Steven Goldstein, PhD

Research Associate
Department of Archaeology
+49 3641 686-725

Main Focus

Steven Goldstein is the Research Group Leader for the Archaeology of Food Security and Sustainability group based in the Department of Archaeology.

This group focuses on reconstructing the strategies used by foragers, farmers, and herders to secure access to food resources in the past. The Food Security group employes interdisciplinary methods, with particular interest in exploring methods in geoarchaeology and geomorphology for understanding natural and anthropogenic changes in past landscape productivity.

A major goal of the group is to develop actionable archaeologies that contribute to ongoing discourse surrounding the oncoming challenges of population growth and climate change in the Global South. Ongoing projects are collaborative efforts between stakeholder communities, governmental and educational organizations, and NGOs.

Steven's research interests are largely focused on African prehistory, environmental archaeology and geoarchaeology, community archaeology, lithic technologies, origins of pastoralism, and hunter-gatherer resilience.

Curriculum Vitae

Steven Goldstein received his PhD in 2017 in Anthropology from Washington University in Saint Louis, which examined the inter-relationships between lithic technologies, exchange networks, and social systems among ancient herders in southern Kenya. Steven holds an MA in Anthropology from Washington University, and a BA in Anthropology from Stony Brook University. 

Steven is the Research Group Leader for the Archaeology of Food Security and Sustainability Research Group, and is directing several active field projects investigating:

1) A 6,000 year record of fisher-forager resilience to major climate change at Lothagam, Lake Turkana, Kenya.

2) Earliest evidence for farming and the emergence of hybrid farming traditions in Western Kenya.

3) The spread and development of regional food-production systems in Zambia (multi-sited).

4) The development of communities-of-practice and new technological strategies among the earliest herders in southern Kenya.



Goldstein, S.T. The lithic assemblage from Sugenya: A Pastoral Neolithic site of the Elmenteitan group in southwestern Kenya. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa.


Goldstein, S.T. Knowledge transmission through the lens of lithic production: A case study from the Pastoral Neolithic of southern Kenya. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.

Marshall, F.B., Reid, R.E.B., Goldstein, S.T., Storozum, M., Wreschnig, A., Hu, L., Kiura, P., Shahack-Gross, R., & S.H. Ambrose.  Ancient herders enriched and restructured African grasslands. Nature 561: 387-390.

Hildebrand, E., Grillo, K., E. Sawchuk, E., Pfeiffer, S., Conyers, L., Goldstein, S.,Hill, A.C., Janzen, A., Klehm, C., Helper, M., Kiura, P., Ndiema, E., Ngugi, C., Shea, J.J., and H. Wang.  A monumental cemetery built by eastern Africa’s earliest herders near Lake Turkana, Kenya.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 115 (36): 8942-8947.

Sawchuk, E., Goldstein, S., Grillo, K., & E. Hildebrand. Cemetery construction and the spread of pastoralism in eastern Africa. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 51: 187-205.

Goldstein, S.T. Picking up the pieces: Reconstructing lithic production strategies at a Late Holocene obsidian quarry in southern Kenya”. Journal of Field Archaeology 43(2): 85-101.

Capriles, J., Albarracin-Jordan, J., Bird, D., Goldstein, S., Jarpa, G., Maldonado, C. & C. Santoro. Mobility, subsistence, and technological strategies of early Holocene hunter-gatherers in the Bolivian Altiplano. Quaternary International 473b: 190-205.

Grillo, K., Prendergast, M., Contreras, D., Fitton, T., Gidna, A., Goldstein, S., Knisley, M., Langley, M. & A. Mabulla. Pastoral Neolithic Settlement at Luxmanda, Tanzania. Journal of Field Archaeology 32(2): 102-120.


Goldstein, S.T. and J.M. Munyiri. The Elmenteitan Obsidian Quarry (GsJj50): New perspectives on obsidian access and exchange during the Pastoral Neolithic of southern Kenya. African Archaeological Review 34(1): 43-73.

Frahm, E., Goldstein, S.T., & C.A. Tryon. Forager-fisher and pastoralist interactions along the Lake Victoria shores, Kenya: Perspectives from portable XRF of obsidian artifacts from Kansyore rock shelters. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 11: 717-742.


Goldstein, S.T. and C.M. Shaffer. Experimental and archaeological investigations of geometric microlith function among Mid-to-Late Holocene herders in southwestern Kenya. Journal of Archaeological and Anthropological Science 9(8): 1767-1788.

Capriles J., Jordan, J., Lombardo, U., Osorio, D., Herrera, K., Maley, B., Goldstein, S.T., Domic, A. I., Glascock, M.D., Veit, H. & C. Santoro. High-altitude adaptation and late Pleistocene foraging in the Bolivian Andes. Journal of Archaeological Sciences: Reports 6: 46-474.


Goldstein, S.T.  Quantifying endscraper reduction in the context of obsidian exchange among early pastoralists in southwestern Kenya. Lithic Technology 39: 3-19.

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