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Department of Human Evolution

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 (341) 3550 - 350
fax: +49 (0341) 3550 - 399

e-mail: streiber@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Dirk Hoffmann

Associate Researcher

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

phone: 0049 (0) 341 3550 362
fax: 0049 (0) 341 3550 399
e-mail: dirk_hoffmann@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Dirk Hoffmann is a research scientist in the geochronology section of the Archaeological Sciences group within the Department of Human Evolution and works on U-series dating of carbonates and applications in Archaeology and Earth Sciences.

He is a physicist (Dipl. phys., University of Heidelberg) and received his PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in January 2002 at the Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg. His work focusses on radiometric dating techniques applied to geochronology, palaeoclimate archives or archaeological sites and artefacts. He is a specialist in multi-collector (MC) inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) based U-series dating and particularly interested in analytical and technical aspects of mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS, TIMS), speleothem based palaeoclimate research, radiocarbon calibration using speleothems, U-series based chronology for archaeological sites and artefacts, age modelling for speleothem chronologies, or U-series dating of other marine and terrestrial archives such as corals, lake sediments or travertine.

Before coming to Leipzig, Dirk worked in the UK and Spain. In October 2002 he joined the Geography Department at the University of Bristol and was responsible for the set up of MC-ICPMS U-series dating in the Bristol Isotope Group laboratory. Between 2009 and 2014 he set up and directed a new MC-ICPMS U-series dating laboratory within the Geochronology section of the CENIEH in Burgos (Spain). Since May 2014 he is working in the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. Current projects include, for example, U-series dating of calcite crusts covering cave art, chronologies for archaeological sites in Portugal, Spain and Germany or reconstructing the western Mediterranean palaeoclimate using stalagmites from Gibraltar, Portugal and Tunisia.

Curriculum Vitae

Current position

since 2014Research Scientist,
Department of Human Evolution,
Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology,
Leipzig, Germany

Honorary position

since 2009Visiting Research Fellow,
School of Geographical Sciences,
University of Bristol, UK

Previous positions

2009-2014Research Group Leader,
U-series MC-ICPMS Laboratory, CENIEH,
2008-2009 Research Fellow,
School of Geographical Sciences,
University of Bristol, UK
2005-2008Postdoctoral Research Associate,
School of Geographical Sciences,
University of Bristol, UK
2002-2005Postdoctoral Research Assistant,
School of Geographical Sciences,
University of Bristol, UK
2002Postdoctoral Research Associate,
Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften,
Institute for Environmental Physics,
University of Heidelberg, Germany
1998-2001 Pre-doctoral Research Associate,
Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften,
Institute for Environmental Physics,
University of Heidelberg, Germany


2002Dr. rer. nat. (University of Heidelberg)
1998Diplom Physiker (Dipl. phys., University of Heidelberg)

Research grants

2013-2014'U-series dating of Palaeolithic cave paintings in Europe - in search of Europe's oldest art',
National Geographic Society,
role: PI
2009-2013‘A calibrated climate record from Gibraltar speleothem: the instrumental era, the Holocene and the last interglacial’,
funding agency: National Environmental Research Council (NERC), UK,
role: PI, joint submission with P-I D. Mattey (Royal Holloway, University of London)
2012-2013'Do humid phases in costal Libya reflect an intensified Atlantic storm track?'
funding agency: NERC,
role: Co-I, ( PI M. Rogerson, University of Hull)
2013-2015'High and Dry – Quaternary climates, paleoenvironments and human prehistory of the Tibetan plateau'
funding agency: Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC).
role: project partner, (PI M. Meyer, University of Innsbruck)
2013-2014'A new speleothem-based record of past rainfall changes in central North Africa' Leverhulme Trust International Networks,
Role: Co-I, (PI M. Rogerson, University of Hull)
Sept. 2013'The Early-Middle Pleistocene transition: Significance of the Jaramillo subchron in the sedimentary record'
Earthtime-EU scientific meeting,
conference held in Burgos 25-27 September 2013,
role: Convenor.
2012'Climatic background and chronology of Iberian Upper Palaeolithic Cave Art',
funding agency: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion (MICINN),
Spanish National Programme for Fundamental Research Projects,
role: PI
2010-2011'U-series chronology of MIS 3 speleothems from Spain and Portugal - dating the late survival of the Middle Paleolithic and Neanderthals in the Iberian Peninsula'.
French Academy of Sciences Gentil-Bourcart 2010 award for K. Wainer,
role: PI
2008-2010.'Dating Palaeolithic Cave art in Iberia by Uranium Series',
PI: A. Pike (University of Bristol),
funding agency: NERC,
role: research partner
2008-2009'Application of the (LA) ICPMS technology to reconstruct and compare the climate of five past interglacials recorded in a precisely dated stalagmite from western Germany'.
DFG Fellowship for Denis Scholz,
role: Inviting PI
2005 - 2008‘New U-Th and U-Pb dating methods for applications from Quaternary climates to planetesimal formation',
submitted by D. Richards,
funding agency: Leverhulme Trust,
role: named researcher
2002Travel grant to attend 10th International Conference on Luminescence and Electron Spin Resonance Dating,
funding agency DFG (HO 2487/1-1)
1999-2002‘ESR-dating of equid teeth’,
PI: A. Mangini,
funding agency: DFG,
role: named researcher,

