Katerina Douka

Katerina Douka
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History · Department of Archaeology

DPhil (Oxon, 2011)

About

151
Publications
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Introduction
Katerina Douka is Group Leader at the Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and Principal Investigator of FINDER project.

Publications

Publications (151)
Article
The Riparo Mochi rock shelter, located on the Ligurian coast of Italy, is one of the most important early Upper Paleolithic sites on the Mediterranean rim. Its ∼10-m-deep stratigraphy comprises a Mousterian sequence, followed by various development stages of the Upper Paleolithic. A series of radiometric dates on marine shells bearing traces of hum...
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Homo sapiens was present in northern Asia by around 40,000 years ago, having replaced archaic populations across Eurasia after episodes of earlier population expansions and interbreeding1–4. Cultural adaptations of the last Neanderthals, the Denisovans and the incoming populations of H. sapiens into Asia remain unknown1,5–7. Here we describe Xiamab...
Article
Oceania is a key region for studying human dispersals, adaptations and interactions with other hominin populations. Although archaeological evidence now reveals occupation of the region by approximately 65–45 000 years ago, its human fossil record, which has the best potential to provide direct insights into ecological adaptations and population re...
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Determining the extent of overlap between modern humans and other hominins in Eurasia, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans, is fundamental to understanding the nature of their interactions and what led to the disappearance of archaic hominins. Apart from a possible sporadic pulse recorded in Greece during the Middle Pleistocene, the first settlemen...
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Since the initial identification of the Denisovans a decade ago, only a handful of their physical remains have been discovered. Here we analysed ~3,800 non-diagnostic bone fragments using collagen peptide mass fingerprinting to locate new hominin remains from Denisova Cave (Siberia, Russia). We identified five new hominin bones, four of which conta...
Article
Throughout the long history of the Funnel Beaker (TRB) culture in the region of modern Poland (4100–3100 BCE) we can observe how local farming communities interacted with the wild world and how deer species became an important ideological resource for the TRB people. Biomolecular and histomorphometric evidence from two archaeological sites in centr...
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This article reports on a new project to investigate the activities of early Homo sapiens in the area of the Chotts ‘megalake’ in southern Tunisia. Excavations in 2015 and 2019 at Oued el Akarit revealed one of a number of Middle Stone Age (MSA) horizons near the top of a long sequence of Upper Pleistocene deposits. The site identified as Oued el A...
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The development and dispersal of agropastoralism transformed the cultural and ecological landscapes of the Old World, but little is known about when or how this process first impacted Central Asia. Here, we present archaeological and biomolecular evidence from Obishir V in southern Kyrgyzstan, establishing the presence of domesticated sheep by ca....
Article
The use of glutamine deamidation has been controversially proposed as a means of measuring relative decay in archeological bones using peptide mass fingerprinting data. If reliable, it could be used to identify intrusive fossils in stratigraphic layers and relatively date unprovenanced remains. However, growing empirical evidence suggests that ther...
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The timing and dispersal routes of Homo sapiens (H. sapiens) into the Iranian Plateau have always been a matter of debate in the recent years. Current studies on the Upper Palaeolithic period of the Zagros mountains demonstrated the later colonisation of West-Central Zagros by H. sapiens based on techno-typological and radiocarbon dating. The Kerma...
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Denisova Cave, a Pleistocene site in the Altai Mountains of Russian Siberia, has yielded significant fossil and lithic evidence for the Pleistocene in Northern Asia. Abundant animal and human bones have been discovered at the site, however, these tend to be highly fragmented, necessitating new approaches to identifying important hominin and faunal...
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In this issue of Cell, Wang et al. harness ancient DNA methods to produce and analyze new genomic data from 31 individuals from South China, dated between 500 and 10,000–12,000 years ago. The study reveals a complex interplay between groups of three different genetic ancestries and provides a new perspective on interactions and agricultural dispers...
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Four excavations have been performed at the archaeological site of Cova Rosa (Asturias, Cantabrian Spain): three of them in the second half of last century and the other in this decade. Although little of the archaeological material found in those excavations has been published, here we attempt the stratigraphic correlation of sections revealed by...
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Assessing past foodways, subsistence strategies, and environments depends on the accurate identification of animals in the archaeological record. The high rates of fragmentation and often poor preservation of animal bones at many archaeological sites across sub-Saharan Africa have rendered archaeofaunal specimens unidentifiable beyond broad categor...
