Dr. Jennifer M. Miller (she/her)

Research Associate
Department of Archaeology

Main Focus

Human evolution, symbolic communication, cognitive complexity, Middle/Later Stone Age, Middle/Upper Palaeolithic, ostrich eggshell beads, land snail shell beads, experimental archaeology

Curriculum Vitae

Jennifer earned a BA in 2007 from the Archaeology Department at Simon Fraser University. Intrigued by human evolution, she began studies at the University of Alberta, completing her MA in 2012, and PhD in 2019.

Her graduate research examined ostrich eggshell (OES) beads as a window into Stone Age human relationships, and her dissertation (Variability in Ostrich Eggshell Beads from the Middle and Later Stone Age of Africa) is the largest existing study of OES ornaments. In addition to her own project, Jennifer is also a collaborator on larger research teams working in Kenya, Malawi, and South Africa.

From 2019-2023, Jennifer was a postdoctoral researcher at MPI-GEA. As part of her work she helped lead investigations into Panga ya Saidi cave in Kenya, which is a massive cave complex, with a long history of human activity that spans an important time in the evolution of our species. 

Currently, Jennifer is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Social Sciences at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in Shenzhen, China.


Miller, J.M. (in press) Perspectives on Stone Age Sociality: A New Role for Ostrich Eggshell Beads, in Culturing the Body: Prehistoric Perspectives on Identity and sociality, B. Collins and A. Nowell Eds.

Prendergast, M.E., Miller, J.M., Mwebi, O., Ndiema, E., Shipton, C., Boivin, N., and Petraglia, M. (2023). Small game forgotten: Late Pleistocene foraging strategies in eastern Africa, and remote capture at Panga ya Saidi, Kenya. Quaternary Science Reviews 305:108032.

Goldstein, S., Shipton, C., Miller, J.M., Ndiema, E., Boivin, N., Petraglia, M. (2022) Hunter-gatherer technological organization and responses to Holocene climate change in coastal, lakeshore, and grassland ecologies of eastern Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 280:107390.

Miller, J.M., and Wang, Y.V. (2021) Ostrich eggshell beads reveal 50,000-year-old social network in Africa. Nature 601:234-239.

Faulkner, P., Miller, J.M., Quintana Morales, E.M., Crowther, A., Shipton, C., Ndiema, E., Boivin, N., Petraglia, M.D. (2021) 67,000 years of coastal engagement at Panga ya Saidi, eastern Africa. PLoS ONE 16(8):e0256761.

Martinon-Torres, M., d'Errico, F. ...Miller, J.M. ... Boivin, N. and Petraglia, M.D. (2021) Earliest known human burial in Africa. Nature 595:95-100.

Miller, J.M. (2021) "Ostrich eggshell beads" In The Encyclopedia of Ancient History: Asia and Africa, D.T. Potts, E. Harkness, J. Neelis, R. McIntosh (Eds). John Wiley & Sons.

Miller, J.M.*, Keller, H.M., Heckel, C., Kaliba, P., Thompson, J.C.* (2021) Approaches to land snail shell bead manufacture in the early Holocene of Malawi. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 13(37).

Miller, J.M., Werner, J.J., Biittner, K.M., and Willoughby, P.R. (2020) Fourteen Years of Archaeological and Heritage Research in the Iringa Region, Tanzania. African Archaeological Review 37:271-292.

Miller, J.M. and Sawchuk, E.A. (2019) Ostrich Eggshell Bead Diameter in Holocene Africa: Regional Variation with the Spread of Herding in Southern and Eastern Africa. PLOS ONE 14(11):e0225143.

Willoughby, P.R., Biittner, K.M., Bushozi, P.M., and Miller, J.M. (2019). A German Rifle Casing and Chief Mkwawa of the Wahehe: The Colonial and Post-Colonial Significance of Mlambalasi Rockshelter, Iringa Region, Tanzania. Journal of African Archaeology 17(1)23-35.

Werner, J.J.,and Miller, J.M. (2018) Distinguishing Stone Age Drilling Techniques on Ostrich Eggshell Beads: An Experimental Approach. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 22:108-114.

Miller, J.M.*, Sawchuk, E.A.*, Reedman, A.R., and Willoughby, P.R. (2018) Land Snail Shell Beads in the Sub-Saharan Archaeological Record: When, Where, and Why? African Archaeological Review 36:347-378.

Biittner, K.M., Sawchuk, E.A., Miller, J.M., Werner, J.J.M., Bushozi, P.M., and Willoughby, P.R. (2017) Excavations at Mlambalasi Rockshelter: A Terminal Pleistocene to Recent Iron Age Record in Southern Tanzania. African Archaeological Review 34:275-295.

Miller, J.M. and Willoughby, P.R. (2014) Radiometrically Dated Ostrich Eggshell Beads from the Middle and Later Stone Age of Magubike Rockshelter, Southern Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution 74:118-122.

* denotes equal-authorship contribution

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