W2 Professor and Lise Meitner Group Leader of the Pan African
Research Group, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

About Eleanor Scerri

I am an archaeological scientist interested in exploring the articulation between material culture, genetics and biogeography to further theoretical, methodological and scientific advances in the field of human evolution. I am an Associate Professor (W2) at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany where I am leader of the independent Lise Mietner Research Group on Pan-African Evolution.

I am also a senior faculty member of the International Max Planck Rsearch School at Freidrich Schiller University, Jena and a visiting fellow at the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford. Prior to my current position, I was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions fellow a the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, a British Academy Fellow at the University of Oxford and Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College, and a Fyssen Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Bordeaux. I obtained my PhD at the University of Southampton in 2013.

My research group combines primary fieldwork in West Africa with a range of different modelling approaches using palaeoecological and genetic data, in order to test different hypotheses about human evolution. I am also involved in fieldwork in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. My newest project will be based on the island of Malta.

My research includes:

  • The population structure of early Homo sapiens in Africa and intra-African dispersals
  • The origins and causes of cultural diversification in the African Middle Stone Age
  • The timing, number and character of early Homo sapiens dispersals out of Africa
  • Late evolutionary processes in the terminal Pleistocene/early Holocene of Africa in different biogeographic zones
  • The development of rapid and replicable methods of lithic analysis, producing data that can be combined with other sources of information

Photo Credit: Philipp Gunz

Photo Credit: John Cairns