Dr. Eleanor Scerri

Dr. Eleanor Scerri

Lise Meitner Pan-African Evolution Research Group (Pan-Ev)
+49 3641 686-971

Main Focus

I am an archaeological scientist interested in exploring the articulation between genetics, biogeography and material culture phylogeny to further theoretical, methodological and scientific advances in the field of human evolution. My research combines primary fieldwork in West and North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula with experimental and quantitative approaches integrated with diverse sources of information (e.g. genetic, palaeoclimate) in order to test competing hypotheses about human evolution.

Curriculum Vitae

I am currently leading the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions funded aWARE project at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. I am also the incoming Lise Meitner Group Leader. From February 2018, I will be forming the new Pan African Evolution Research Group.

aWARE is exploring West Africa's place in recent human evolution and is the first MSCA project to be hosted at the SHH. I am also a visiting fellow at the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford where I was formerly a British Academy Fellow and Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College.

I previously held a Fyssen postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Bordeaux which followed a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Southampton, jointly funded by the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Sutasoma Trust.


In Press

Groucutt, H.S., Scerri, E.M.L., Stringer, C., Petraglia, M.D. Skhul lithic technology and the dispersal of Homo sapiens into Southwest Asia. Quaternary International.



2018 Scerri, E.M.L., Shipton, C., Clark-Balzan, L., Frouin, M., Schwenninger, J.-L., Groucutt, H.S., Breeze, P.S., Parton, A., Blinkhorn, J., Drake, N.A., Jennings, R., Cuthbertson, P., Al Omari, A., Alsharekh, A.M., Petraglia, M.D. The expansion of later Acheulean hominins into the Arabian Peninsula. Scientific Reports 8, 17165

2018 Scerri, E.M.L., Thomas, M.G., Manica, A., Gunz, P., Stock, J., Stringer, C.B., Grove, M., Groucutt, H.S., Timmermann A., Rightmire, G.P., d’Errico, F., Tryon, C., Drake, N.A.,  Brooks, A., Dennell, R., Durbin, R., Henn, B., Lee-Thorpe, J., deMenocal, P., Petraglia, M.D., Thompson, J., A., Scally, A., Chikhi, L. Did our species evolve in subdivided populations across Africa, and why does it matter? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 33, 582-594.

2018 Scerri, E.M.L., Guagnin, M., Groucutt, H.S., Armitage, A.J., Parker, L.E., Drake, N.A., Louys, J., Breeze, P., Zahir, M., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. Neolithic pastoralism in extreme marginal environments during the mid-Holocene wet phase, northern Saudi Arabia. Antiquity 92-, 1180-1194.

2018 Shipton, C., Blinkhorn, J., Breeze, P.S., Cuthbertson, P., Drake, N., Groucutt, H.S., Jennings, R.P., Parton, A., Scerri, E.M.L., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. Acheulean technology and landscape use at Dawadmi, central Arabia. PLoS ONE 13(7) e0200497.

2018 Groucutt, H.S., Grün, R., Zalmout, I.S.A., Drake, N.A., Armitage, S.J., Candy, I., Clark-Wilson, R., Louys, J., Breeze, P.S., Duval, M., Buck, L.T., Kivell, T., Pomeroy, E., Stephens, N., Stock, J.T., Stewart, M., Price, G.J., Kinsley, L., Sung, W.W., Alsharekh, A., Al-Omari, A., Zahir, M., Memesh, A.M., Abdulshakoor, A.J., Al-Masari, A.M., Bahameem, A.A., Al Murayyi, K.S.M., Zahrani, B., Scerri, E.M.L., Petraglia, M.D. Homo sapiens in Arabia 85 thousand years ago. Nature Ecology and Evolution 2, 800–809.

2017 Scerri, E.M.L. The West African Stone Age. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History. http://africanhistory.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190277734.001.0001/acrefore-9780190277734-e-137

2017 Scerri, E.M.L. The North African Stone Age and its place in recent human evolution. Evolutionary Anthropology 26, 119-135.

2017 Scerri, E.M.L, Blinkhorn, J., Niang, K., Bateman, M., Groucutt, H.S. Persistence of Middle Stone Age technology to the Pleistocene/Holocene transition supports a complex hominin evolutionary scenario in West Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 11, 639-646.

