Dr. Christian Leipe

Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Archaeology
+49 3641 686-727
Room 010

Main Focus

Christian Leipe’s research focuses on the interactions between the human, environment and climate realms since the last glacial maximum (last ca. 25.000 years). As a palaeo(ethno)botanist and palaeoenvironmental researcher he is interested in climate and environmental changes and how they have influenced human agency and cultural trajectories and vice versa. While his work takes a Eurasian perspective, his geographic focus is Asia.

Christian mainly employs methods of palynology and archaeobotany and various numerical approaches to reconstruct past climate and environmental changes and human activities, such as agriculture and deforestation. In addition, he has been looking at anthropogenic impacts on landscapes from an archaeological perspective. He has been quantitively analysing representative archaeological and archaeobotanical data from East Asia to study archaeological sites and population dynamics and discuss observed patterns in terms of migration processes, subsistence economies, crop dispersal and early farming in different parts of this vast region of the world. Staying at Nagoya University, Japan, he initiated and led pioneering work on the application of flow cytometry in Quaternary research involving the purification of different types of biogenic microfossils (e.g. pollen, algae, diatoms, phytoliths) for various purposes (e.g. radiocarbon dating, isotopic and ancient DNA analyses).

Curriculum Vitae

After studying Geography at universities in Berlin and Christchurch (NZ), Christian completed his doctoral project at Free University Berlin in 2014. His dissertation titled “Insights into late Quaternary vegetation and climate dynamics in Monsoon Asia obtained from numerical pollen-based reconstructions” gained new insights into palaeoenvironments and archaeological cultures in India, Japan and the Russian Far East. Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), he conducted postdoctoral research at Free University Berlin (2014–2018). He has obtained mobility grants by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to support his international research activities. As a recipient of a prestigious long-term DFG Research Fellowship for talented early career researchers and a Gerda Henkel Foundation scholarship, Christian spent four years (2018–2022) as a Visiting Associate Professor at Nagoya University.




Leipe, C.*, Lu, J.-C., Chi, K.-A., Lee, S.-M., Yang, H.-C., Wagner, M., 2022. Archaeobotanical evidence of plant cultivation from the Sanbaopi site in south-western Taiwan during the Late Neolithic and Metal Age. The Holocene 0(0). doi:10.1177/09596836221131689.

Kobe, F., Leipe, C., Shchetnikov, A.A., Hoelzmann, P., Gliwa, J., Olschewski, P., Goslar, T., Wagner, M., Bezrukova, E.V., Tarasov, P.E., 2022. Not herbs and forbs alone: Pollen-based evidence for the presence of boreal trees and shrubs in Cis-Baikal (Eastern Siberia) derived from the Last Glacial Maximum sediment of Lake Ochaul. Journal of Quaternary Science 37(5) 868–883. doi:10.1002/jqs.3290

Spate, M., Leipe, C., Motuzaite Matuzeviciute, G., 2022. Reviewing the palaeoenvironmental record to better understand long-term human-environment interaction in Inner Asia during the Late Holocene. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 10. doi:10.3389/fevo.2022.939374

Yamamoto, M.*, Wang, F., Irino, T., Yamada, K., Haraguchi, T., Nakamura, H., Gotanda, K., Yonenobu, H., Leipe, L., Chen, X.Y., Tarasov, P.E., 2022. Environmental evolution and fire history of Rebun Island (northern Japan) during the past 17,000 years based on biomarkers and pyrogenic compound records from Lake Kushu. Quaternary International 623, 8–18. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2021.09.015

Endo, E.*, Leipe, C., 2022. The onset, dispersal and crop preferences of early agriculture in the Japanese archipelago as derived from seed impressions in pottery. Quaternary International 623, 35–49. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2021.11.027

Sergusheva, E.A.*, Leipe, C., Klyuev, N.A., Batarshev, S.V., Garkovik, A.V., Dorofeeva, N.A., Kolomiets, S.A., Krutykh, E.B., Malkov, S.S., Moreva, O.L., Sleptsov, I.Y., Hosner, D., Wagner, W., Tarasov, P.E.*, 2022. Evidence of millet and millet agriculture in the Far East Region of Russia derived from archaeobotanical data and radiocarbon dating. Quaternary International 623, 50–67. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2021.08.002