Professional Service

  • Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry
  • Atmospheric  Environment
  • Climate  of the Past
  • Earth  and Planetary Science Letters
  • Geochimica  et Cosmochimica Acta
  • Geology
  • International  Journal of Mass Spectrometry
  • Journal of Quaternary Science
  • Nature  Communications
  • Nuclear  Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with  Materials and Atoms (NIMB) Proceedings
  • Quaternary  Geochronology
  • Quaternary  Science Reviews
  • Radiocarbon
  • Sedimentology
  • Grant  proposal reviews for the National Environmental Research Council (NERC), UK.
Guest Editor
  • Quaternary International
  • Convenor ESF Earthtime-EU scientific meeting 'The Early-Middle Pleistocene transition: Significance of the Jaramillo Subchron in the sedimentary record', Burgos 25-27 September 2013
  • Convenor of Speleothem Research session at EGU General assembly 2010 - 2012
Selected invited presentations

'MC-ICPMS U-Th isotope measurements for precise speleothem chronologies in Quaternary climate research and Archaeology' Departmental Seminar, Department of Earth Sciences, RHUL, UK, 29 October 2013.

'Frontiers and potential of U-series dating for Quaternary timescales' Earthtime-EU scientific meeting, Workshop on 'Absolute timescales for the quaternary', Santorini, 07-11 October 2012.

'MC-ICPMS U-Th isotope measurements for precise speleothem chronologies in Quaternary climate research' EGU General Assembly 2011, Vienna, April 3 - 8, 2011.

'Radiocarbon Calibration and Stalagmites' Seminar Aktuelle Themen aus der Beschleunigermassenspektrometrie und deren Anwendungen, Institute of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zürich, 26 May 2010.

'U-Th analyses of carbonate rich varved lake sediments - potential for dating' Workshop on Allogenic Contributions in U-Series Dating, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK, 20. March 2009.

'Procedures for U and Th isotope measurements using MC-ICPMS for applications in geochronology and isotope geochemistry' ESARDA Working Group on Techniques and Standards for Destructive Analysis, Workshop on Measurements of minor isotopes in uranium, IRMM, Geel, Belgium, 10 - 11 April 2008.

'Hochaufgelöste Spurenelementmessungen und U-Th Datierung an Stalagmiten mittels Laser Ablation-(MC)-ICPMS' Institute for Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg, Germany, 16. November 2006.


