linkDepartment HomepagelinkImprint

Viktoria Oelze

I am PhD student in the Department of Human Evolution at the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and participate in The Leipzig School of Human Origins. I am member of the Archaeological Science Group under supervision of Mike Richards.

My main research interest is the application of isotope analysis (Sr, S, O, C, N) to different prehistoric and modern organic materials, such as plants, hair and urine.

In my doctoral thesis, I focus on the reconstruction of human mobility and diet in sedentary prehistoric populations in Central Europe using multiple stable isotope analysis (Sr, S, O, C, N). I analysed human skeletal remains from the Early Bronze Age site of Singen, Hohentwiel and the Early Iron Age site of Magdalenenberg in southwestern Germany. To assess to bioavailable strontium isotopes signatures in the different geological formations around these two sites, I collected a range of modern biosphere samples (plants, snail shells) in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. Using this high resolution in strontium mapping I was able to differentiate between local and non-local origins of ancient humans, but could also reconstruct possible provenances of the Bronze Age and Iron Age individuals.

I work also in close collaboration with the Department of Primatology. We apply stable isotope techniques to wild African apes and various tropical African faunal and floral environmental samples in order to reconstruct the diet and meat eating behavior our closest related living species. The focus of my research lies on the bonobo populations of D.R. Congo, but also on lowland gorillas and chimpanzees from Central Africa. By studying the different great ape species in various habitats I seek for a better understanding of isotopic data from the wild and for new applications in isotopic ecology.


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