Lyashchevskaya, M.S.*, Bazarova, V.B., Dorofeeva, N.A., Leipe, C.*, 2022. Late Pleistocene–Holocene environmental and cultural changes in Primorye, southern Russian Far East: A review. Quaternary International 623, 68–82. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2022.02.010

Leipe, C.*, Lu, J.-c., Chi, K.-a., Lee, S.-m., Yang, H.-c., Wagner, M., Tarasov, P.E., 2022. Evidence for cultivation and selection of azuki (Vigna angularis var. angularis) in prehistoric Taiwan sheds new light on its domestication history. Quaternary International 623, 83–93. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2021.06.032

Long, T.*, Chen, H., Leipe, C., Wagner, M., Tarasov, P.E., 2022. Modelling the chronology and dynamics of the spread of Asian rice from ca. 8000 BCE to 1000 CE. Quaternary International 623, 101–109. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2021.11.016

Kobe, F., Hoelzmann, P., Gliwa, J., Olschewski, P., Peskov, S.A., Shchetnikov, A.A., Danukalova, G.A., Osipova, E.M., Goslar, T., Leipe, C., Wagner, M., Bezrukova, E.V., Tarasov, P.E.*, 2022. Lateglacial–Holocene environments and human occupation in the Upper Lena region of Eastern Siberia derived from sedimentary and zooarchaeological data from Lake Ochaul. Quaternary International 623, 139–158. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2021.09.019

Bezrukova, E.V.*, Reshetova, S.A., Tetenkin, A.V., Tarasov, P.E., Leipe, C., 2022. The Early Neolithic–Middle Bronze Age environmental history of the Mamakan archaeological area, Eastern Siberia. Quaternary International 623, 159–168. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2021.12.006

Tarasov, P.E., Pankova, S.V.*, Long, T., Leipe, C., Kalinina, K.B., Panteleev, A.V., Brandt, L.Ø., Kyzlasov, I.L., Wagner, M.*, 2022. New results of radiocarbon dating and identification of plant and animal remains from the Oglakhty cemetery provide an insight into the life of the population of southern Siberia in the early 1st millennium CE. Quaternary International 623, 169–183. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2021.12.004

Tarasov, P.E.*, Savelieva, L.A.*, Kobe, F., Korotkevich, B.S., Long, T., Kostromina, N.A., Leipe, C., 2022. Lateglacial and Holocene changes in vegetation and human subsistence around Lake Zhizhitskoye, East European mid-latitudes, derived from radiocarbon-dated pollen and archaeological records. Quaternary International 623, 184–197. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2021.06.027

Wagner, M.*, Hallgren-Brekenkamp, M., Xu, D., Kang, X., Wertmann, P., James, C., Elkina, I., Hosner, D., Leipe, C., Tarasov, P.E., 2022. The invention of twill tapestry points to Central Asia: Archaeological record of multiple textile techniques used to make the woollen outfit of a ca. 3000-year-old horse rider from Turfan, China. Archaeological Research in Asia 29, 100344. DOI:10.1016/j.ara.2021.100344

Ma, T., Tarasov, P.E., Huang, K., Leipe, C., Man, M., Zheng, Z.*, 2022. Intensified climate drying and cooling during the last glacial culmination (20.8–17.5 cal ka BP) in the south-eastern Asian monsoon domain inferred from a high-resolution pollen record. Quaternary Science Reviews 278, 107371. DOI:10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107371

Leipe, C.*, Aquaro, A.*, Tarasov, P.E., 2022. Scanning electron microscopy for differentiating charred endocarps of Rhus/Toxicodendron species and tracking the use of the lacquer tree and Asian poison ivy in Japanese prehistory. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 41, 103335. DOI:10.1016/j.jasrep.2021.103335


Tarasov, P.E.*, Leipe, C., Wagner, M., 2021. Environments during the spread of anatomically modern humans across Northern Asia 50–10 cal kyr BP: What do we know and what would we like to know? Quaternary International 596, 155–170. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2020.10.030

