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Mareike Cordula Stahlschmidt

Post-Doctoral Researcher

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

phone: 0049 (0) 341 3550 368
fax: 0049 (0) 341 3550 399
e-mail:  mareike_stahlschmidt@[>>> Please remove the text! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

My research focuses on the geoarchaeological investigation of archaeological site formation. I view and analyze sediments, deposits and features as archives of paleoenvironments as well as of human behavior and I study these archives with geoarchaeological means. My main research techniques are micromorphology and (m)FTIR, but I am always interested in expanding my geoarchaeological tool kit with supplementary methods and collaborations. I collaborate with geoarchaeologists performing optically-stimulated luminescence, thermoluminescence and U-series dating, organic petrology, ancient DNA analysis, speleothem analysis, isotopes and chemical analysis.

My archaeological scope is broad with a focus on Hunter Gather sites ranging from the Lower Paleolithic (Bilzingsleben, Schöningen), to Middle, Upper and transitional sites (Ein Qashish, Resava Project, TDASP Project, Satsurblia, Grabow) as well as Middle and Later Stone Age sites in South Africa (Varsche Rivier 003, Mertenhof, Klipfonteinrand, Faraoskop). I am also curious about the geoarchaeological signature of early sedentary life in the Epipaleolithic (Baaz) and early urbanization (Teotihuacan).

I am particularly interested in the following three research areas:
(1) site formation
(2) sediments as artifacts and
(3) human-environment-interactions.

(1) Site formation. The reconstruction of cultural, natural and post-depositional site formation processes constitutes the basis of my research. I am mainly concerned with the sedimentary context and the integrity of the archaeological record here.

(2) Sediments as artifacts. Archaeological deposits and features are artifacts, created by human activities and my research is mainly concerned with two artifact categories, construction materials and combustion features. I analyze construction materials, such as floor constructions, to investigate economy and settlement patterns. Regarding combustion features, I am interested in the role fire that played in our evolutionary history. More specifically, I am exploring to what extent combustion features, site maintenance activities and sedimentation can inform us on occupation intensity and, in extension, on mobility and demography.

(3) Human-environment-interactions. I am interested in the question of how and to what extent past environments shaped human behavior and how we can reconstruct their complex interaction. My starting point for this is the microstratigraphic study of archaeological deposits, which preserve evidence for both categories and also link the two. From there I continue to the landscape scale, using speleothems and paleosols as paleoenvironmental archives.

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Information

Current Position
2017-presentPost-Doctoral Researcher
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Previous Positions
2015-2017Post-Doctoral Researcher
University College Dublin
2010-2015Doctoral Student, Researcher and Lecturer
University of Tübingen


2014 Dr. rer. nat.
Institute for Archaeological Sciences,
University of Tübingen, Germany
thesis title: ”Micromorphological analyses and site formation processes at the archaeological sites Schöningen, Grabow, Blätterhöhle, Germany, and Varsche Rivier 003, South Africa”
2010Magistra Artium
Institute of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, University of Tübingen, and Hohenheim University, Germany;
Major Archaeology, Minors Soil Science and Paleoanthropology;
thesis title: “Site formation and a prehistoric floor construction in Baaz, southwest Syria”
2007Undergraduate studies of Prehistory and Soil Science
at Hamburg University, Germany.

Organized Symposia/ Sessions

2018 Mallol, C.E. Miller, M.C. Stahlschmidt. Fire as an artifact: Advances in Paleolithic Combustion Structure Studies. Session at the XVIII UISPP Meeting in Paris, France
2017Organizing committee. Irish Quaternary Association Spring Meeting. Dublin, Ireland.
2014M. C. Stahlschmidt, C.E. Miller. The Archaeology of Early Fire Use. Session at the XVII UISPP Meeting in Burgos, Spain.