This publication list is currently beeing updated. The process will be finished in a few minutes.
Felstead, N.J., Gonzalez, S., Huddart, D., Noble, S.R., Hoffmann, D.L., Metcalfe, S.E., Leng, M.J., Albert, B.M., Pike, A.W.G., Gonzalez-Gonzalez, A., Jiménez-López, J.C. (2014). Holocene-aged human footprints from the Cuatrociénegas Basin, NE Mexico. Journal of Archaeological Science, 42, 250-259.
Drăguşin, V., Staubwasser, M., Hoffmann, D.L., Érsek, Onac, B., Vereş, D. (2014). Constraining Holocene hydrological changes in the Carpathian-Balkan region using speleothem δ18O and pollen-based temperature reconstructions. Climate of the past, 10, 1363-1380.
Constantin, S., Robu, M., Munteanu, C.-M., Petculescu, A., Vlaicu, M., Mirea, I., Kenesz, M., Drăguşin, V., Hoffmann, D., Anechitei, V., Timar-Gabor, A., Roban, R.-D., Panaiotu, C.G. (2014). Reconstructing the evolution of cave systems as a key to understanding the taphonomy of fossil accumulations: The case of Urşilor Cave (Western Carpathians, Romania). Quaternary International, 339-340, 25-40.
Reimer, P.J., Bard, E., Bayliss, A., Beck, J.W., Blackwell, P.G., Bronk Ramsey, C., Buck, C.E., Cheng, H., Edwards, R.L., Friedrich, M., Grootes, P.M., Guilderson, T.P., Haflidason, H., Hajdas, I., Hatté, C., Heaton, T.J., Hoffmann, D.L., Hogg, A.G., Hughen, K.A., Kaiser, K.F., Kromer, B., Manning, S.W., Niu, M., Reimer, R.W., Richards, D.A., Scott, E.M., Southon, J.R., Staff, R.A., Turney, C.S.M., van der Plicht, J. (2013). IntCal13 and Marine13 radiocarbon age calibration curves 0 - 50000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 55, 1869-1887.
Gutjahr, M., Vance, D., Hoffmann, D.L., Hillenbrand, C.-D., Foster, G.L., Rae, J.W.B., Kuhn, G. (2013). Structural limitations in deriving accurate U-series ages from calcitic cold-water corals contrast with robust coral radiocarbon and Mg/Ca systematics. Chemical Geology 355, 69–87.
García Diez, M., Hoffmann, D.L., Zilhão, J., de las Heras, C., Lasheras, J.A., Montes, R. Pike, A.W.G. (2013). Uranium series dating reveals a long sequence of rock art at Altamira Cave (Santillana del Mar, Cantabria). Journal of Archaeological Science 40, 4098-4106.
Moseley, G.E,. Richards, D.A., Smith, C.J.M., Smart, P.L., Hoffmann, D.L., Farrant, A.R. (2013). U–Th dating of speleothems to investigate the evolution of limestone caves in the Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia. Cave and Karst Science, 40, 13-16.
Moseley, G.E., Smart, P., Richards, D., Hoffmann, D.L. (2013). Speleothem constraints on marine isotope stage (MIS) 5 relative sea-levels, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Journal of Quaternary Science 28, 293-300.
Hoffmann, D.L., Pike, A., Wainer, K., Zilhão, J. (2013). New U-series results for the speleogenesis and the Palaeolithic archaeology of the Almonda karstic system (Torres Novas, Portugal). Quaternary International 294, 168-182.
Shanahan, T.M., Peck, J.A., McKay, N., Heil Jr., C.W., King, J., Forman, S.L., Hoffmann, D.L., Richards, D.A., Overpeck, J.T., Scholz, C. (2013). Age models for long lacustrine sediment records using multiple dating approaches - An example from Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana. Quaternary Geochronology, 15, 47-60.
Fensterer, C., Scholz, D., Hoffmann, D.L., Spötl, C., Schröder-Ritzrau, A., Horn, C., Pajón, J.M., Mangini, A. (2013). Millennial-scale climate variability during the last 12.5 ka recorded in a Caribbean speleothem. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 361, 143-151.
Scholz, D., Hoffmann, D.L., Hellstrom, J., Bronk Ramsey, C. (2012). A comparison of different methods for speleothem age modelling. Quaternary Geochronology, 14, 94-104.
Fensterer, C., Scholz, D., Hoffmann, D.L., Spötl, C., Pajón, J.M., Mangini, A. (2012). Cuban stalagmite suggests relationship between Caribbean precipitation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation during the past 1.3 ka. The Holocene, 22, 1405-1412.