Kasai, Y., Leipe, C.*, Saito, M., Kitagawa, H., Lauterbach, S., Brauer, A., Tarasov, P.E., Goslar, T., Arai, F., Sakuma, S.*, 2021. Breakthrough in purification of fossil pollen for dating of sediments by a new large-particle on-chip sorter. Science Advances 7, eabe7327. DOI:10.1126/sciadv.abe7327

Junno, A.*, Dury, J.P.R., Leipe, C., Wagner, M., Tarasov, P.E., Hirasawa, Y., Jordan, P.D., Kato, H., 2021. Building a high-resolution chronology for Northern Hokkaido – A case study of the Late Holocene Hamanaka 2 site on Rebun Island, Hokkaido (Japan). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 36, 102867. DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2021.102867

Leipe, C.*, Endo, E., Kuramochi, S., Wagner, M., Tarasov, P.E., 2021. Crop cultivation of Middle Yayoi culture communities (fourth century BCE–first century CE) in the Kanto region, eastern Japan, inferred from a radiocarbon-dated archaeobotanical record. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 30(3), 409–421. DOI:10.1007/s00334-020-00791-1


Kobe, F., Bezrukova, E.V., Leipe, C., Shchetnikov, A.A., Goslar, T., Wagner, M., Kostrova, S.S., Tarasov, P.E.*, 2020. Holocene vegetation and climate history in Baikal Siberia reconstructed from pollen records and its implications for archaeology. Archaeological Research in Asia 23, 100209. DOI: 10.1016/j.ara.2020.100209

Leipe, C.*, Kuramochi, S., Wagner, M., Tarasov, P.E., 2020b. Ritual practices and social organisation of Middle Yayoi culture communities in the Kanto region, eastern Japan, derived from archaeological and botanical data from the Maenakanishi site. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 12, 134.
Leipe, C.*, Long, T., Wagner, M., Goslar, T., Tarasov, P.E., 2020a. The spread of rice to Japan: Insights from Bayesian analysis of direct radiocarbon dates and population dynamics in East Asia. Quaternary Science Reviews 244, 106507. DOI:10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106507

Schubert, A., Lauterbach, S. Leipe, C., Scholz, V., Brauer, A., Tarasov, P.E.*, 2020. Anthropogenic and climate controls on vegetation changes between 1500 BCE and 500 CE, reconstructed from a high-resolution pollen record from varved sediments of Lake Mondsee, Austria. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 599, 109976. DOI:10.1016/j.palaeo.2020.109976

Taft, L.*, Wiechert, U., Albrecht, C., Leipe, C., Tsukamoto, S., Wilke, T., Zhang, H., Riedel, F., 2020. Intra-seasonal hydrological processes on the western Tibetan Plateau: Monsoonal and convective rainfall events at ~7.5 ka. Quaternary International 537, 9–23. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2020.01.027


Kobe, F., Bittner, M.K., Leipe, C., Hoelzmann, P., Long, T., Wagner, M., Zibulski, R., Tarasov, P.E.*, 2019. Lateglacial and early Holocene environments and human occupation in Brandenburg, eastern Germany. GEOGRAPHY, ENVIRONMENT, SUSTAINABILITY 12(2), 132–147. DOI:10.24057/2071-9388-2018-50

Leipe, C.*, Kobe, F., Müller, S., 2019b. Testing the performance of sodium polytungstate and lithium heteropolytungstate as non-toxic dense media for pollen extraction from lake and peat sediment samples. Quaternary International 516, 207–214. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2018.01.029

Leipe, C.*, Long, T., Sergusheva, E.A., Wagner, M., Tarasov, P.E., 2019a. Discontinuous spread of millet agriculture in eastern Asia and prehistoric population dynamics. Science Advances 5, eaax6225. DOI:10.1126/sciadv.aax6225

Schmidt, M.*, Leipe, C., Becker, F., Goslar, T., Hoelzmann, P., Mingram, J., Müller, S., Tjallingii, R., Wagner, M., Tarasov, P.E.*, 2019. A multi-proxy palaeolimnological record of the last 16,600 years from coastal Lake Kushu in northern Japan. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 514, 613–626. DOI:10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.11.010