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The origin and evolution of hominin mortuary practices are topics of intense interest and debate1–3. Human burials dated to the Middle Stone Age (MSA) are exceedingly rare in Africa and unknown in East Africa1–6. Here we describe the partial skeleton of a roughly 2.5- to 3.0-year-old child dating to 78.3 ± 4.1 thousand years ago, which was recovere...
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The Kostenki-Borshchevo site complex (Voronezh region, Russia) serves as the foundation of Eastern Europe’s Upper Paleolithic chronocultural framework. Here we present new radiocarbon dates for three Kostenki sites. Dates of ∼27.5–27 ka BP for Kostenki 15 suggest that its archaeological layer accumulated over a short period. These results help to c...
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This paper describes the results of 2017—2020 fieldwork at the Upper Palaeolithic site of Kostenki 17 (Spitsynskaya). This work established the presence of five new horizons of finds, in addition to the two cultural layers known since the 1950s. Given the thickness of the Upper Humic Bed, it is clear that the horizons of finds are separated by ster...
Article
This paper describes the results of 2017—2020 fieldwork at the Upper Palaeolithic site of Kostenki 17 (Spitsynskaya). This work established the presence of five new horizons of finds, in addition to the two cultural layers known since the 1950s. Given the thickness of the Upper Humic Bed, it is clear that the horizons of finds are separated by ster...
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Kůlna Cave is the only site in Moravia, Czech Republic, from which large assemblages of both Magdalenian and Epimagdalenian archaeological materials have been excavated from relatively secure stratified deposits. The site therefore offers the unrivalled opportunity to explore the relationship between these two archaeological phases. In this study,...
Article
Collagen peptide mass fingerprinting, best known as Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (or ZooMS) when applied to archaeology, has become invaluable for the taxonomic identification of archaeological collagenous materials, in particular fragmentary and modified bone remains. Prior to MALDI-based spectrometric analysis, collagen needs to be extract...
Article
Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) is rapidly becoming a staple in archaeological and cultural heritage science. Developed a decade ago, this peptide mass fingerprinting technique is expanding from a small group of researchers mainly involved in method development to a broader group of scientists using it as another tool in their toolboxes...
Article
The Early Upper Palaeolithic bone industry of the Central Altai, Russia: new evidence from the Kara-Bom site - Natalia E. Belousova, Alexander Yu. Fedorchenko, Evgeny P. Rybin, Maxim V. Seletskiy, Samantha Brown, Katerina Douka, Tom Higham
Article
The Pamir plateau is one of the highest mountain systems in the world, presenting a highly challenging environment for human occupation. During the Soviet era, researchers discovered several stratified archaeological sites in the Pamir zone – including the Oshhona site, which yielded a large collection of lithic artefacts and personal ornaments mad...
Article
Abri Pataud (France) is the type site in studies focusing on the appearance of modern humans and the development of classic Upper Paleolithic technocomplexes in Europe. It contains important evidence of successful adaptation strategies of modern humans to new territories and in response to sharply changing climatic conditions that characterized Mar...
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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Identifying and tackling recrystallization is a critical factor in the reliable radiocarbon ( ¹⁴ C) dating of carbonates, since exogenous carbon can be incorporated and thus mask the real age of the samples. Vermetids are among the most important bioindicators used for paleo sea-level reconstruction, and the accuracy of their chronology can signifi...
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Sri Lanka has produced the earliest clear evidence for Homo sapiens fossils in South Asia and research in the region has provided important insights into modern human adaptations and cultural practices during the last ca. 45,000 years. However, in-depth multidisciplinary analyses of Late Pleistocene and Holocene sequences remain limited to just two...
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While classic models for the emergence of pastoral groups in Inner Asia describe mounted, horse-borne herders sweeping across the Eurasian Steppes during the Early or Middle Bronze Age (ca. 3000–1500 BCE), the actual economic basis of many early pastoral societies in the region is poorly characterized. In this paper, we use collagen mass fingerprin...
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p class="BasicParagraph"> We have dated human bone, freshwater shell, charcoal and rice grains from key sites in mainland Southeast Asia in order to establish the chronological scaffolding for later prehistory (ca 2500 BC-AD 500). In a recent report on the metal remains from the site of Ban Chiang, however, this chronology has been challenged. Here...
Article
El Cierro Cave possesses one of the few sequences in SW Europe in which archaeological levels cover the transition from the late Pleistocene to the early Holocene. Information contributed by the palynological and anthracological studies indicates that this transition was marked by a steady expansion of broadleaf woodland and a reduction in herbaceo...
