Check out some of these Conversations in Human Evolution with Palaeolithic archaeologists from all over the world just by clicking on their photos.
The British Museum
Dr Robert Davis is a Palaeolithic archaeologist who currently works at the British Museum in London, UK. Rob is project curator for the ‘Pathways to Ancient Britain ‘Project, with his primary research interests lying in the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic record of northern Europe. He is also co-director of the Barnham Palaeolithic Field School in Suffolk and is chair of the Lithic Studies Society.
Sharma Centre for Heritage Education
Professor Shanti Pappu is the founder and director of the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education in Chennia, India. It is a non-profit organisation aimed at promoting research in archaeology and developing educational programmes for children and teachers of Indian heritage. She is a former Professor or Prehistory at the Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute, where she also completed both her MA and PhD degrees and was awarded the Prof H.D. Sankalia Gold Medal. She also has a law degree, with a dissertation based on cultural heritage laws of India, and is a registered advocate,
University of Liverpool
Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes is Palaeolithic archaeologist and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool, UK. She is the author of new popular science book “Kindred: Neanderthal Life Love Death and Art. Kindred has been listed as one of the ‘Best Books of 2020’ by the Times and is listed as the #1 Prehistoric Archaeology book on Amazon, with outstanding reviews from the likes of Nature, Professor Lee Berger, Professor Brian Cox and Professor Alice Roberts. As well as scientific research, Rebecca also nurtures projects in creative heritage consultancy and popular science writing as well as co-coordinating TrowelBlazers.
La Trobe University
Professor Andy Herries is Head of the Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. He is a field palaeoanthropologist, geochronologist and geoarchaeologist, running The Australian Archaeomagnetism Laboratory (TAAL). TAAL applies magnetic and geophysical methods to the study of archaeological sites and artefacts. He also directs two field projects in South Africa – The Drimolen Cave Palaeoanthropology and Geoarchaeology Field School, looking at the transition from Australopithecus to early Homo and Paranthropus, and the Amanzi Springs Archaeology Project, looking at the transition from the Acheulean to the Middle Stone Age.
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Professor Eleanor Scerri is an archaeological scientist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany! She is Lise Meitner Professor in Archaeology and leader of the Pan-African Evolution research group, where she directs a suite of multidisciplinary projects and fieldwork programmes based in Africa and southwest Asia. She also has recently initiated fieldwork projects on the island of Malta, where she is from! Eleanor’s research aims to establish how and to what extent archaeological, genetic and biogeographical data are related in order to develop new theories and methods for understanding human evolution.
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Dr Shixia Yang is a Palaeolithic archaeologist from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China. Her current research focuses on stone tool production techniques, raw material sourcing and human adaptation to different environments in East Asia. Recently, she was also granted a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to conduct research at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History between 2017 and 2019.
Smithsonian Human Origins Programme
Professor Rick Potts is the Director of the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC, USA. He joined the Smithsonian in 1985, and has since focused his research toward understanding how Earth’s environmental change affects early human adaptation. He formulated the well-received Variability Selection Hypothesis, proposing that hominin evolution responded to environmental instability, an idea that lead him to develop many international collaborations among scientists interested in the ecological aspects of human evolution. Rick also leads excavations at early human sites in the East African Rift Valley, including the famous handaxe site of Olorgesailie, Kenya, and Kanam near Lake Victoria, Kenya.
University of Crete
Professor Nena Galanidou is Professor in Prehistoric Archaeology of the University of Crete, Greece. She has conducted fieldwork in Greece, Croatia and Israel. She has participated in international projects studying the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic of southeast Europe and directs Palaeolithic research on the island of Lesbos, excavating the Lower Palaeolithic Lisvori-Rodafnidia, and the Inner Ionian Archipelago excavating the Middle Palaeolithic Panthera Cave on the islet of Kythros.
