Research Detail

Luminescence geochronology

The most recent geological past – the last ~100.000 years – is a time period characterized by climatic upheaval, brief warm episodes and the spread of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) across the face of the Earth. How our species colonised the opposite ends of all continents and managed to survive even in the most extreme environments, and the roles of Quaternary palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental changes in this colonisation process remain hottly debated topics in current (geo)archaeological research.

Reliably dated palaeoenvironmental and climate records that link-in directly with archaeological sites are key for an accurate reconstruction of human-environmental interrelationships. We use luminescence dating techniques (in particular single-grain OSL dating) to constrain the depositional age of archaeological sediments and generate complementary high-resolution proxy records of climate and environmental change (e.g., from U-Th dated spring-carbonates and/or speleothems). By integrating archaeological, palaeoclimatic and palaeoecological records into one interdisciplinary approach and via state-of-the-art analytical techniques we address topics as diverse as human evolution and genetic adaptation, climate and landscape change, and methodological improvements to modern Quaternary dating techniques.



Current projects

High and dry

This project investigates the climate, landscape and archaeological history of the upper Tibetan Plateau between 50 and 11 ka, the period when Homo sapiens first ventured into oxygen-depleted centre of High Asia.

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Out in the open

The project will use existing and recently developed OSL methods in novel ways in order to date the use of lithic quarries, the construction of stone arrangements and the accumulation of surface artefact scatters.

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Vindija Cave

We use single-grain OSL techniques to construct an accurate OSL chronology for the cave-mouth sediments at Vindija Cave, a key site for the study of the Middle and the early Upper Palaeolithic of Europe.

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