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

 My key research themes are:

  • The population structure of early Homo sapiens in Africa and intra-African dispersals
  • Pleistocene West Africa and the role of rainforests in human evolution
  • Early Homo sapiens dispersals out of Africa
  • The expansion of the human niche
  • The evolutionary and behavioural context of human diseases and transmission patterns
  • Late evolutionary processes in the terminal Pleistocene/early Holocene 
  • Long term processes of ecosystem resilience in human dominated landscapes
  • Island biogeography and impacts of human colonisation
  • The development of rapid and replicable methods of lithic analysis, producing data that can be combined with other sources of information

Please see my Publications page where I list 60+ publications covering these topics. Following tenure confirmation in 2022, I moved to consolidate my research groups into a single, large research group named the Human Palaeosystems Group, launched in 2023.

Apart from my position at the Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology, I am also an affiliated Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and Archaeology at the University of Malta, my alma mater, and Reader in the Department of Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Cologne. Prior to my current position, I was the 'Lise Meitner' group leader, a tenure track position won by open competition through the Max Planck Society's flagship Lise Meitner Excellence Programme. Before this, I held a number of independent postdoctoral fellowships, also won by open competition, including a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, a British Academy Fellowship at the University of Oxford with a Junior Research Fellowship at Jesus College, and a Fyssen Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Bordeaux. I obtained my PhD at the University of Southampton in 2013. I am Associate Editor of a number of journals, including Quaternary Environments and Humans, Open Quaternary, and Journal of African Archaeology. 

Photo Credit: Philipp Gunz

Photo Credit: John Cairns