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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

Karen Ruebens

Post-Doctoral Researcher

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

phone: 0049 (0) 341 3550 364
fax: 0049 (0) 341 3550 399
e-mail: karen_ruebens@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

I am a postdoctoral researcher specialised in Palaeolithic archaeology and lithic analyses aimed at understanding patterns underlying human evolution with specific emphasis on Neanderthal behaviour. My current research focuses on Middle Palaeolithic lithic variability, in particular assessing region-specific trends across Europe to understand the causes, mechanisms and behavioural implications of changes in lithic technology, including across the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition.

I re-joined the Human Evolution department in 2017 with a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Career Restart Fellowship. My MSC project ‘TIP-N-POINT’ focuses on reconstructing the technology underlying Middle Palaeolithic hunting events though an assemblage level assessment of the role of point shapes in the Neanderthal tool kit. It is aimed to bridge review and primary assemblage level data across Europe as well as applying a suite of analytical tools, including geometric morphometrics, GIS edge damage mapping and quantitative approaches (incl. generalised linear modelling).

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Record

11/2017-03/2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Career Restart Fellowship
(European Commission)

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
Project TIP-N-POINT: Middle Palaeolithic projectile weapon tips: a contextual, technological and quantitative assessment of Neanderthal point technology in Western Europe.
Collaborators: Dr Shannon McPherron
09/2015-10/2017Parental leave
09/2014-08/2015DAAD-Leibniz Postdoctoral fellow
MONREPOS Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution, Neuwied, Germany
Project: The Palaeolithic origins of regional cultural variation: Neanderthal culture within a spatio-temporal perspective.
Collaborator: Dr Olaf Jöris
10/2013-07/2014DAAD Postdoctoral fellow
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA), Leipzig, Germany
Project: Contextualising Late Middle Palaeolithic backed knives: a new perspective on Neanderthal–Modern Human interactions in Western Europe.
Collaborators: Dr Shannon McPherron and Prof. Jean-Jacques Hublin


2013Ph.D., Palaeolithic Archaeology,
University of Southampton (UK)
Dissertation: From Keilmesser to bout-coupé handaxes: Macro-regional variability in Western European Late Middle Palaeolithic bifacial tools.
Supervisor: Dr John McNabb, Advisor: Dr William Davies Examiners: Prof Clive Gamble and Dr Olaf Jöris
2007M.A., Archaeology of Human Origins,
University of Southampton (UK)
Dissertation: Bifacial elements in NW Europe during the last glacial cycle (MIS 5d-3)
Supervisor: Dr John McNabb
2005M.A. and B.A., Archaeology,
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)
Dissertation: The Middle Paleolithic Site of Oosthoven (B): a comparative analysis
Supervisor: Prof. Philip Van Peer

Grants and awards

2017Marie Skłodowska-Curie Career Restart Fellowship (EU Horizon 2020)
2014DAAD-Leibniz: Postdoctoral research fellowship
2013 DAAD (German Academic Exchange service): Postdoctoral Grant
2013Prehistoric Society: Research Grant for fieldwork at Oosthoven (Belgium)
2013Society of Antiquaries: Research Grant for fieldwork at Oosthoven (Belgium)
2011University of Southampton: Humanities PGR research fund for conference travel
2010Arts and Humanities Research Council: Overseas Study Visit Postgraduate Award
2010Lithic Studies Society: Grant for conference organisation
2007Arts and Humanities Research Council: part-time non-UK PhD funding
2007Lithic Studies Society: John Wymer Bursary
2005Rotary Belgium District 1620: MA Grant and study loan

Professional Involvement

Board Elected regular board member for the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution (ESHE.eu, September 2015-September 2019)
Editor Human Origins Journal, BAR conference volume
  • Quaternary Science Reviews
  • Journal of Archaeological Science
  • Quaternary International
  • Journal of the Lithics Studies Society
  • Journal of Lithic Studies
  • British Archaeological Report series
  • University of Southampton monograph series

Conference Organisation


Session Organiser
‘Connecting Middle Palaeolithic datasets: the interplay of zooarchaeological and lithic data for unravelling Neanderthal behaviour’

Conference: 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), Vancouver (Canada)

2014Session Convener
‘Bifacial tools in the Middle Palaeolithic of western Eurasia: typo-technological variability and spatio-temporal trends’

Conference:XVII World UISPP Congress 2014, Burgos (Spain)
2011Chair of the Organising Committee
Conference: Unravelling the Palaeolithic: 10 years of research at the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins,
University of Southampton
2011Principal founder of ‘Unravelling the Palaeolithic’conference series
Annual UK conference series aimed at integrating postgraduate and senior researchers travelling between Southampton, Liverpool, Cambridge, Durham and Oxford.
2008, 2009Chair of the Organising Committee
Conference: PG Research Archaeology Symposium,
University of Southampton   
2008Session Convener
‘Spoilt For Choice: Uncovering Choice in The Archaeological record’

Conference: Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG),
University of Southampton


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Fieldwork Reports

 Ruebens, K.; Smith, G.M.; Van Peer, P. 2014. Contextualising the Middle Palaeolithic assemblage of Oosthoven (northern Belgium)..
 Bates, M.; Pope, M.; Shaw, A.; Scott, B.; Cole, J.; MacPhail, R.; Scaife, R.; Allott, L; Ruebens, K. and Smith, G. 2012. La Cotte de St. Brelade: Report on Characterisation, Sampling and Stabilisation of Exposed Pleistocene Sediments in the Western Ravine NERC URGENCY AWARD NE/J012394/1.
 Pope, M.; Scott, B.; Bates, M.; Conneller, C.; Cole, J.; Shaw, A.; Wragg-Sykes, R.; Smith, G.; Ruebens, K. and Underhill, D. 2011. Quaternary Archaeology and Environments of Jersey: Report 2010.
 McPherron, S.; Lenoir, M.; Chiotti, L.; Dogandžić, T.; Hublin, J-J. ; Miller, C.; Ruebens, K.; Soressi, M.; Steele, T. and Turq, A. 2011. Rapport de la campagne de fouilles de 2010 dans le gisement du haut de Combe-Capelle Dordogne, France).