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Dept. of Human Evolution | Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Presentation:"Under Heat: Controlled Experiments on Sub-surface Alterations"

I am a geoarchaeologist working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Human Evolution. I am particularly interested in using geological techniques and methods to unravel past human behavior. My work focuses on investigating site formation processes, with a special emphasis on a microstratigraphic approach to the study of early fire technology.  I have received my PhD in Earth and Environmental Science from the University of Pennsylvania and my BA in Archaeology from Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal).

My doctoral thesis examined site formation processes at the Middle Stone Age site of Contrebandiers Cave (Morocco), and soil micromorphological analyses of fire features from both Contrebandiers Cave and the Middle Paleolithic site of Roc de Marsal (France). The latter work additionally examined the spatial distribution of Neandertal hearths and associated artifactual assemblages. My main interests concern the interaction between past humans and their environment, with a special focus on the contextual framework and preservation of archaeological remains. Both as a field archaeologist and geologist, I have directed excavation projects in Portugal, and participated in fieldwork in several Paleolithic sites in France, Egypt, Morocco and Portugal.


Fire is undoubtedly an important behavioral adaptation. In the archaeological record – where several past occupations commonly overlap each other as time goes by –, the presence of a hearth can potentially lead to thermal changes of the underlying deposits.