Pike, A.W.G., Hoffmann, D.L., García Diez, M., Pettitt, P.B., Alcolea, J., De Balbín, R., González-Sainz, C., de las Heras, C., Lasheras, J.A., Montes, R., Zilhão, J. (2012). U-Series Dating of Paleolithic Art in 11 Caves in Spain. Science 336, 1409-1413.
Scholz, D., Hoffmann, D.L. (2011). StalAge - an algorithm especially designed for construction of speleothem age. Quaternary Geochronology 6, 369-382.
Luetscher, M., Hoffmann, D.L., Frisia, S., Spötl, C. (2011). Holocene glacier history from alpine speleothems, Milchbach cave, Switzerland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 302, 95-106.
Ramalho, R., Helffrich, G., Cosca, M., Vance, D., Hoffmann, D., Schmidt, D.N. (2010). Constraints on the origins of hot spot swells from island freeboard. Nature Geosciences 3, 774-777.
Madeira, J., Mata, J., Mourão, C., Brum da Silveira, A., Martins, S., Ramalho, R., Hoffmann, D.L. (2010) Volcano-stratigraphic and structural evolution of Brava Island (Cape Verde) from 40Ar/39Ar, U/Th and field constraints. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 196, 219–235.
Ramalho, R.; Helffrich, G., Cosca, M., Vance, D., Hoffmann, D., Schmidt, D.N. (2010). Vertical movements of ocean island volcanoes: insights from a stationary plate environment. Marine Geology 275, 84-95.
Fensterer, C., Scholz, D., Hoffmann, D., Mangini, A., Pajon, J.M. (2010). 230Th/U-dating of a late Holocene low uranium speleothem from Cuba. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science 9, 012015.
Hoffmann, D. L., Beck, J. W., Richards, D. A., Smart, P. L., Singarayer, J.S., Ketchmark, T., Hawkesworth, C. J. (2010). Towards radiocarbon calibration beyond 28 ka using speleothems from the Bahamas. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 289, 1-10.
Couchoud, I., Genty, D., Hoffmann, D.L., Drysdale, R, Blamart, D. (2009). Millennial-scale climate variability during the Last Interglacial recorded in a speleothem from South-western France. Quaternary Science Reviews 28, 3263-3274.
Surić, M., Richards, D.A., Hoffmann, D.L., Tibljaš, D., Juračić, M. (2009). Sea level change during MIS 5a based submerged speleothems from the eastern Adriatic Sea (Croatia). Marine Geology 262, 62–67.
Hoffmann, D.L., Spötl, C., Mangini, A. (2009). Micromill and in situ laser ablation sampling techniques for high spatial resolution MC-ICPMS U-Th dating of carbonates. Chemical Geology 259, 253-261.
Wainer, K., Genty, D., Blamart, D., Hoffmann, D., Couchoud, I. (2009). A new stage 3 millennial climatic variability record from a SW France speleothem. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 271, 130-139.
Pinhasi, R., Gasparian, B., Wilkinson, K., Bailey, R., Bar-Oz, G., Bruch, A., Chataigner, C., Hoffmann, D.L., Hovsepyan, R., Nahapetyan, S., Pike, A.W.G., Schreve, D., Stephens, M. (2008). Hovk 1 and the Middle and Upper Paleolithic of Armenia: a preliminary framework. Journal of Human Evolution 55, 803-816.
Scholz, D., Hoffmann, D.L. (2008). 230Th/U-dating of fossil corals and speleothems. Quaternary Science Journal 57, 52-77.
Hoffmann, D.L. (2008). 230Th isotope measurements of femtogram quantities for U-series dating using multi ion counting (MIC) MC-ICPMS. International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 275, 75-79.
Baldini, J.U.L., McDermott, F., Hoffmann, D.L., Richards, D.A., Clipson, N. (2008). Very high-frequency cave atmosphere PCO2 variability: implications for stalagmite growth and oxygen isotope-based paleoclimate records. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 272, 118-129.
Hodge, E.J., Richards, D.A., Smart, P.L., Andreo, B., Hoffmann, D.L., Mattey, D.P., González-Ramón, A. (2008). Effective precipitation in southern Spain (~ 266 to 46 ka BP) based on a speleothem stable carbon isotope record. Quaternary Research 69, 447-457.
Hoffmann, D.L., Paterson, B.A., Jonckheere, R. (2008). Uranium concentration measurements on a fossil equid tooth by fission tracks, TIMS and laser-ablation ICPMS - implications for ESR dating. Radiation Measurements 43, 5-13.