2017 Scerri, E.M.L. Bridges and barriers: the Late Pleistocene demography of the Saharo-Arabian belt. In D. Aġius, E. Khalil and E.M.L. Scerri (Eds.), Human Interaction with the Environment in the Red Sea: Selected Papers of Red Sea Project VI. Brill Publishing: Leiden. pp. 69-88.

2017 Scerri, E.M.L. Le contexte démographique de la première dispersion des hommes modernes : une perspective de la Middle Stone Age de l’Afrique du Nord. Annales de la Fondation Fyssen 30, 161-171

2017 Campmas, E., Stoetzel, E., Oujaa, A., Scerri, E.M.L. Introduction to the special issue ‘The Role of North Africa in the Emergence and Development of Modern Behaviors: An Integrated Approach. ‘African Archaeological Review 34, 447–449.

2017 Breeze, P.S.,  Groucutt, H.S.,  Drake, N.A.,  Louys, J.,  Scerri, E.M.L.,  Armitage, Zalmout, I.S.A., Memesh, A.M., Haptari, M.A., Soubhi, S.A., Matari, H.A.,  Zahir, M.,  Al-Omari, A., Alsharekh, A.M., Petraglia, M.D. Prehistory and palaeoenvironments of the western Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia. Archaeological Research in Asia 10, 1-16.

2017 Groucutt, H.S., Scerri, E.M.L., Amor, K., Shipton, C., Jennings, R.P, Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. Middle Palaeolithic raw material procurement and early stage reduction at Jubbah, Saudi Arabia. Archaeological Research in Asia 9, 44-62.

2016 Scerri, E.M.L., Blinkhorn, J., Gravina, B., Delagnes, A. Can lithic attribute analyses identify discrete reduction trajectories? A quantitative study using refitted lithic constellations. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 23, 669–691. doi:10.1007/s10816-015-9255-x

2016 Scerri, E.M.L., Blinkhorn, J., Groucutt, H.S., Niang, K. The Middle Stone Age of the Senegal River Valley. Quaternary International 408, 16-32. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2015.09.025

2016 Stimpson, C.M., Lister, A., Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., Breeze, P.S., Drake, N.A., Groucutt, H.S., Jennings, R., Scerri, E.M.L., White, T.S., Zahir, M., Duval, M., Grün,  R., Al-Omari, A., Sultan, K., Al Murayyi, M., Zalmout, I.S., Mufarreh, Y.A., Memesh, A.M., Petraglia, M.D. Middle Pleistocene vertebrate fossils from the Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia: implications for biogeography and palaeoecology. Quaternary Science Reviews 143, 13-36.

2015 Groucutt, H.S., Scerri, E.M.L., Lewis, L., Clark-Balzan, L., Blinkhorn, J., Jennings, R.P., Parton, A., Petraglia, M.D. Stone tool assemblages and models for the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. Quaternary International 382, 8-30. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2015.01.039

2015 Groucutt, H. S., Shipton, C., Alsharekh, A., Jennings, R., Scerri, E.M.L., Petraglia M.D. Late Pleistocene lakeshore settlement in northern Arabia: Middle Palaeolithic technology from Jebel Katefeh, Jubbah. Quaternary International 382, 215-236. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.12.001

2015 Breeze, P.S., Drake, N.A., Groucutt, H.S., Parton, A., Jennings, R.P., White, T.S., Clark-Balzan, L., Shipton, S., Scerri, E.M.L., Stimpson, C.M., Crassard, R., Hilbert, Y., Alsharekh, A., Al-Omari, A., Petraglia, M.D. Remote sensing and GIS techniques for reconstructing Arabian palaeohydrology and identifying archaeological sites. Quaternary International 382, 98-119. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2015.01.022

2015 Scerri, E.M.L., Breeze, P., Parton, A., Groucutt, H.S., Stimpson, C., White, T.S., Clarke-Balzan, L., Jennings, R., Petraglia, M.D. Middle to Late Pleistocene human habitation in the western Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia. Quaternary International 382, 200-214. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2015.01.039

2015 Stimpson, C.M., Breeze, P., Clarke-Balzan, L., Groucutt, H.S., Jennings, R.P, Parton, A., Scerri, E.M.L., White, T., Petraglia, M.D. Preliminary observations of stratified Pleistocene vertebrates with a new record of Panthera gombaszogensis (Kretzoi, 1938) from northern Saudi Arabia. Quaternary International 382, 169-180. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.09.049

