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Sarah Pederzani

Doctoral Student

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

e-mail: sarah_pederzanieva.mpgde

Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

I am a PhD student in the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. My research interests focus on exploring interactions between humans, animals and their respective environments using stable isotope ecology and zooarchaeology. During my undergraduate and masters studies at the University of Kiel, I particularly concentrated on improving reconstructions of animal husbandry practices, such as foddering and seasonal mobility, from oxygen, carbon and nitrogen stable isotope data through use of modelling approaches and modern comparative datasets. I am keen to continue such method development during my doctoral research in order to refine oxygen isotope analysis of faunal remains for the investigation of climate and seasonality in Late Pleistocene contexts. Oxygen isotope analysis of faunal material represents a very valuable source of information for climatic and environmental reconstruction, shedding light on the context of human behaviour through time. It is therefore essential that the methods and interpretative approaches used to build such environmental frameworks produce the most faithful results possible. Specifically, I seek to improve upon sample pretreatment methods as well as the conversion of δ18O  in biological tissues into temperature estimates. This will potentially help to consistently reproduce a biological δ18O signal as well as allow more sophisticated isolation of climatic information from overprinting impacts of animal behaviour and physiology. Working on archaeological material from a number of different European sites I am particularly looking to explore the relationship between seasonality and hominin mobility and site occupation as well as how they conjointly precipitate in animal exploitation strategies.

As a sideline in my interest in animal exploitation, I also investigated impacts of animal environment and diet as well as dairy processing on the carbon isotopic composition of single fatty acids in milk as part of my masters thesis. During my studies I been involved in a variety of isotopic, zooarchaeological, ethnographic and archaeological field work projects in Jordan, Mongolia, France and Germany.

Curriculum Vitae

Current Position

10/2016-presentPhD candidate in Archaeological Science
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology,
Leipzig/Leiden University/ University of Aberdeen;
Project title: "Exploring late PLeistocene intra- and inter-site climate variability and seasonality using isotope zooarchaeology"
Supervisors: Dr. Kate Britton, Dr. Ulrike Wacker, Professor Jean-Jacques Hublin, Dr. Shannon McPherron


University Education

09/2016M. A. in Prehistoric and Historic Archaeology
Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel;
Thesis topic: "Effects of Heating and Fat Separation on δ13C of Single Fatty Acids in Milk: Potential Uses for the Detection of Pasteurization in Prehistoric Pottery" (Final grade: 1.1, Thesis grade: 1.0)
Supervisors: Professor Cheryl Makarewicz, Professor Cynthianne Debono Spiteri
12/2014B. Sc. in Prehistoric and Historic Archaeology (major) and Chemistry (minor)
Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel;
Thesis topic: "Herd Mobility in Xiongnu Funerary Contexts Assessed by Stable Isotope Analysis of Sheep Tooth Enamel from Baga Gazaryn Chuluu, Mongolia" (Final grade: 1.5; Top 10% in the year group; Thesis grade: 1.1);
Supervisor: Professor Cheryl Makarewicz 


11/2011-09/2016 Scholarship student
with the German National Academic Foundation
(Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes)


Archaeological Science Employment

11/2014-11/2015Graduate Research Assistant for Professor Cheryl Makarewicz
Institute for Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology, CAU Kiel
Identification of faunal samples and sample preparation for δ13C and δ15N analysis of bulk collagen as well as as δ13C and δ18O of incremental tooth enamel samples as part of the project "CONTACT. The Pitted Ware Phenomenon in Djursland and Maritime Relations Across the Kattegat in the Middle Neolithic"
04/2014-09/2016 Student Laboratory Manager of the Zooarchaeology Laboratory
Institute for Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology, CAU Kiel
Organization of laboratory storage and assigning student workspaces
Managing of laboratory supplies
Maintenance of modern comparative collection
Assisting students taking introductory courses
02-04/2014Undergraduate Research Assistant for Professor Cheryl Makarewicz
Institute for Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology, CAU Kiel
Drilling and sample preparation for δ13C and δ18O analysis of ungulate tooth enamel carbonates as part of the DFG Priority Programme 1400 "Early Monumentality and Social Differentiaton"

Analytical and Technical Training

  • Drilling of sequential samples from tooth enamel and sample preparation for δ13C and δ18O analysis of the structural carbonate fraction
  • Sample preparation for δ13C and δ15N analysis of bulk bone collagen using EDTA, dilute HCl and Longin extraction methods
  • Lipid extraction and preparation of fatty acid methyl esthers of milk samples for single compound δ13C analysis
  • Zooarchaeological identification and data analysis: recording of taxonomic, demographic and metrical information, fragmentation patterns and processing modifications, generating mortality profiles, LSI histograms and mixture analyses
  • Statistical Data Analysis using R: descriptive statistics and data visualization, linear and non-linear regressional analysis, multivariate statistics, Bayesian modelling, Fourier series analysis and Fourier transformation
  • Stable Isotope Mixing Models: SIAR, SIBER and MixSIAR (SIMM)
    offered by PRstatitics, Instructors: Dr. Andrew Jackson, Dr. Andrew Parnell
  • GC-MS, GC-FID data analysis using Agilent ChemStation, NIST14 and OpenChrom
  • Generating excavation plans from total station measurements using AutoCAD