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Microliths–small, retouched, often-backed stone tools–are often interpreted to be the product of composite tools, including projectile weapons, and efficient hunting strategies by modern humans. In Europe and Africa these lithic toolkits are linked to hunting of medium- and large-sized game found in grassland or woodland settings, or as adaptations...
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By sequencing 523 ancient humans, we show that the primary source of ancestry in modern South Asians is a prehistoric genetic gradient between people related to early hunter-gatherers of Iran and Southeast Asia. After the Indus Valley Civilization’s decline, its people mixed with individuals in the southeast to form one of the two main ancestral po...
Presentation
Asitau Kuru rockshelter, also known as Jerimalai, is a coastal archaeological site located in Timor-Leste with a stratigraphic filling of eight layers spanning from 42,000 BP to 4,000 BP. This site is important for understanding Southeast Asian island prehistory, and in particular Homo sapiens use of fishing technology, due to the earliest evidence...
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Hafting of stone tools was an important advance in the technology of the Paleolithic. Evidence of hafting in the Middle Paleolithic is growing and is not limited to points hafted on spears for thrusting or throwing. This article describes the identification of adhesive used for hafting on a variety of stone tools from two Middle Paleolithic caves i...
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During the past decade, over 3000 shell middens or shell matrix deposits have been discovered on the Farasan Islands in the southern Red Sea, dating to the period c. 7,360 to 4,700 years ago. Many of the sites are distributed along a palaeoshoreline which is now 2–3 m above present sea level. Others form clusters with some sites on the shoreline an...
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Defining the distinctive capacities of Homo sapiens relative to other hominins is a major focus for human evolutionary studies. It has been argued that the procurement of small, difficult-to-catch, agile prey is a hallmark of complex behavior unique to our species; however, most research in this regard has been limited to the last 20,000 years in E...
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The FINDER project aims to apply ZooMS to identify new hominin fossils from across large parts of Eurasia previously lacking in such evidence.
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Radiocarbon dates from Spain put anatomically modern humans in southernmost Europe 10,000 years earlier than previously thought, diminishing the case for late survival of Neanderthals in the region.
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Bayesian modelling of chronometric, stratigraphic and genetic data from Denisova Cave provides a chronological framework for understanding Neanderthal and Denisovan presence at the site, as well as interactions between these groups.
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The Silk Road was an important trade route that channeled trade goods, people, plants, animals, and ideas across the continental interior of Eurasia, fueling biotic exchange and key social developments across the Old World. Nestled between the Pamir and Alay ranges at a baseline elevation of nearly 3000m, Kyrgyzstan’s high Alay Valley forms a wide...
Data
(Table A) Diagnostic peptide markers and taxonomic identifications by specimen. (Text A) Technical details for MALDI-TOF ZooMS analysis. (DOCX)
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New evidence from archaeological investigations in north-east Thailand shows a transition in rice farming towards wetland cultivation that would have facilitated greater yields and surpluses. This evidence, combined with new dates and palaeoclimatic data, suggests that this transition took place in the Iron Age, at a time of increasingly arid clima...
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Neanderthals and Denisovans are extinct groups of hominins that separated from each other more than 390,000 years ago1,2. Here we present the genome of 'Denisova 11', a bone fragment from Denisova Cave (Russia)3 and show that it comes from an individual who had a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. The father, whose genome bears traces of Ne...
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The Uluzzian techno-complex is commonly considered to be a "transitional industry" mostly on the basis of some inferred characteristics such as a chiefly flake-based production, a small amount of Upper Palaeolithic-like tools and a combination of Middle and Upper Palaeolithic elements both in the toolkit and in the technical systems. Following its...
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The originally published version of this Article contained an error in Fig. 3, whereby an additional unrelated graph was overlaid on top of the magnetic susceptibility plot. Furthermore, the Article title contained an error in the capitalisation of 'Stone Age'. Both of these errors have now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Ar...
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The Middle to Later Stone Age transition in Africa has been debated as a significant shift in human technological, cultural, and cognitive evolution. However, the majority of research on this transition is currently focused on southern Africa due to a lack of long-term, stratified sites across much of the African continent. Here, we report a 78,000...