Who We Are

Group Leader

Research Scientists

Susan M. Mentzer, PhD

I am a geoarchaeologist with a specialization in micromorphological analysis of sediment produced by humans and animals. I have particular interest in the integration of micromorphology with other microanalytical approaches such as micro-FTIR and micro-XRF. I apply this approach to a variety of different types of archaeological sites including Paleolithic and Stone Age caves and rockshelters and Neolithic tells, as well as archaeological and experimental materials, such as plaster and wood ash. I teach topical courses on Anthropogenic Deposits and Site Formation Processes, and methodological courses on Stratigraphy, Archaeological Micromorphology and Microanalytics. Along with many other members of the INA, I work within the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment. I am currently an Associate Editor for the journal Geoarchaeology ...see full page

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Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr. Aristeidis Varis

Aristeidis Varis specializes in archaeology and geosciences with broad interests in human-environmental interactions, site formation processes, and landscape evolution. He now focuses on the geoarchaeology of human dispersals in Central Asia and the formation processes of caves, springs, and loess sites. He combines geoarchaeological fieldwork with micromorphological, geochemical, and standard sedimentological analyses.

After studying geoarchaeology in the University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and University College London (UK), he received his PhD from the University of Tübingen (2022). In his thesis, he demonstrated how geoarchaeological processes might result in the formation of a low-density record on the landscape and site-scale ...see full page

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Dr. Diana Marcazzan

Fire has always been considered a crucial factor in the human evolution and its discovery and control have yielded significant changes in the cultural, behavioral and technological sphere. However, the individuation of combustion tracks is not simple and, given the ambiguous and labile nature of the fireplace, it becomes more complex inside the Paleolithic sites; especially when it must connect the combustion tracks to the human activities. This issue often leads archaeologists to consider the burnt material as indirect evidence of combustion features within sites. Nevertheless, the presence of heat-altered remains is not enough to confirm the use of fire by the human and researchers must exploit other investigative techniques. The goal of this project is to use microcontextual analysis to reconstruct the behavioral strategies adopted and the use of space by prehistoric populations from the Middle to Upper Paleolithic ...see full page

Dr. Lucia Leierer

I am a postdoctoral researcher with the main interest in studying combustion features. My research focuses on micro-geoarchaeological approaches to understand past human behavior in relation with their fireplaces. To study these features, I mainly focus on the methods of micromorphology and lipid biomarker analysis. The main time periods I’m interested in is the general Paleolithic in Europe and classical Greece and Rome. 

After studying geoarchaeology in my Bachelors (Trier, Germany) and Masters (Tübingen, Germany) I received my doctorate from the University of La Laguna (Spain), working on Middle Paleolithic combustion features at the site of El Salt (Spain). ...see full page

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PhD Students

Daniela Matos

Daniela de Matos specializes in archeology and geosciences with broad interests in human adaptation, subsistence and material culture, site formation processes and paleolandscapes. Her recent work focuses on the Quaternary deposits of the Humpata Caves at the highlands of Southwestern Angola and reconstructing human-environment dynamics during the Pleistocene and early Holocene in Africa.


... see full profile

Sarah Meinekat

I am a PhD candidate in the Geoarchaeology Working Group at the University of Tübingen, supervised by Christopher Miller (University of Tübingen) and Kurt Rademaker (Michigan State University). My research interests include high altitude hunter-gatherer adaptations and settlement systems. For my PhD project, I am applying a geoarchaeological approach to study the site formation processes of several sites in the Central Andes of Peru, including coastal and high-altitude settings, as part of the PaleoAndes project. ...see full page

Scott McLin

Profile coming soon! We apologize for the inconvenience

Laboratory Staff

Panagiotis Kritikakis

I currently work as the primary laboratory manager for the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment (SHEP) and the Geoarchaeology Working Group in the Institute for Archaeological Sciences (INA) at the University of Tübingen, under Prof. Dr. Christopher Miller. I focus on the creation of micromorphological thin sections in laboratory of soil science and geoecology for projects throughout the world, including a variety of excavations in Africa, South America, and Europe. I am also the lecturer in the Department of Geoarchaeology for the course “Laboratory Techniques in Geoarchaeology and Micromorphology,” providing hands-on, practical training in the creation of micromorphological thin sections to students of all levels. In collaboration with other members of the Geoarchaeology Working Group, I offer certification in these specialized laboratory methods to international researchers, students, and other archaeological professionals ...see full page

Other Staff

Sonia Varandas

Secretary for the Institute of Archaeological Sciences (INA)