2015 Groucutt, H.S , Petraglia, M.D, Bailey, G., Scerri, E.M.L., Thomas, M.G, Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., Jennings, R., Lewis, L., Blinkhorn, J., Drake, N.A., Breeze, P., Boivin, N., Inglis, R.H., Devèsc, M.H., Meredith-Williams, M., Scally, A. Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. Evolutionary Anthropology 24, 149-164. doi:10.1002/evan.21455

2015 Groucutt, H. S., Clark-Balzan, L., Crassard, R., Shipton, C., Parton, S., Jennings, R., Parker, A.G., Breeze, P., Scerri, E.M.L., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M. D. Human occupation of the Arabian Empty Quarter during MIS 5: evidence from Mundafan al-Buhayrah, Saudi Arabia. Quaternary Science Reviews 119, 116-135. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.09.008

2014 Scerri E.M.L., Groucutt H. S., Jennings, R., Petraglia, M. D. Unexpected technological heterogeneity in northern Arabia indicates complex Late Pleistocene demography at the gateway to Asia. Journal of Human Evolution 75, 125-142. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.09.008

2014 Scerri, E.M.L., Drake, N., Jennings, R., Groucutt, H. S., Earliest Evidence for the Structure of Homo sapiens Populations in Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 101, 207-216. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2013.06.011

2014 Groucutt, H.S., Scerri E.M.L. Lithics of the late Middle Palaeolithic: Post MIS 5 technological variability and its implications. Quaternary International 350, 1-6. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.09.012

2013 Scerri, E.M.L. On the spatial and technological organisation of hafting modifications in the North African Middle Stone Age. Journal of Archaeological Science 40, 4234-4248. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2013.06.011

2013 Scerri, E.M.L. The Aterian and its place in the North African Middle Stone Age. Quaternary International 300, 111-130. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.09.008

2012 Scerri, E.M.L. A New Stone Tool Assemblage Revisited: reconsidering the ‘Aterian’ in Arabia. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 42, 357-370.

2000 N.Vella, K. Borda, J.M. Briffa, K. Fenech, K. Grinde, E. Scerri, M. L. Sisk, H. Stoeger and M. E. Zammit. Preliminary Report of an Archaeological Survey at Għajn Klieb, Rabat (Malta). Malta Archaeological Review 4, 10-16.


Peer Reviewed Books:

Accepted Scerri E. M. L. The Aterian and the North African Middle Stone Age. British Archaeological Reports. Archaeopress.

Peer Reviewed Edited Volumes:

2018 Campmas, E., Stoetzel, E., Oujaa, A., Scerri, E.M.L. (Eds.) The role of North Africa in the emergence and development of modern behaviors: integrated approach. African Archaeological Review.

2017 Aġius, D., Khalil, E. and Scerri, E.M.L. (Eds.). Human Interaction with the Environment in the Red Sea: Selected Papers of Red Sea Project VI. Brill Publishing, Leiden.

2014 Groucutt, H.S. and Scerri, E.M.L. (Eds.). Lithics of the Late Middle Palaeolithic: Post MIS 5 Technological Variability and its Implications. Quaternary International.


Theses and dissertations:


2013 The Aterian and its place in the North African Middle Stone Age. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Southampton.

2002 The Neanderthal that Never was: intra site variability in coastal Lazio, Italy. Unpublished MA dissertation, University of Southampton.

2000 Symbolic behaviour in the Levantine Middle Palaeolithic. Unpublished BA (hons) dissertation, University of Malta.


Other Publications:

2018    Scerri, E.M.L. Human evolution: secrets of early ancestors could be unlocked by African rainforests. The Conversation September 6th, https://theconversation.com/human-evolution-secrets-of-early-ancestors-could-be-unlocked-by-african-rainforests-101636

2018    Scerri, E. M. L. The origin of our species. New Scientist 238, 34-37.

2010    Scerri, E.M.L. Review of the book La Grotte d’Ifri n’Ammar: le Paleolithique moyen by M. Nami and J. Moser. Forschungen zur Archäologie Außereuropäischer Kulturen 9. Published in Antiquity 86, 933.

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