698-9.

Ventresca Miller, A., Fernandes, R., Janzen, A., Nayak, A., Swift, J., Zech, J., Boivin, N., Roberts, P. (2018): Sampling and Pretreatment of Tooth Enamel Carbonate for Stable Carbon and Oxygen Isotope Analysis. J. Vis. Exp. (138), e58002, doi:10.3791/58002.

Posth, C., Nägele, K., Colleran, H., Valentin, F., Bedford, S., Kami, K. W., Shing, R., Buckley, H., Kinaston, R., Walworth, M., Clark, G. R. , Reepmeyer, Chr., Flexner, J., Maric, T., Moser, J., Gresky, J., Kiko, L., Robson, K. J., Auckland, K., Oppenheimer, S. J., Hill, A. V. S., Mentzer, A. J. , Zech, J., Petchey, F., Roberts, R., Jeong, C., Gray, R. D., Krause, J., & Powell, A. (2018): Language continuity despite population replacement in Remote Oceania, Nature Ecology & Evolution, Volume 2, pages 731–740, doi:10.1038/s41559-018-0498-2

Roberts, P., Fernandes, R., Craig, O.E., Larsen, T., Lucquin, A., Swift, J, Zech J. (2017): Calling all archaeologists: guidelines for terminology, methodology, data handling, and reporting when undertaking and reviewing stable isotope applications in archaeology. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2017 Dec 13. DOI: 10.1002/rcm.8044.

Schäfer, I.K., Wolf, D., Bliedtner, M., Zech, J., Faust, D., Zech, R.(2018): A δ13C and δ2H leaf wax record from the Late Quaternary loess-paleosoil sequence El Paraíso, Central Spain, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Volume 507, 52-59,

Wüthrich, L., Garcia Morabito, E., Zech, J., Gnägi, Chr., Trauerstein, M., Veit, H., Merchel, S., Scharf, A., Rugel, G., Christl, M., Zech, R. (2017): 10Be surface exposure dating of the last deglaciation in the Aare Valley, Switzerland, Swiss Journal of Geoscience,

Wüthrich, L., Bliedtner, M., Schäfer, I.K., Zech, J., Shajari, F., Gaar, F., Preusser, F., Salazar, G., Szidat, S., Zech, R. (2017): Late Quaternary climate and environmental reconstruction based on leaf wax analyses in the LPS Möhlin, Switzerland, DEUQUA 2016 special issue of “Eiszeitalter und Gegenwart”, E&G Quaternary Science Journal, 66, 91-100,

Zech, J., Terrizzano, C., Morrabito-Garcia, E., Veit, H., Zech, R (2017): Timing and extent of late pleistocene glaciation in the arid Central Andes of Argentina and Chile (22°-41°S), Special Issue: Deglaciation of America: from Alaska to Tierra de Fuego, Cuadernos de Investigación Geográfica.

Bova, S.C., Herbert, T., Rosenthal, Y., Altabet, M., Kalansky, J., Chazen, C. Mojarro, A., and Zech, J. (2014). Upward-propagating change in Eastern Equatorial Pacific intermediate water heat and carbon content during the last deglaciation. Paleoceanography, 30, 1407-1424, DOI: 10.1002/2015PA002816

May, J.-H., Zech, J., Zech, R., Preusser, F., Argollo, J., Kubik, P. W., Veit, H. (2011). Reconstruction of a complex late Quaternary glacial landscape in the Cordillera de Cochabamba (Bolivia) based on a morphostratigraphic and multiple dating approach. Quaternary Research 76 1: 106-118,

Zech, R., Zech, J., Kull Ch., Kubik P. W., Veit, H., (2010). Early last glacial maximum in the Southern Central Andes reveals northward shift of the westerlies at ~39 ka. Climate of the Past 7: 41-46, doi:10.5194/cp-7-41-2011

Zech, J., Zech, R., May, J.-H., Kubik, P. W., Veit, H.(2010): Lateglacial and early Holocene glaciation in the tropical Andes caused by La Nina-like conditions, Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 293, 248-254,

Zech, J., Zech, R., Kubik, P.W., Veit, H. (2009). Glacier and climate reconstruction at Tres Lagunas, NW Argentina, based on 10Be surface exposure dating and lake sediment analyses. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 284: 180-190,

Zech, R., May, J.-H., Kull, Ch., Ilgner, J., Kubik, P. W., and Veit, H. (2008). Timing of the late Quaternary glaciation in the Andes from ~15 to 40° S. Journal of Quaternary Science 23, 635-647, DOI: 10.1002/jqs.1200

Zech, J., Zech, R., Kubik, P.W., Veit, H. (2010). Pleistocene Glaciation in the arid Central Andes - Changes in the tropical circulation and the Southern Westerlies, Zurich, Ion Beam Physics, ETH,

Zech, J., Zech, R., Kubik, P.W., Veit, H. (2009). Pleistocence glaciation in the subtropical Andes. Paleoclimate reconstruction and a calibration site for SED. Zurich, Ion Beam Physics, ETH,

Zech, J., Jeffries, T., Faust, D., Ullrich, B., Linnemann, U. (2009). U/Pb-dating and geochemical characterization of the Brocken and the Ramberg Pluton, Harz Mountains, Germany, Geologica Saxonica, 56, 79-94,

Organizational Unit (Department, Group, Facility):

  • Department of Archaeology
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