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Kathryn Fitzsimmons

Kathryn Fitzsimmons is leader of the luminescence dating laboratory at MPI-EVA. She is a geochronologist and Quaternary geologist, specialising in optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating. Her research interests focus on the reconstruction of records of human-environmental interaction and environmental change throughout the Pleistocene. To understand the response of humans to their environment and thresholds for landscape change, she applies the techniques of luminescence dating, geomorphology, stratigraphy and sedimentology. In her present position, Kathryn is investigating human responses to long term landscape and climate change in the semi-arid regions of Australia, the loess belt of eastern Europe, and Africa, working to produce systematic and high resolution chronologic frameworks for both MPI-EVA and collaborative projects in these regions.

In 2014, Kathryn was awarded the Albert Maucher Prize for early career geoscience research, from the German Research Council (DFG).

Prior to arriving at MPI-EVA, Kathryn was a postdoctoral fellow at the Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University, where she was Academic Supervisor of the luminescence dating laboratory. During this time she worked on a number of projects relating to the interaction between humans and their environment in the Lake Mungo region of Australia, and the history of aridity and drought, both on the semi-arid desert margins and drought-affected farming areas. Kathryn obtained her PhD in 2007 at the Australian National University on the late Quaternary history of aridity in the central Australian desert dunefields.

Further information about the luminescence dating laboratory at MPI-EVA, and the projects the luminescence group is involved in, can be found here.


Department of Human Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig


0049 (0) 341 3550 344

fax: 0049 (0) 341 3550 399