Tarasov, P.E.*, Demske, D., Leipe, C., Long, T., Müller, S., Hoelzmann, P., Wagner, M., 2019. An 8500-year palynological record of vegetation, climate change and human activity in the Bosten Lake region of Northwest China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 516, 166–178. DOI:10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.11.038

Tarasov, P.E.*, Ilyashuk, B.P., Leipe, C., Müller, S., Plessen, B., Hoelzmann, P., Kostrova, S. S., Bezrukova, E.V., Meyer, H., 2019 Insight into the Last Glacial Maximum climate and environments of the Baikal region. Boreas 48(2), 488–506. DOI:10.1111/bor.12330

Tarasov, P.E.*, Savelieva, L.A., Long, T., Leipe, C., 2019 Postglacial vegetation and climate history and traces of early human impact and agriculture in the present-day cool mixed forest zone of European Russia. Quaternary International 516, 21–41. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2018.02.029


Leipe, C.*, Müller, S., Hille, K., Kato, H., Kobe, F., Schmidt, M., Seyffert, K., Spengler III, R., Wagner, M., Weber, A.W., Tarasov, P.E.*, 2018. Vegetation change and human impacts on Rebun Island (Northwest Pacific) over the last 6000 years. Quaternary Science Reviews 193, 129–144. DOI:10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.06.011

Long, T.*, Leipe, C., Jin, G., Wagner, M., Guo, R., Schröder, O., Tarasov, P.E., 2018. The early history of wheat in China from 14C dating and Bayesian chronological modelling. Nature Plants 4, 272–279. DOI:10.1038/s41477-018-0141-x


Leipe, C.*, Sergusheva, E.A., Müller, S., Spengler III, R.N., Goslar, T., Kato, H., Wagner, M., Weber, A.W., Tarasov, P.E., 2017. Barley (Hordeum vulgare) in the Okhotsk culture (5th–10th century AD) of northern Japan and the role of cultivated plants in hunter-gatherer economies. PLoS ONE 12(3), e0174397. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0174397

Long, T.*, Wagner, M., Demske, D., Leipe, C., Tarasov, P.E., 2017. Cannabis in Eurasia: origin of human use and Bronze Age trans-continental connections. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 26(2), 245–258. DOI:10.1007/s00334-016-0579-6

Zhao, L., Ma, C.*, Leipe, C., Long, T., Liu, K., Lu, H., Tang, L., Zhang, Y., Wagner, M., Tarasov, P.E.*, 2017. Holocene vegetation dynamics in response to climate change and human activities derived from pollen and charcoal records from southeastern China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 485, 644–660. DOI:10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.06.035


Abe, C., Leipe, C.*, Tarasov, P.E., Müller, S., Wagner, M., 2016. Spatio-temporal distribution of hunter–gatherer archaeological sites in the Hokkaido region (northern Japan): An overview. The Holocene 26(10), 1627–1645. DOI:10.1177/0959683616641745

Demske, D., Tarasov, P.E.*, Leipe, C., Kotlia, B.S., Lalit, M.J., Long, T., 2016. Record of vegetation, climate change, human impact and retting of hemp in Garhwal Himalaya (India) during the past 4600 years. The Holocene 26(10), 1661–1675. DOI:10.1177/0959683616650267

Hosner, D., Wagner, M.*, Tarasov, P.E., Chen, X., Leipe, C., 2016. Spatiotemporal distribution patterns of archaeological sites in China during the Neolithic and Bronze Age: An overview. The Holocene 26(10), 1576–1593. DOI:10.1177/0959683616641743

Müller, S., Schmidt, M., Kossler, A., Leipe, C., Irino, T., Yamamoto, M., Yonenobu, H., Goslar, T., Kato, H., Wagner, M., Weber, A.W., Tarasov, P.E.*, 2016. Palaeobotanical records from Rebun Island and their potential for improving the chronological control and understanding human–environment interactions in the Hokkaido Region, Japan. The Holocene 26(10), 1646–1660. DOI:10.1177/0959683616641738

Schmidt, M.*, Tarasov, P.E., Hoelzmann, P., Meyer, H., Leipe, C., 2016. Diatoms from Lake Kushu: A pilot study to test the potential of a Late Quaternary palaeoenvironmental archive from Rebun Island (Hokkaido Region, Japan). Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 122, 106–122. DOI:10.1016/j.jseaes.2016.03.005


