Deepak Jha

Department of Archaeology

Main Focus

As a Postdoctoral Researcher at MPI-SHH, my research is driven by curiosity to unravel the mechanisms through which climate has shaped evolution of Homo species in the Indian subcontinent. My Ph.D. research work at the Stable Isotope Laboratory of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata, India, was oriented towards understanding the complex interaction between human and environment in India. I am utilising stable isotopic techniques (bulk and biomolecular level) to decipher changes in climatic conditions and their resultant effects on the prehistoric human population. I have also successfully applied the charcoal separation/identification from archaeological samples to understand the human-induced fire events and the role of fire in human evolution.

I have utilised a suite of analytical instrumentation, e.g., Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (IRMS) coupled with (via Conflo and Dual-Inlet) Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer (GCMS), Kiel IV Carbonate Device, Organic Elemental Analyzer, and Gas Bench to generate such proxy-based records for paleoenvironmental reconstruction.

Currently, I am working on multiple fluvial and the lacustrine system to decipher the effect of past climate change on the prehistoric humans in India and Malaysia. Apart from the paleoenvironmental reconstruction, I am also working to establish the modern calibration of compound-specific carbon and hydrogen isotopic values with respect to changing elevation gradient, pCO2, precipitation and temperature in the Himalaya. These calibrations study would be useful to infer the past climate variability in high altitude regions.


Curriculum Vitae

I joined MPI-SHH as a Postdoctoral Researcher in June 2021. I will be working on reconstructing paleoclimate, paleovegetation and paleofire conditions during the Paleolithic phases of the Indian subcontinent during my postdoctoral tenure. 

I earned my Ph.D. degree in Geological Sciences (April 2021) with a specialisation in Organic Geochemistry, Stable Isotope, Quaternary climate and Archaeology from IISER Kolkata, India. My Ph.D. project was focused on the reconstruction of climate, vegetation, fire and provenance of sediments collected from the Paleolithic to Neolithic sites situated in the Belan valley, India. I gained extensive experience in sampling and handling soil, plant, charcoal, soil carbonates and water samples for isotopic studies.

I received my Master of Science (MS) degree in Geological Sciences from IISER Kolkata (2015) with specialisation in Stable Isotope Geochemistry and Paleoclimate reconstruction. I completed my B.Sc. (Hons) in Geology from the University of Delhi (2013), India. 

I have been the recipient of international research and travel grants. For example, International Association of Sedimentologist (IAS) Postgraduate and Travel Grant, International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) Travel Grant and Goldschmidt Conference Grant. I am associated with Past Global Changes (PAGES) as a Regional Representative of Early Career Network (ECN) in India since 2018. I have a keen interest in teaching and guiding students in their research career. I have also mentored four masters and first-year PhD students in their research.


Publications

Jha, D.K., Samrat, R., Sanyal, P. 2021. The first evidence of controlled use of fire by prehistoric humans during the Middle Paleolithic phase from the Indian subcontinent. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 562, p.110151.

Singh, A., Muhammad, R.F., Taib, I., Jha, D.K. and Srivastava, A.K. 2021. Surface texture, mineralogy and stable isotope studies of nodular calcretes preserved in the YTT ash of Padang Terap river basin and Lenggong valley, Peninsular Malaysia: implications in its origin and paleoclimatic reconstruction. Rhizosphere, p.100380. 

Jha, D.K., Sanyal, P. and Philippe, A. 2020. Multi-proxy evidence of Late Quaternary climate and vegetational history of north-central India: Implication for the Paleolithic to Neolithic phases. Quaternary Science Reviews, 229, p.106121.

Pillai, A.A.S. Anoop, A. Sankaran, M. Sanyal, P. Jha, D.K. Ratnam, J. 2017. Mid-late Holocene vegetation response to climatic drivers and biotic disturbances in the Banni grasslands of western India. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 485, 869-878.l

Yadav, A. Mishra, P.K. Kumar, P. Jha, D.K. Kumar, V.V. Ambili, V. Anoop, A. 2017. Molecular distribution and carbon isotope of n-alkanes from Ashtamudi Estuary, South India: Assessment of organic matter sources and paleoclimatic implications. Marine Chemistry. 196, 62-70.


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