University of Liverpool
Professor John Gowlett is an African archaeologist and evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Liverpool, UK. He is a world leader in a number of areas of human evolution studies, such as the origins of fire use, the emergence of language and art and the evolution of early stone technologies. Recently, a number of colleagues came together from around the world to produce an edited volume titled ‘Landscapes of Human Evolution: Contributions in Honour of John Gowlett’, paying homage to his impressively extensive research profile.
University of Washington
Professor Ben Marwick is an archaeologist from the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. His research interests are focussed within Southeast Asian and Australian archaeology, such as hominin dispersals, forager technologies and ecology. Ben is also interested in how archaeology engages with local and online communities, in addition to popular culture, as well as techniques and methods for reproducible research and open science. He is locally affiliated with the eScience Institute, the Burke Museum, the Center for Statistics and Social Sciences, the Quaternary Research Center, and the Southeast Asia Center. He has also been recently elected as a Vice President of the Society of Archaeological Sciences.
National Museum of Iran
Dr. Sonia Shidrang is an archaeologist in the Palaeolithic Department of the National Museum of Iran, Tehran. She has led several field projects in the Central Western Zagros and recently has initiated a fieldwork project in the Southern Zagros to compare the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic sequences in different regions of this Iranian mountain range. Back in 2001, she began her Palaeolithic carrier as a junior research assistant at the newly established Centre for Palaeolithic Research of National Museum of Iran and in 2015 moved to PACE, Bordeaux to complete her postgraduate studies in the field of Palaeolithic archaeology, her research proposing that bio-cultural contact between Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans, as another potential explanation, beside site formation process, for the presence of Middle Palaeolithic tools in the beginning of several Upper Palaeolithic occupations in the Zagros.
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Professor Michael Petraglia is a prehistoric archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany. His research is interdisciplinary and covers a range of subjects concerning human evolution, such as the evolution of cognition and behaviour, and the relationship between climate change and hominin dispersals. He has directed archaeological field projects in Africa and Asia, primarily in the Arabian peninsula and the Indian subcontinent, and is also part of the Human Origins Programme Team at the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of Natural History.
Indian Council of Historical Research
Professor Ravi Korisettar is a Senior Academic Fellow of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, India. He is a key contributor to Indian Palaeolithic archaeology, specialising in geoarchaeological methods and approaches to understanding the relationship between prehistoric humans and their environments. He has published seven books in India and two abroad and is a Section Editor for Current Science, India’s leading science fortnightly journal. Ravi has also held the position of Honorary Director of the Robert Bruce Foote Sanganakallu Archaeological Museum in Karnataka since it’s establishment in 2010.
University of Liverpool
Dr Jennifer French is a Lecturer in Paleolithic Archaeology at the University of Liverpool, UK. She has just finished the writing a monograph titled “Palaeolithic Europe: A Demographic and Social Prehistory” (which has been submitted to the Cambridge University Press for publication in their World Archaeology Series). This will be the first comprehensive synthesis of the population history of the European Palaeolithic combining archaeological data with osteological, genetic, and ethnographic data. She also co-leads the working group ‘Cross disciplinary approaches to prehistoric demography’ with colleagues at the universities of Bournemouth, Barcelona, and Alicante.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Professor Erella Hovers is a prehistoric archaeologist at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Her research is primarily focussed on the Plio-Pleistocene archaeology in East Africa and the Middle Paleolithic of the Levant, concentrating on lithic technology, the development of the use of symbolism and the techno-economic behavior of early hominins. Her work has significantly furthered our understanding of early human material culture in these periods through collaborative multidisciplinary research projects. In addition to being a professor in the Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Erella is also an International Research Affiliate for Arizona State University and serves as Field School Faculty in Hadar, Ethiopia.
Dr Berkay Dinçer is a Palaeolithic archaeologist of the Anthropology Department at Istanbul University, Turkey. His research interests include lithic analysis and the dispersals of early hominins through Anatolia (Turkey) during Lower and Middle Palaeolithic. Berkay has participated and conducted many surveys and excavations in Turkey in the last 20 years, helping to characterise the Palaeolithic of this previously under-researched region.
