Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Ayushi Nayak

Kahlaische Strasse 10

07745 Jena


Ayushi Nayak

Ayushi Nayak
Ayushi Nayak
Department of Archaeology

Phone: +49 3641 686-739

Main Focus

Ayushi is a PhD Student at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. Her research focusses on the nature of the different trajectories of human activities in prehistory that have led to the hyper-diversity that defines the Indian sub-continent today. Through the application of biomolecular approaches, her work explores different aspects of the human past in South Asia, such as diet, early farming strategies, population movement, and inter-cultural interactions. In addition to this, Ayushi is interested in approaches to decolonising archaeological and anthropological theory, public engagement with cultural heritage, and humanist perspectives on integrating scientific method with social theory.

Curriculum Vitae

Ayushi Nayak received her BA in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Oxford. Her dissertation, 'A Stable Isotope Approach to Farming Ecologies in the Indian Neolithic-Chalcolithic', was the first study to apply stable isotope methods to human, faunal, and botanical remains from prehistoric India.

Current Projects

Biomolecular Prehistory of South Asia 


Éadaoin Harney, Ayushi Nayak, Nick Patterson, Pramod Joglekar, Veena Mushrif-Tripathy, Swapan Mallick, Nadin Rohland, Jakob Sedig, Nicole Adamski, Rebecca Bernardos, Nasreen Broomandkhoshbacht, Brendan J. Culleton, Matthew Ferry, Thomas K. Harper, Megan Michel, Jonas Oppenheimer, Kristin Stewardson, Zhao Zhang, Harashawaradhana, Maanwendra Singh Bartwal, Sachin Kumar, Subhash Chandra Diyundi, Patrick Roberts, Nicole Boivin, Douglas J. Kennett, Kumarasamy Thangaraj, David Reich, and Niraj Rai. (2019). Ancient DNA from the skeletons of Roopkund Lake reveals Mediterranean migrants in India. Nature Communications 10, Article number: 3670. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11357-9.

Boivin, N., Fuller, D. Q., Korisettar, R., Nayak, A. and Petraglia, M. D. (2018). The emergence of agriculture and pastoralism in the Northern Maidan region of South Deccan South India. In Ravi Korisettar (Ed.), Beyond Stones and More Stones, Vol. II (pp. 95-126). The Mythic Society, Bengaluru. 

Ventresca Miller, A., Fernandes, R., Janzen, A., Nayak, A., Swift, J., Zech, J., Boivin, N., and Roberts, P. (2018). Sampling and pretreatment of tooth enamel carbonate for stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis. Journal of Visualized Experiments (138), e58002.

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