Department of Geoscience

Institut für Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie (INA) Kolloquium

The lecture is held every Friday beginning at 10 c.t. and lasting until 12:00 in the Kupferbau (Holderlinstr. 5). Room HS 24.

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Summer 2019

April 26

Speaker:  Susan Mentzer

Title: Analysis of enigmatic plaster samples from the Neolithic site of Dosariyah (Saudi Arabia)

Dosariyah is an Ubaid period Neolithic site located in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The site was excavated from 2010 to 2014 by the German-Saudi Dosariyah Archaeological Project (DARP) under the direction of Dr. Philipp Drechsler (U. Tübingen). The excavations recovered a number of plaster fragments despite an overall lack of architectural features at the site. Many of the fragments have a characteristic morphology that includes impressions of plants, but the archaeological context revealed little information about the possible function of these materials. In this study – that included many researchers from the University of Tübingen – we employed a suite of analyses, including high-resolution 3D scanning, petrography, Fourier transform infrared spectrometry, micro x-ray fluorescence, and x-ray diffraction in order to describe the composition, morphology, production history, function and taphonomy of the samples. We propose that the plaster may have been used in the construction of some type of semi-submerged vessel, such as a boat or raft.


May 3

Speaker : Florent Rivals

Title: Evolutionary history of ungulates diet: high resolution studies of changes in feeding traits over time


May 10

Speaker: Debra Colarossi

May 17

Speaker: Ellery Frahm

Title: What Can Microscopic Magnetic Minerals Reveal About Palaeolithic Lifeways?


Strategies used by Neandertals and other archaic humans to collect stone for tools have played key roles in assessing their movements across the landscape, relationships with neighboring groups, and even cognitive abilities. New methods permit such behaviors to be examined in greater detail, allowing us to investigate movements through the landscape surrounding the sites of Lusakert Cave 1 and Nor Geghi 1 in Armenia. Measuring obsidian artifacts with techniques borrowed from rock magnetic characterization in the geological sciences permits us to test a series of hypotheses regarding the locations where archaic humans locally procured stone on a routine basis. Did they acquire obsidian from a favored outcrop or quarry, or did they collect it opportunisticallyduring the course of foraging activities? Our findings indicate the efficient exploitation of a diverse biome during time intervals immediately preceding major changes in stone tool technology throughout the wider region.


May 24

Panel discussion


June 30

Speaker: Elizabeth Nelson


June 21

Speaker: Barbara Zach

Title: Whats for eats? Archaeobotanical investigations from  Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in Bavaria

For thousands of years crops, more precisely domesticated plants, have been the basis of human nutrition. Food producing societies first emerged in the Levant region around 12.000 years ago.
Some of these first crops reached Europe in Neolithic times together with the knowledge of the associated techniques of cultivation and food processing.
The development of foraging and farming from the early Neolithic to the Bronze Age will be discussed through case studies of archaeobotanically investigated sites in Bavaria. Key points are that wheat species such as Emmer, Einkorn and naked wheat species dispersed in different ways while at Late Bronze Age sites a new crop, broomcorn millet, became important. Regional differences are of particular interest as they enable consideration of the possible interplay between environmental conditions and local human preferences.


June: 28

Speaker: Aurore Val

July 5

no talk

July 12

Speaker: Lukas Werther

July 19

Speaker: Jens Frick

July 26

no talk