Personal profile

Research interests

I am an archaeological scientist investigating human evolution and prehistory through the study of ancient biomolecules. I analyse ancient bones using radiocarbon dating and palaeoproteomics, adopting an interdisciplinary perspective to understand the lives of past people.

I carried out my PhD (2015-2019) and a postdoctoral research position (2019-2021) in the Dept of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany) where I focussed on methods to reduce the amount of bone needed for radiocarbon dating, to reduce destructive sampling of human remains and precious bone artefacts. I use these methods to investigate the period between 50,000-40,000 years ago when our species, Homo sapiens, first migrated into Europe and interacted with Neanderthals, before the latter disappeared (the ‘Middle to Upper Palaeolithic Transition’). This has included directly dating Neanderthal remains and some of the earliest members of our species yet discovered in Europe from Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria and Ranis, Germany. Dating human bones from these sites has shown that our species migrated into Europe more than 45,000 years ago.

I carried out a postdoctoral research position (2021-2024) in the Ancient Genomics Lab at the Francis Crick Institute, London, where I developed non-destructive pre-screening approaches using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to quantify protein preservation in ancient skeletal material. This approach enables us to undertake responsible sampling of precious fossil material. 

I am currently involved in the Horizon-funded project COEXIST (PI: Dr. Karen Reubens, 2024-2029) investigating late Middle Palaeolithic sites across southeastern and central Europe, the Horizon-funded project MAMBA (PI: Dr Jarosław Wilczyński, 2022-2027 - https://www.mamba-erc.com/) focussed on Gravettian mammoth bone accumulations in Central Europe, and a Polish National Science Centre-funded project led by Dr. Claudio Berto (2021-2026) on Palaeoclimate reconstruction using directly dated micromammals.

 

Keywords

  • Archaeology
  • Radiocarbon Dating
  • archaeological science
  • Prehistory
  • Palaeoclimate
  • Proteins

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