Awards and Grants

2017 Seed Funding - Dissemination and Outputs,
University College Dublin
2016 Young Micromorphologist Publication Award,
International Union of Soil Sciences
2016-2017 New Interdisciplinary Initiative Fund grant,
University College Dublin
2015-2017 Irish Research Council Post-doctoral Fellowship,
University College Dublin
2013-2015 Athene-Programm,
University of Tübingen

Media Coverage

2016 Interview in Hahn, P. 2016.
Spears of the Ancient Huntsman.
Popular Archaeology.
2014Interview in Balter, M. 2014.
The killing ground.
Science 344, 6188, 1080-1083.


  • Arbeitskreis Geoarchäologie (Geoarchaeology working group)
  • European Society for the Study of Human Evolution
  • Gesellschaft für Urgeschichte (GfU - Society for Prehistory)
  • Hugo-Obermaier-Gesellschaft für Erforschung des Eiszeitalters und der Steinzeit e.V. – (Society for the Study of the Glacial Age and Stone Age)
  • Society for African Archaeologists
  • Union Internationale des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques
  • Working Group for archaeological soil micromorphology



Colarossi, D., Fewlass, H., Stahlschmidt, M. C., Presnyakova, D., Matembo, J., Hein, M., Talamo, S., & Archer, W. (2022). A targeted drilling and dating campaign to identify Stone Age archaeological sites before excavation in west coast southern Africa. Quaternary Geochronology, 71: 101314.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Mackay, A., Armitage, S. J., Niespolo, E. M., Sharp, W. D., Stahlschmidt, M. C., Blackwood, A. F., Boyd, K. C., Chase, B. M., Lagle, S. E., Kaplan, C. F., Low, M. A., Martisius, N. L., McNeill, P. J., Moffat, I., O’Driscoll, C. A., Rudd, R., Orton, J., & Steele, T. E. (2022). Environmental influences on human innovation and behavioural diversity in southern Africa 92–80 thousand years ago. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 6, 361-369.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Massilani, D., Morley, M. W., Mentzer, S. M., Aldeias, V., Vernot, B., Miller, C., Stahlschmidt, M., Kozlikin, M. B., Shunkov, M. V., Derevianko, A. P., Conard, N. J., Wurz, S., Henshilwood, C. S., Vasquez, J., Essel, E., Nagel, S., Richter, J., Nickel, B., Roberts, R. G., Pääbo, S., Slon, V., Goldberg, P., & Meyer, M. (2022). Microstratigraphic preservation of ancient faunal and hominin DNA in Pleistocene cave sediments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(1): e2113666118.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Nir, N., Stahlschmidt, M., Busch, R., Lüthgens, C., Schütt, B., & Hardt, J. (2022). Footpaths: pedogenic and geomorphological long-term effects of human trampling. CATENA, 215: 106312.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Weiss, M., Hein, M., Urban, B., Stahlschmidt, M. C., Heinrich, S., Hilbert, Y. H., Power, R. C., Suchodoletz, H. v., Terberger, T., Böhner, U., Klimscha, F., Veil, S., Breest, K., Schmidt, J., Colarossi, D., Tucci, M., Frechen, M., Tanner, D. C., & Lauer, T. (2022). Neanderthals in changing environments from MIS 5 to early MIS 4 in northern Central Europe – Integrating archaeological, (chrono)stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental evidence at the site of Lichtenberg. Quaternary Science Reviews, 284: 107519.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   