Sims, K.W.W., Gill, J., Dossoto, A., Hoffmann, D.L., Lundstrom, C., Williams, R., Ball, L., Tollstrup, D., Turner, S., Prytulak, J., Glessner, J., Standish, J., Elliott, T. (2008). An inter-laboratory assessment of the Th Isotopic Composition of Synthetic and Rock standards. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research 32(1), 65-91.
Prytulak, J., Elliott, T., Hoffmann, D.L., Coath, C.D. (2008). Assessment of USGS BCR-2 as a reference material for silicate rock U-Pa disequilibrium measurements. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research 32(1), 55-63.
Hoffmann, D.L., Prytulak, J., Richards, D.A., Elliott, T.R., Coath, C.D., Smart, P.L., Scholz, D. (2007). Procedures for accurate U and Th isotope measurements by high precision MC-ICPMS. International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 264, 97-109.
Auler, A.S., Piló, L.B., Smart, P.L., Wang, X., Hoffmann, D., Richards, D.A., Edwards, R.L., Neves, W.A., Cheng, H. (2006). U-series dating and taphonomy of Quaternary vertebrates from Brazilian caves. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 240, 508–522.
Hoffmann, D.L., Richards, D.A., Elliott, T.R., Smart, P.L., Coath, C.D., Hawkesworth, C.J. (2005). Characterisation of Secondary Electron Multiplier Nonlinearity using MC-ICPMS. International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 244 (2-3), 97-108.
Hoffmann, D., Mangini, A. (2003). A method for coupled ESR/U-series dating of teeth showing post-depositional U-loss. Quaternary Science Reviews 22, 1367-1372.
Hoffmann, D., Woda, C., Mangini, A. (2003). Equivalent dose determination in foraminifera: analytical description of the CO2--signal dose-response curve. Radiation Measurements 37 (1), 95-101.
Theissen, K. M., Dunbar, R. B., Cooper, A. K., Mucciarone, D. A., Hoffmann, D. (2003). The Pleistocene evolution of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Prydz bay region: stable isotopic evidence from ODP Site 1167. Global and Planetary Change 39 (3-4), 227-256.
Hoffmann, D., Mangini, A. (2002). Comparative studies on the CO2--signal in tooth enamel and carbonates. Radiation Protection Dosimetry 101 (1-4), 359-362.
Hoffmann, D., Woda, C., Strobl, C., Mangini, A. (2001). ESR-dating of the Arctic sediment core PS1535: Dose response and thermal behaviour of the CO2--signal in foraminifera. Quaternary Science Reviews 20, 1009-1014.
Hoffmann, D., Woda, C., Lomitschka, M., Mangini, A. (1999). Untersuchungen zur ESR-Datierung eemzeitlicher Muscheln aus Schleswig-Holstein. Meyniana 51, 113-124.
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 Hoffmann, D.L. (2013). Datación por Series de Uranio. In: García-Diez, M., Zapata, L. (Eds.) Métodos y técnicas de análisis y estudio en arqueología prehistórica. Servicio Editorial de la Universidad del País Vasco, 87-92.
 Zilhão, J., Angelucci, D., Aubry, T., Badal, E., Brugal, J.-P., Carvalho, R., Gameiro, C., Hoffmann, D.L., Matias, H., Maurício, J., Nabais, M., Pike, A., Póvoas, L., Richter, D., Souto, P., Trinkaus, E., Wainer, K., Willman, J. (2013). A Gruta da Oliveira (Torres Novas): uma jazida de referência para o paleolítico médio da península ibérica. In: Arnaud, J.M., Martins, A., Neves, C. (Eds.). Arqueologia em Portugal – 150 Anos. Associação dos Arqueólogos Portugueses, Lisboa, 2013, pp. 259-268.
 Pike, A. W. G., Hoffmann, D. L., García-Díez, M., Pettitt, P. B., Alcolea González, J. J., Balbín, R. de, González-Sainz, C., Heras, C. de las, Lasheras, J. A., Montes, R., Zilhão, J. (2013). En los orígenes del arte rupestre Paleolítico: dataciones por la serie del Uranio en las cuevas de Altamira, El Castillo y Tito Bustillo. In: Pensando el Gravetiense: Nuevos datos para la región cantábrica en su contexto peninsular y pirenaico, At Santillana del Mar, 20-22 octubre 2011, Monografías del Museo Nacional y Centro de Investigación de Altamira, 23, 461-475.




 Hoffmann, D. (2001). Kombinierte Elektronen-Spin-Resonanz- und Uranreihen-Datierung von Zahnschmelz. Dissertation, Naturwissenschaftlich-Mathematische Gesamtfakultät der Universität Heidelberg.
 Hoffmann, D. (1998). ESR-Datierung eines arktischen Sedimentbohrkerns. Diplomarbeit am Institut für Umweltphysik, Universität Heidelberg. (unpublished)