University of Cambridge
Dr Enrico Crema is a computational evolutionary archaeologist of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, UK. His research covers a number of topics within archaeology, such as cultural evolution, Japanese prehistory and prehistoric demography. At the Department of Archaeology at Cambridge, he teaches the computational analyses of long-term human cultural and biological dynamics. He has also developed a number of R packages, such as the rcarbon package which enables the calibration and analysis of radiocarbon dates for archaeological research.
Professor Felix Riede is a climate change archaeologist at Aarhus University, Denmark. His research concerns the shifting interactions between humans and the environment, exploring how environmental changes, especially extreme events like volcano eruptions, have impacted past human societies as well as how humans have impacted the environment. He also promotes environmental ethical engagement and Open science. At Aarhus University, Felix leads the Laboratory for Past Disaster Science, which focuses on cultural transmission and climatic resilience within prehistoric European populations, as well as an ERC funded project CLIOdynamic ARCHaeology (CLIO-ARCH), which is developing computational approaches to Final Palaeolithic/earliest Mesolithic archaeology and climate change.
University of Liverpool
Anthony Sinclair is a Professor or Archaeological Theory and Method in the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology. He specialises in Palaeolithic archaeology, and has conducted field research in Western Europe, southern Africa and Saudi Arabia. He is interested in archaeology as a discipline and is currently working on ‘The Atlas of Archaeology: a Scientometric Study of Discipline Growth‘, a Leverhulme Trust funded project which uses bibliometric data to explore how the field has developed over the last 60 years. At the University of Liverpool, Anthony teaches several undergraduate and masters courses which cover Palaeolithic archaeology, especially the Upper Palaeolithic and Palaeolithic art, archaeological theory and issues in interpretation, ethical and political issues in archaeological practice, material culture and technology and archaeological field skills.
Adam Brumm is an Australian professor of archaeology at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. Adam has wide-ranging research interests, but his main focus is on the story of early humans in Island Southeast Asia and the wider Australasian region. Since 2003, he has conducted extensive field research in the Wallacean archipelago of central and eastern Indonesia, the myriad of biogeographically distinct oceanic islands lying between Asia and Australia. Some of his team’s recent findings appear in Nature, PNAS, and Science Advances; highlights include the discovery of Late Pleistocene cave art in Sulawesi and early Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils in central Flores.
Dr Matthew Bennet is a Professor of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at Bournemouth University. Originally trained in geography, Matthew’s research primarily investigates ancient footprints and the application of ecological models to hominin evolution research. He joined Bournemouth University in 2002, where he was Dean of Applied Sciences from 2007 to 2010 and Pro Vice Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation from 2010 to 2014. In 2015, he was awarded a major NERC Innovation Grant to translate his footprint research in to a practical tool for use by forensic scientists.
National Museum of Ethiopia
Dr Behailu Habte is a Curator of Prehistoric Collections at the National Museum of Ethiopia. Behailu is a lithic technology specialist, with particular interests in the Later Stone Age in the Horn of Africa. He recently completed his PhD at the University of Toulouse-Jean Jaures, France, working within the “Late Stone Age Sequence Project” directed by Francois Bon. He has since moved back to Ethiopia to take up his current position where he has been assisting scientists to carry out both remote and in-person projects, enabling research continuity in the face of the pandemic, as well carrying out as his own research.
Tel Aviv University
Today’s interview is with Professor Ran Barkai, Palaeolithic archaeologist at Tel-Aviv University. Ran wrote his PhD on the Neolithic but since has moved deeper in time to the Lower Palaeolithic, excavating the site of Qesem Cave in Israel for the last two decades as well as other Lower Palaeolithic sites in the Levant. Although an archaeologist by training, his research interests are wide, including stone tool technology, cosmology and ontology of human relationships with the cosmos in the archaeological record, human-elephant interactions and altered states of consciousness. Ran has published extensively, including in high impact journals such as Nature and Journal of Human Evolution, and he sits on the editorial board of Quaternary Science Reviews.