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Alexa Benson

Doctoral Student

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

phone: 0049 (0) 341 3550 352
fax: 0049 (0) 341 3550 399
e-mail: alexa_bensoneva.mpgde

Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Alexa Benson is a PhD student in the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and a participant of the Leipzig School of Human Origins (IMPRS).

She is an archaeological researcher with a broad-scoping education in both palaeoecological and geological sciences. Her master’s thesis on minimalistic sampling techniques of Neanderthal teeth to obtain U-series age estimates and Sr isotopic information, presented an innovative new way to date human remains directly, while preserving the integrity and aesthetics of the materials themselves.

In her doctoral thesis, Alexa will focus on a large-scale comparative multiproxy study spanning the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. For this project, she plans to refine chronologies of some archaeological sites and provide a terrestrial palaeoclimate record spanning the last glacial period.

Prior to arriving to MPI-EVA, Alexa was a research assistant at the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne, where she primarily worked in a pollen laboratory. During this time she worked on high-resolution palaeoenvironmental records of sites across the Southern Hemisphere; primarily Tasmania, Australia. A multiproxy approach was used for this project, including microfossil, charcoal, geochemical and isotopic analysis to provide a comprehensive reconstruction of environmental change.

Curriculum Vitae


2015-presentPhD Candidate,
Max Planck Institute, Leipzig
2012M.Sc. (Hons) Archaeological Science,
Australian National Universtiy
Thesis title: Laser ablation depth profiling of U-series and Sr isotopes in human fossils
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Rainer Grün
2010B.A Archaeology and Spanish,
University of Queensland
2007B.A. Sociology,
University of California at Santa Barbara

Research Interests

  • Uranium series dating
  • Archaeology
  • Isotopic analysis of human/hominin remains
  • Palaeoecology/Palaeclimatology
  • Geochemistry/Geochronology
  • Experimental sampling/processing methods

Professional Employment

2014-2015Laboratory Technical Officer
Department of Resource Management and Geography, University of Melbourne
2014-2015Research Assistant and Laboratory Manager
Department of Resource Management and Geography,
University of Melbourne
Palaeoecological Laboratory
Supervisor: Dr. Michael-Shawn Fletcher
Biosis Heritage Consulting
2011-2014Research Assistant
College of Asia and the Pacific,
Australian National University
Palynology Laboratory
Supervisors: Dr. Janelle Stevenson, Prof. Simon Haberle and Dr. Geoff Hope
College of Social Sciences,
Australian National University
Supervisor: Mr. Anthony Barham

Other Field and Laboratory Experience

2014Research Assistant
Department of Resource Management and Geography,
University of Melbourne
Mass-Spectrometry Laboratory
Supervisor: Dr. Russell Drysdale
2014Field Assistant, Tasmania
Department of Resource management and Geography,
University of Melbourne
palaeoecological sample collection
Supervisor: Dr. Michael-Shawn Fletcher
2014Field Assistant, South Africa
School of Earth Sciences,
University of Melbourne
Geochronological sampling and field work
Supervisor: Assistant Prof. Andy Herries
2013Research Assistant
Research School of Earth Sciences,
Australian National University
ESR Spectromescopy Laboratory
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Rainer Grün
2012 Research Assistant
Research School of Earth Sciences,
Australian National University R
adiocarbon Laboratory
Supervisor: Dr. Rachel Wood
2011-2012Research Assistant
Australian National University,
Shell Cataloguing and Analysis
Supervisor: Mr. Anthony Barham


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