Archaeological Science Field Work

07-08/2015Sample Collection, Ethnographic and Zooarchaeological Work
in Mongolia
Collection of sample material for stable isotope analysis from animal bone, plant material, soil, water, animal hair and dairy products
Mapping and description of modern winter campsites
Analysis of faunal material from modern campsites and archaeological sites Egiin Gol and Baga Gazaryn Chuluu
Conducting of ethnographic interviews with pastoral nomadic families
03/2015-04/2015  Zooarchaeological Work and Sample Collection
in Amman and Irbid, Jordan
Identification and description of faunal material from Wadi Feynan 16
Collection of human bone samples for stable isotope analysis from 'Ain Ghazal, Dhra' and Wadi Shu'eib
07/2014Zooarchaeological Work
in Amman, Jordan
Identification and description of material from Wadi Feynan 16, Jordan

Archaeological Field Work

at the PPNA site of Sharara, Jordan
Supersivors:  Professor Cheryl Makarewicz, Professor Bill Finlayson
at the PPNB site of Beidha, Jordan
Supersivors: Professor Cheryl Makarewicz, Professor Bill Finlayson
at the PPNA site of El-Hemmeh, Jordan
Supervisor: Professor Cheryl Makarewicz
at a LaTène period fortification in Gellinghausen, Kr. Paderborn
Supervisor: Alexandra Stiehl
07/2013Geomagnetic survey
of a medieval church at Steinförde, Landkr. Börde
Supervisor: Dr. Christoph Rinne
of a Funnel Beaker period long barrow in Wangels, Kr. Ostholstein
Supervisor: Dr. Jan-Piet Brozio
04/2012Ceramics practical course:
"Initiation à l'étude de céramiques de Bibracte"
at the Centre archéologique européen, Site archéologique du Mont-Beuvray,
Burgogne, France
Identification, description and drawing of ceramic sherds from the Oppidum of Mont-Beuvray, France
02/2012Pedestrian survey
at the Neolithic sites of Lüdelsen, Altmarkkreis, Salzwedel
and Haldensleben, Landkr. Börde
Supervisor: Dr. Carsten Mischka, Professor Johannes Müller
at the Fortress church of Ankum, Landkr. Osnabrück
Supervisor: Dr. Daniel Lau
03/2011Ceramics practical course:
drawing and identification of material from the Bronze Age site
of Bruszczewo, Powiat Kościański, Poland
Supervisor: Dr. Jutta Kneisel
in the Gallo-Roman quarry „Les Fossottes“,
La Salle, Département des Vosges, France
Supervisor: Virginie Farget

Teaching Experience

10/2015-presentAssisting introductory level students
with faunal bone identification
Providing practice and study material for zooarchaeological courses
12/2015Zooarchaeology seminar session
in „Introduction to Archaeological Science“
taught by Dr. Isabella von Holstein at undergraduate level
Introduction to basic principles of faunal data anlysis and data structure Taphonomic processes: interpretation problems and opportunities Modern comparative collections and regional morphological variation



Pederzani, S., Aldeias, V., Dibble, H. L., Goldberg, P., Hublin, J.-J., Madelaine, S., McPherron, S. P., Sandgathe, D., Steele, T. E., Turq, A., & Britton, K. (2021). Reconstructing Late Pleistocene paleoclimate at the scale of human behavior: an example from the Neandertal occupation of La Ferrassie (France). Scientific Reports, 11: 1419.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Pederzani, S., Snoeck, C., Wacker, U., & Britton, K. (2020). Anion exchange resin and slow precipitation preclude the need for pretreatments in silver phosphate preparation for oxygen isotope analysis of bioapatites. Chemical Geology, 534: 119455.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Britton, K., Pederzani, S., Kindler, L., Roebroeks, W., Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S., Richards, M. P., & Tütken, T. (2019). Oxygen isotope analysis of Equus teeth evidences early Eemian and early Weichselian palaeotemperatures at the Middle Palaeolithic site of Neumark-Nord 2, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Quaternary Science Reviews, 226: 106029.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Pederzani, S., & Britton, K. (2019). Oxygen isotopes in bioarchaeology: Principles and applications, challenges and opportunities. Earth-Science Reviews, 188, 77-107.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Makarewicz, C. A., & Pederzani, S. (2017). Oxygen (δ18O) and carbon (δ13C) isotopic distinction in sequentially sampled tooth enamel of co-localized wild and domesticated caprines: Complications to establishing seasonality and mobility in herbivores. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 485, 1-15.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Book Chapters

Hermes, T., Pederzani, S., & Makarewicz, C. (2018). Ahead of the curve? Implications for isolating vertical tranhumance in seasonal montane environments using sequential oxygen isotope analyses of tooth enamel. In A. Miller, & C. Makarewicz (Eds.), Isotopic investigations of pastoralism in prehistory (pp. 57-76). Routledge.
BibTeX   Endnote   


Pederzani, S. C. (2020). Exploring Late Pleistocene intra- and inter-site climate variability and seasonaliy using isotope zooarchaeology. PhD Thesis, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen.
BibTeX   Endnote