Gelabert, P., Sawyer, S., Bergström, A., Margaryan, A., Collin, T. C., Meshveliani, T., Belfer-Cohen, A., Lordkipanidze, D., Jakeli, N., Matskevich, Z., Bar-Oz, G., Fernandes, D. M., Cheronet, O., Özdoğan, K. T., Oberreiter, V., Feeney, R. N., Stahlschmidt, M. C., Skoglund, P., & Pinhasi, R. (2021). Genome-scale sequencing and analysis of human, wolf, and bison DNA from 25,000-year-old sediment. Current Biology, 31(16), 3564-3574.e9.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Villagran, X. S., Hartmann, G. A., Stahlschmidt, M. C., Heinrich, S., Gluchy, M. F., Hatté, C., Lahaye, C., Griggo, C., Pérez, A., de Melo Ramos, M. P., Straioto, H., Santos, J., Trindade, R. I., Strauss, A., Guidon, N., & Böeda, E. (2021). Formation Processes of the Late Pleistocene Site Toca da Janela da Barra do Antonião – Piauí (Brazil). PaleoAmerica, 7, 260-279.
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Lauer, T., Weiss, M., Bernhardt, W., Heinrich, S., Rappsilber, I., Stahlschmidt, M. C., von Suchodoletz, H., & Wansa, S. (2020). The Middle Pleistocene fluvial sequence at Uichteritz, central Germany: Chronological framework, paleoenvironmental history and early human presence during MIS 11. Geomorphology, 354: 107016.
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Stahlschmidt, M. C., Mallol, C., & Miller, C. E. (2020). Fire as an artifact - advances in Paleolithic combustion structure studies: Introduction to the Special Issue. Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology, 3, 503-508.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   


Ekshtain, R., Malinsky-Buller, A., Greenbaum, N., Mitki, N., Stahlschmidt, M. C., Shahack-Gross, R., Nir, N., Porat, N., Bar-Yosef Mayer, D. E., Yeshurun, R., Been, E., Rak, Y., Agha, N., Brailovsky, L., Krakovsky, M., Spivak, P., Ullman, M., Vered, A., Barzilai, O., & Hovers, E. (2019). Persistent Neanderthal occupation of the open-air site of ‘Ein Qashish, Israel. PLoS One, 14(6): e0215668.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Stahlschmidt, M. C., Collin, T. C., Fernandes, D. M., Bar-Oz, G., Belfer-Cohen, A., Gao, Z., Jakeli, N., Matskevich, Z., Meshveliani, T., Pritchard, J. K., McDermott, F., & Pinhasi, R. (2019). Ancient mammalian and plant DNA from Late Quaternary stalagmite layers at Solkota Cave, Georgia. Scientific Reports, 9: 6628.
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Stahlschmidt, M. C., McClung de Tapia, E., & Gutiérrez-Castorena, M. d. C. (2019). A geoarchaeological investigation of the Street of the Dead at the Tlajinga district, Teotihuacan, Mexico. Ancient Mesoamerica, 30(1), 129-145.
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Stahlschmidt, M. C., & Miller, C. E. (2018). Schöninger Erde unter dem Mikroskop – Mikromorphologie. In T. Terberger, U. Böhner, F. Hillgruber, & A. Kotula (Eds.), 300 000 Jahre Spitzentechnik: der altsteinzeitliche Fundplatz Schöningen und die frühsten Speere der Menschheit (pp. 117-118). Darmstadt: wbg Theiss.
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Stahlschmidt, M. C., Nir, N., Greenbaum, N., Zilberman, T., Barzilai, O., Ekshtain, R., Malinsky-Buller, A., Hovers, E., & Shahack-Gross, R. (2018). Geoarchaeological investigation of site formation and depositional environments at the Middle Palaeolithic open-air site of 'Ein Qashish, Israel. Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology, 1(1), 32-53.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   


