Institute for Archaeological Sciences
Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoenvironments
Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen
Rümelinstrasse 23


Consulting hours: by arrangement


Tsenka Tsanova is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Department of Paleoanthropology. Her research focuses mainly on the stone technologies of the Late Pleistocene and the time of replacement of the native Neanderthal populations by Homo sapiens in SE Europe. Dr. Tsanova's PhD work (2006) contributed to the understanding of the early Homo sapiens stone technologies from the onset of the Upper Paleolithic of three landmark Bulgarian Paleolithic sites (Bacho Kiro, Temnata and Kozarnika caves) and the links with the known synchronous technological traditions of the Levant, Central Europe and the northern Mediterranean perimeter. Furthermore, she analyzed assemblages from the Middle, the Near East and South Africa for investigate the dynamics of the stone technologies and their evolution as a respond of the human adaptation.

Dr. Tsanova co-directs a Paleolithic excavation in Bacho Kiro Cave in Central North Bulgaria and coordinates the multidisciplinary research since 2015.

One of the goals of Dr. Tsanova`s research is to find more evidence of the interactions between Neanderthal and Homo sapiens by applying a set of innovative standard approaches of excavations and various analytical approaches of analysis.

Academic and professional trajectory

Post-doctoral researcher

Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoecology, Paläoanthropologie

Field co-director, project manager, coordinator or multidisciplinary research

Research project: “Settlement of Homo sapiens in Central North Bulgaria, chronostratigraphy and Pleistocene paleoenviroment in the context of the Lower Danube valley”, cooperation between National Archeological Institute with Museum (NAIM), Sofia and the Department of Human Evolution, MPI-EVA, Leipzig

Post-doctoral researcher

Department of Human Evolution, MPI-EVA, Leipzig

Delegate for Paleolithic research in Bulgaria

Union international des sciences prehistoriques et protohistoriques (UISPP), Commission 8 Upper Paleolithic in Eurasia

Post-doctoral researcher

Anthropology Department, the Field Museum for Natural History, Chicago, Illinois

Field co-director, project manager, coordinator multidisciplinary research

East Balkan Paleolithic Project: Palaeolithic cultures and Pleistocene paleoenvironment in Bulgaria in the context of Middle and Lower Danube regions. Scientific cooperation between National Archeological Institute with Museum (NAIM), Sofia and the Department of Human Evolution, MPI-EVA, Leipzig

Post-doctoral researcher

Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA), Leipzig

Post-doctoral researcher

Department of Anthropology University of Yale, Connecticut

Post-doctoral researcher

Anthropology Department, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

PhD in Prehistory and Quaternary Geology

Institute of Prehistory and Quaternary Geology, University of Bordeaux 1

M.A. in Physical Anthropology and Prehistory

Institute of Prehistory and Quaternary Geology, University of Bordeaux 1

M.A. in Archaeology

New Bulgarian University, Sofia

Selected Publications

Tsanova, T., Veres, D., Hambach, U., Spasov, R., Dimitrova, I., Popov, P., Talamo, S., and Sirakova, S., 2021, Upper Palaeolithic layers and Campanian Ignimbrite/Y-5 tephra in Toplitsa cave, Northern Bulgaria: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, v. 37, p. 102912.

Hublin, J.-J., Sirakov, N., Aldeias, V., Bailey, S., Delvigne, V., Endarova, E., Fewlass, H., Hajdinjak, M., Krumov, I., Marreiros, J., Martisius, N., Sinet-Mathiot, V., Meyer, M., Popov, V., Sirakova, S., Smith, G., Spasov, R., Režek, Ž., Talamo, S., Welker, F., Wilcke, A., Nikolay Zahariev, McPherron, S. P., and Tsanova, Ts., 2020, `Initial Upper Palaeolithic Homo sapiens remains from Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria.` Nature, 581(7808), 1-4. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2259-z

Fewlass, H., Talamo, S., Wacker, L., Kromer, B., Tuna, T., Fagault, Y., Bard, E., McPherron, S. P., Aldeias, V., Maria, R., Martisius, N. L., Paskulin, L., Rezek, Z., Sinet-Mathiot, V., Sirakova, S., Smith, G. M., Spasov, R., Welker, F., Sirakov, N., Tsanova, Ts., and Hublin, J.-J., 2020. `A 14C chronology for the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition at Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria`, Nature Ecology & Evolution, 4(6), 794-801. DOI: 10.1038/s41559-020-1136-3.

Tsanova, Ts., 2013. The beginning of the Upper Paleolithic in the Iranian Zagros. A taphonomic approach and techno-economic comparison of Early Baradostian assemblages from Warwasi and Yafteh (Iran), Journal of Human evolution 65: 39-64.

Tsanova, Ts., Zwyns, N., Eizenberg, L., Teyssandier, N., Le Brun-Ricalens, F. and M. Otte, 2012. Le plus petit dénominateur commun: réflexion sur la variabilité des ensembles lamellaires du Paléolithique supérieur ancien d’Eurasie. Un bilan autour des exemples de Kozarnika (Est des Balkans) et Yafteh (Zagros central). L'Anthropologie. 116(4):469-509.