Leipe, C.*, Nakagawa, T., Gotanda, K., Müller, S., Tarasov, P.E., 2015. Late Quaternary vegetation and climate dynamics at the northern limit of the East Asian Summer Monsoon and its regional and global-scale controls. Quaternary Science Reviews 116, 57–71. DOI:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.03.012


Leipe, C.*, Demske, D., Tarasov, P.E., Wünnemann, B., Riedel, F., HIMPAC Project Members, 2014b. Potential of pollen and non-pollen palynomorph records from Tso Moriri (Trans-Himalaya, NW India) for reconstructing Holocene limnology and human–environmental interactions. Quaternary International 348, 113–129. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.02.026

Leipe, C.*, Demske, D., Tarasov, P.E., HIMPAC Project Members, 2014a. A Holocene pollen record from the northwestern Himalayan lake Tso Moriri: Implications for palaeoclimatic and archaeological research. Quaternary International 348, 93–112. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.05.005

Riedel, F.*, Henderson, A.G., Heußner, K.-U., Kaufmann, G., Kossler, A., Leipe, C., Shemang, E., Taft, L., 2014. Dynamics of a Kalahari long-lived mega-lake system: hydromorphological and limnological changes in the Makgadikgadi Basin (Botswana) during the terminal 50ka. Hydrobiologia 739(1), 25–53. DOI:10.1007/s10750-013-1647-x

Taft, L.*, Mischke, S., Wiechert, U., Leipe, C., Rajabov, I., Riedel, F., 2014. Oxygen and carbon isotope ratios in Radix (Gastropoda) shells indicate changes of glacial meltwater flux and temperature since 4,200 cal yr BP at Lake Karakul, eastern Pamirs (Tajikistan). Journal of Paleolimnology 52(1–2), 27–41. DOI:10.1007/s10933-014-9776-4


Leipe, C.*, Kito, N., Sakaguchi, Y., Tarasov, P.E., 2013. Vegetation and climate history of northern Japan inferred from the 5500-year pollen record from the Oshima Peninsula, SW Hokkaido. Quaternary International 290–291, 151–163. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.07.014

Tarasov, P.E.*, Andreev, A.A., Anderson, P.M., Lozhkin, A.V., Leipe, C., Haltia, E., Nowaczyk, N.R., Wennrich, V., Brigham-Grette, J., Melles, M., 2013. A pollen-based biome reconstruction over the last 3.562 million years in the Far East Russian Arctic – new insights into climate-vegetation relationships at the regional scale. Climate of the Past 9(6), 2759–2775. DOI:10.5194/cp-9-2759-2013

Tarasov, P.E.*, Müller, S., Zech, M., Andreeva, D., Diekmann, B., Leipe, C., 2013. Last glacial vegetation reconstructions in the extreme-continental eastern Asia: Potentials of pollen and n-alkane biomarker analyses. Quaternary International 290–291, 253–263. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.04.007

Wagner, M.*, Tarasov, P., Hosner, D., Fleck, A., Ehrich, R., Chen, X., Leipe, C., 2013. Mapping of the spatial and temporal distribution of archaeological sites of northern China during the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Quaternary International 290–291, 344–357. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.06.039

Edited volumes

Leipe, C., Long, T., Wertmann, P., Wagner, M. (Eds.) 2022. Holocene Environments, Human Subsistence and Adaptation in Northern and Eastern Eurasia. Quaternary International 623, pp. 197. (Web-Link)

Leipe, C., Long, T., Wertmann, P., Wagner, M., 2022c. Holocene Environments, Human Subsistence and Adaptation in Northern and Eastern Eurasia. Quaternary International 623, 1–7. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2022.04.001

Doctoral thesis

Leipe, C., 2014. Insights into late Quaternary vegetation and climate dynamics in Monsoon Asia obtained from numerical pollen-based reconstructions. Dissertation, Institute of Geological Sciences, Free University Berlin, 191 pp. (in English with German abstract) (doi:10.17169/refubium-10831, Web-link)

Go to Editor View