Been, E., Hovers, E., Ekshtain, R., Malinski-Buller, A., Agha, N., Barash, A., Mayer, D.-E.-B.-Y., Benazzi, S., Hublin, J.-J., Levin, L., Greenbaum, N., Mitki, N., Oxilia, G., Porat, N., Roskin, J., Soudack, M., Yeshurun, R., Shahack-Gross, R., Nir, N., Stahlschmidt, M. C., Rak, Y., & Barzilai, O. (2017). The first Neanderthal remains from an open-air Middle Palaeolithic site in the Levant. Scientific Reports, 7(1): 2958.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Stahlschmidt, M. C. (2017). Book review: Underground archaeology: studies on human bones and artefacts from Ireland's caves by Marion Dowd (Ed.); Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2016, 191 pages, ISBN: 9781785703515. Journal of Irish Archaeology, 26, 204.
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Stahlschmidt, M. C., Miller, C. E., Kandel, A. W., Goldberg, P., & Conard, N. J. (2017). Site formation processes and Late Natufian domestic spaces at Baaz Rockshelter, Syria: A micromorphological perspective. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 12, 499-514.
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Steele, T. E., Mackay, A., Fitzsimmons, K. E., Igreja, M., Marwick, B., Orton, J., Schwortz, S., & Stahlschmidt, M. C. (2016). Varsche Rivier 003: A middle and later stone age site with Still Bay and Howiesons Poort assemblages in Southern Namaqualand, South Africa. PaleoAnthropology, 2016, 100-163.
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Julien, M.-A., Hardy, B., Stahlschmidt, M. C., Urban, B., Serangeli, J., & Conard, N. J. (2015). Characterizing the Lower Paleolithic bone industry from Schöningen 12 II: A multi-proxy study. Journal of Human Evolution, 89(Supplement C), 264-286.
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Stahlschmidt, M. C., Miller, C. E., Ligouis, B., Goldberg, P., Berna, F., Urban, B., & Conard, N. J. (2015). The depositional environments of Schöningen 13 II-4 and their archaeological implications. Journal of Human Evolution, 89, 71-91.
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Stahlschmidt, M. C., Miller, C. E., Ligouis, B., Hambach, U., Goldberg, P., Berna, F., Richter, D., Urban, B., Serangeli, J., & Conard, N. J. (2015). On the evidence for human use and control of fire at Schöningen. Journal of Human Evolution, 89, 181-201.
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Miller, C. E., & Stahlschmidt, M. C. (2014). Eine brennende Frage: Feuer und menschliche Evolution. Senckenberg - Natur - Forschung - Museum, 144(7/8), 286-287.
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Stahlschmidt, M. C. (2014). Mikromorphologische Untersuchungen zur Fundplatzgenese an den Fundstellen Schöningen, Grabow und Blätterhöhle in Deutschland sowie der Fundstelle Varsche Rivier 003, Südafrika. PhD Thesis, Universität, Tübingen.
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Conard, N. J., Bretzke, K., Deckers, K., Hillgruber, F. K., Kandel, A. W., Masri, M., Napierala, H., Riehl, S., & Stahlschmidt, M. (2013). Natufian lifeways in the eastern foothills of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. In O. Bar-Yosef, & F. R. Valla (Eds.), Natufian Foragers in the Levant: Terminal Pleistocene Social Changes in Western Asia (pp. 1-16). Ann Arbor: International Monographs in Prehistory.
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Tolksdorf, J. F., Turner, F., Kaiser, K., Eckmeier, E., Stahlschmidt, M., Housley, R. A., Breest, K., & Veil, S. (2013). Multiproxy analyses of stratigraphy and palaeoenvironment of the late palaeolithic Grabow Floodplain Site, Northern Germany. Geoarchaeology, 28(1), 50-65.
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Serangeli, J., Bigga, G., Böhner, U., Julien, M. A., Lang, J., & Stahlschmidt, M. (2012). Ein Fenster ins Altpaläolithikum. Archäologie in Deutschland, 4, 6-12.
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Conard, N. J., Masri, M., Bretzke, K., Stahlschmidt, M., & Kandel, A. W. (2010). The 2008 TDASP Survey in the Damascus Province, Syria and the refinement of models of Paleolithic landuse. Chronique Archéologique en Syrie, 4, 23-29.
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Stahlschmidt, M. C. (2010). Fundplatzgenese und eine prähistorische Bodenkonstruktion in Baaz, Südwest-Syrien. Magister Thesis, Universität, Tübingen.
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