Office: S523, Hölderlinstraße 12
72074 Tübingen, Germany

Senior Affiliated Researchers

Prof. Dr. Paul Goldberg

Senior Visiting Professor

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Dr. Bertrand Ligouis

Laboratory Director for Organic Petrology

> Organic petrology and coal geology
> Organic petrology applications in archaeology, soil science, and environmental problems
> Coal facies in relation to coal forming environments
> Formation of organic-rich sedimentary rocks
> Thermal history of sedimentary basins

...see full profile

Current Master's Students

Aspen Cooper Micromorphology and microanalysis of combustion features from Kebara Cave
Ani Hristonova Investigating past metallurgical practices through geoarchaeological techniques



(dates) Dr. Kristen Wroth

Postdoctoral Researcher

(dates) Dr. Shira Gur-Arieh

Affiliated Researcher

  • Now a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archeology and Provincial Roman Archeology at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Germany
(dates) Dr. Michael Toffolo

Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow

(dates) Dr. Magnus Haaland

Affiliated Researcher

  • Now Manager at the University of Stavanger's Archaeological Museum Collection Department, in Norway
(dates) Dr. Arantzazu Jindriska

Postdoctoral Researcher

2014 - 2015

Prof. Dr. Ximena Villagran Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow
2014 Dr. David Friesem Teaching Fellow

Completed Doctoral Dissertations

2023 Daniela de Matos Geoarchaeological Investigations in Southwestern Angola: macro- and micro-scale approaches to the Middle And Late Pleistocene of Leba Cave
2022 Flora Schilt Geoarchaeological investigations of Late Pleistocene environments in Austria and northern Malawi
2022 Diana Marcazzan Fire and beyond: a geoarchaeological analysis of the anthropogenic features from Fumane Cave (NE Italy) and Hohle Fels (SW Germany)
2022 Aristeidis Varis The effect of formation processes in Palaeolithic settlement patterns: insights from south Kazakhstan and the Swabian Jura, Germany
2022 Jacopo Cerasoni Hominin Behaviour and Palaeoenvironments of Pleistocene West Africa
2018 Magnus Mathisen Haaland Geoarchaeological and microcontextual investigations of Middle Stone Age occupation deposits at Blombos Cave, South Africa (University of Bergen)
2017 Alvise Barbieri Landscape changes, cave site formation and human occupation during the Late Pleistocene: a geoarchaeological study from the Ach and Lone valleys (Swabian Jura, SW Germany)
2014 Mareike Stahlschmidt

Mikromorphologische Untersuchungen zur Fundplatzgenese an den Fundstellen Schöningen, Grabow, und Blätterhöhle, Deutschland, und der Fundstelle Varsche Rivier 003, Südafrika

  • Now a Group Leader at the Department for Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Vienna

Completed Masters Theses

2020 Ada Dinçkal Geoarchaeological Investigations at the site of Diepkloof Rockshelter (DRS), South Africa
2020 Enrique Fernández-Palacios Approaching formation processes at the aboriginal site of Belmaco Cave (La Palma, Canary Islands) through the combined use of soil micromorphology and lipid biomarkers
2020 Johannes Seidler The life of a kiln – Micromorphological and archaeometric analysis of a neo-assyrian pyrotechnological installation
2020 Muhammad Awais Qarni An experimental Geoarchaeological Investigation of Pyrotechnological Installations used in Ceramic Production
2018 Ann-Katrin Schmidt Micromorphology of a Germanic grave from Pförring, Germany
2017 Sarah Meinekat A geoarchaeological investigation of the site formation processes of Cuncaicha Rockshelter, Peru
2017 Döbereiner Chala-Aldana Assessment of mobility and highland occupation strategies during the Early Holocene at the Cuncaicha Rock Shelter through Strontium and Oxygen Isotopes
2016 Lucia Leierer Site formation processes in urban Corinth, Greece—a micromorphological approach
2015 Karin Bihler Nachweis Neolithischer Siedlungsplätze durch geophysikalische Prospektion im schwäbischen Teil Bayerns
2014 Peter Kloos Geoarchaeological investigations of sediment peels from Rose Cottage Cave, South Africa
2014 Alessandra Zanoni Using micromorphology and microfacies analysis to understand the settlement history of the aceramic tell of Chogha Golan, Ilam Provice, Iran
2014 Matthias Göden Geoarchäologische Untersuchungen zur Fundplatzgenese von Hoedjiespunt 1, Western Cape, Südafrika
2014 Markus Seil Untersuchungen an Putzstücken, Fundstelle Dosariyah, Saudi-Arabien
2012 Christoph Wißing Geoarchäologische Untersuchungen in Germolles
2011 Flora Schilt Micromorphology of Upper Paleolithic and Historic sediments from Boof Cave, Iran