Dr. Kseniia Boxleitner (Ashastina)

Postdoctoral Researcher
FEDD Research Group
DAE Research Group

Main Focus

Paleoecology, Paleoethnobotany, Central and Northeastern Asia

Kseniia is a post-doctoral research fellow in the independent research group for the study of Domestication and Anthropogenic Evolution (DAE) and for the "Fruits of Eurasia: Domestication and Dispersal" (FEDD) project, funded by the European Research Council. She works with samples from Central Asia, Europe, and the Caucasus region. The main method that she applies is plant macrofossil analyses

Research Projects

Fruits of Eurasia: Domestication and Dispersal (FEDD) project

Prunus Archaeological Research, Investigation and Survey (PARIS)

Caves and Rock Shelters of Central Asia: Time capsules of human behaviour.

Curriculum Vitae

Kseniia received her Diploma in Physical Geography and Ecology from the Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia, in 2011 and her double MSc degree in Polar and Marine Research from the University of Hamburg, Germany, and the Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia, in 2013.

Later on she began the PhD project “Tundra-Steppe: Interactions between vegetation, climate and large herbivores in West Beringia during the late Pleistocene” at the Senckenberg Research Station of Quaternary Palaeontology in Weimar, Germany. In 2018 Kseniia defended her PhD at the Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany, with her dissertation “Palaeo-environments at the Batagay site in inland West Beringia during the late Quaternary”.


Murton, J., Opel, T.Wetterich, S.Ashastina, K., Savvinov, G., Danilov, P., Boeskorov, V., 2023. Batagay megaslump: A review of the permafrost deposits, Quaternary environmental history, and recent developmentPermafrost and Periglac Process 118. doi:10.1002/ppp.2194

Dal Martello, R., von Baeyer, M., Hudson, M., Bjorn, R. G., Leipe, C., Zach, B., Mir-Makhamad, B., Billings, T.N., Muñoz Fernández, I.M., Huber, B., Boxleitner, K., Lu, J.-C., Chi, K.-A., Liu, H.-L., Kistler, L., Spengler, R.N., 2023. The Domestication and Dispersal of Large-Fruiting Prunus spp.: A Metadata Analysis of Archaeobotanical Material. Agronomy 13(4):1027. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041027

Shnaider, S., Zhilich, S.V., Zotkina, L.V., Boxleitner, K.A., Taylor, W.T., Sayfullaev, N., Koval, V.V., Baranova, S.V., Chernonosov, A.A., Kutnyakova, L.A. and Tonasso-Calvière, L., 2023. Occupation of highland Central Asia: New evidence from Kurteke rockshelter, Eastern Pamir. Archaeological Research in Asia, 34, p.100443.

Cerasoni, J.N., Hallett, E.Y., Orijemie, E.A., Ashastina, K., Lucas, M., Farr, L., Höhn, A., Kiahtipes, C.A., Blinkhorn, J., Roberts, P., Manica, A. 2023. Human interactions with tropical environments over the last 14,000 years at Iho Eleru, Nigeria. iScience 26(3), 106153, https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.isci.2023.106153

Spengler, R.N., Kienast, F., Roberts, P., Boivin, N., Begun, D.R., Ashastina, K., Petraglia, M. 2023. Bearing Fruit: Miocene Apes and Rosaceous Fruit Evolution. Biological Theory, pp. 1-18, https://doi.org//10.1007/s13752-022-00413-1

Shnaider, S. V., Ashastina, K., Alisher kyzy, S., Sayfullaev, N., Zakabluk, G. A., Chernonosov, A. A., Spengler, R. N., Zotkina, L. V. 2021. The results of the complex study of the Kurteke site (Eastern Pamir), Theory and Practice of Archaeological Research, 33(4), https://doi.org/10.14258/33(4).-16

Reinecke, J., Ashastina, K., Kienast, F., Troeva, E., Wesche, K. 2021. Effects of large herbivore grazing on relics of the presumed mammoth steppe in the extreme climate of NE-Siberia, Scientific Reports, 11, 12962. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-92079-1

Spengler, R.N., Petraglia, M., Roberts, P., Ashastina, K., Kistler, L., Mueller, N. and Boivin, N., 2021. Exaptation Traits for Megafaunal Mutualisms as a Factor in Plant Domestication, Frontiers in Plant Science12, p. 434.

Opel, T., Murton, J. B., Wetterich, S., Meyer, H., Ashastina, K., Günther, F., Grotheer, H., Mollenhauer, G., Danilov, P. P., Boeskorov, V., Savvinov, G. N., and Schirrmeister, L., 2019. Middle and Late Pleistocene climate and continentality inferred from ice wedges at Batagay megaslump in the Northern Hemisphere’s most continental region, Yana Highlands, interior Yakutia, Climate of the Past, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-142.

Kienast, F., Ashastina, K., and Troeva, E., 2018. Phylogeography of a west-Berin­gian endemic plant: An ancient seed of Stellaria jacutica Schischk. detected in permafrost deposits of the last interglacial. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 259, 48-54 p.

Ashastina, K., Kuzmina, S., Rudaya, N., Troeva, E., Schoch, W.H., Römermann, C., Reinecke, J., Otte, V., Savvinov, G., Wesche, K., and Kienast, F., 2018. Woodlands and steppes: Pleistocene vegetation in Yakutia‘s most continental part recorded in the Batagay permafrost sequence. Quaternary Science Reviews, 196, 38-61 p.

Ashastina, K., Schirrmeister, L., Fuchs, M., and Kienast, F., 2017. Palaeoclima­te characteristics in interior Siberia of MIS 6–2: first insights from the Batag­ay permafrost mega-thaw slump in the Yana Highlands. Climate of the Past, 13(7), p.795.

Ashastina, K., Kienast, F., 2016. Geheimnisse im Sibirischen Permafrost, Das Senckenberg-Wissenschaftsmagazin, Band 146, Heft 9/10.

Non-scientific publications and Public Outreach

An article in Science by Richard Stone "Siberia’s ‘gateway to the underworld’ grows as record heat wave thaws permafrost", published Jul. 28 2020.

A short video by the BBC "Siberia's enormous hole in the ground is getting bigger", published Jul. 27 2020.

Comic book Frozen Ground Cartoon. Lead translator of the Russian version of the Comic Book. https://frozengroundcartoon.com/

Ashastina, K., 2018. The vegetation of the Yana Highlands at the Batagay permafrost site during the last cold stage. FrostByte (a short video about the talk) for 5th European Conference on Permafrost, 23 June-1 July 2018, Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France

Ashastina, K., 2017. A researcher collects samples from a permafrost range in Siberia, June 2014. Winner photo at the work photo competition ‚Science on Camera‘, Nature, 545, p. 123, 4 May 2017.

Ashastina, K., Reinecke, J., 2017. Conserved in permafrost - glance in the Ice Age environment. Photo presentation at  360° OST - 15. Potsdamer Lange Nacht der Naturphotographie (360° EAST - 15. Potsdam Long Photography Night), Potsdam 14 January 2017.

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