Department of Human Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
phone: +49 (341) 3550 - 350
fax: +49 (0341) 3550 - 399
The isotope based palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment section of our Department works on interdisciplinary studies to get a better understanding of the relationship between environmental conditions and human adaptive strategies. We aim to reconstruct past terrestrial environmental / climatic conditions at a regional or local scale in areas where hominin remains and Pleistocene archaeological sites are situated. The research focusses on multi-proxy approaches using geochemical techniques to unravel climatic conditions at archaeological sites and to bring them in a context to human behaviour. We investigate various material that is excavated at the archaeological sites including vertebrate remains, molluscs and pedogenic carbonate. Stable oxygen and carbon isotopes are also an important component of speleothem based palaeoclimate research. We have a stable isotope laboratory which is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies for carbonate and apatite stable isotope analysis. With combined strength of our chronology section (Radiocarbon dating, Luminescence dating, U-series dating )and stable isotope expertise we can conduct multi-proxy studies on palaeoclimate and palaeoecological reconstructions at archaeological sites - or nearby caves - including hydrology changes, vegetation changes, estimation of absolute temperatures and seasonal variations of climate patterns.