Mareike Stahlschmidt

Mareike Stahlschmidt
University of Vienna | UniWien · Department of Anthropology

Dr.

About

44
Publications
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Introduction
I am a geoarchaeogist interested in site formation and human behavior such as fire use or architecture. Sediments and sedimentary features are my preferred archive and microcontextual analysis my preferred tool. I focus on the Paleolithic and Stone Age but also more recent periods, up to early urbanization. Bit of work on non-traditional archives for ancient DNA as well.

Publications

Publications (44)
Article
Full-text available
Footpaths are of the oldest and most widely distributed forms of human imprint on the landscape. These elongated features are the result of continuous usage of a certain route for walking, at time scales ranging from days to centuries or millennia. In this qualitative investigation, we take a holistic approach combining micromorphology (including v...
Article
Full-text available
The resilience of Neanderthals towards changing climatic and environmental conditions, and especially towards severely cold climates in northern regions of central Europe, is still under debate. One way to address this is to investigate multi-layered occupation in different climatic intervals, using independently-compiled paleoenvironmental and chr...
Poster
Full-text available
Frost-weathering is another type of taphonomic mechanism that relocate artifacts from the archaeological contexts, change original color of flakes, and develop microcracks inside flakes. Except for a few studies that have discussed the impact of frost-weathering on natural rocks and stone tools, controlling the effects of frost weathering processes...
Article
Full-text available
Africa’s Middle Stone Age preserves sporadic evidence for novel behaviours among early modern humans, prompting a range of questions about the influence of social and environmental factors on patterns of human behavioural evolution. Here we document a suite of novel adaptations dating approximately 92–80 thousand years before the present at the arc...
Article
Full-text available
Here we present the results of a targeted drilling campaign that facilitated a geochronological study with coarse sampling resolution inside a new cave site, Simons Cave, on the west coast of southern Africa. A combination of radiocarbon (¹⁴C) dating and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating was used as a range-finder. Results confirmed pr...
Article
Full-text available
Ancient DNA recovered from Pleistocene sediments represents a rich resource for the study of past hominin and environmental diversity. However, little is known about how DNA is preserved in sediments and the extent to which it may be translocated between archaeological strata. Here, we investigate DNA preservation in 47 blocks of resin-impregnated...
Chapter
The ability to make and use fire can be considered as a behavioural threshold in human evolution. The aim of this chapter is to present an overview of the research on fire among Neanderthals. We compiled and reviewed the archaeological evidence and scientific studies on the topic, including different methodological approaches, theoretical considera...
Article
Cave sediments have been shown to preserve ancient DNA but so far have not yielded the genome-scale information of skeletal remains. We retrieved and analyzed human and mammalian nuclear and mitochondrial environmental “shotgun” genomes from a single 25,000-year-old Upper Paleolithic sediment sample from Satsurblia cave, western Georgia:first, a hu...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeological research of late Pleistocene sites in northeastern Brazil has rarely analyzed site formation processes from a geoarchaeological perspective. This has contributed to the long-held debate over the reliability of Pleistocene ages and the anthropic origin of stone tools and combustion features. In this work, we combine high-resolution ge...
Preprint
Full-text available
Evidence for complex behaviours appears sporadically through the Middle Stone Age of Africa, leaving unclear the major factors shaping the evolution of human behaviour. Here we present evidence for a novel suite of adaptations in the arid Knersvlake region of southern Africa that were deployed during a specific set of environmental conditions datin...
Article
Full-text available
Hearths present sedimentary features, artifacts, and direct evidence for maintained and controlled fire in the past. The use of hearths reflects regular access to fire and its diverse benefits. Among these benefits are cooked food, protection from the cold and from predators, and fire’s transformative power regarding raw materials. Hearths may have...
Article
Full-text available
Research interest in patterns of cultural transmission in the southern African Palaeolithic is complicated by poor resolution of site occupation, technological behaviour, and underlying environmental conditions. Here, we describe the Pleistocene Later Stone Age sequence from Klipfonteinrand rock shelter, dating 22.3–13.4 ka, in light of local and r...
Article
Full-text available
The site of Uichteritz (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) is a Quaternary gravel quarry hosting several Middle-Pleistocene fluvial units of the Saale River. This fluvial archive contains detailed information on (1) the timing of Middle Pleistocene fluvial aggradation and erosion periods in the region, (2) the driving forces for those alternations, as well as...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last two decades, much of the recent efforts dedicated to the Levantine Middle Paleolithic has concentrated on the role of open-air sites in the settlement system in the region. Here focus on the site of 'Ein Qashish as a cases study. Located in present-day northern Israel, the area of this site is estimated to have been >1300 m 2 , of whi...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last two decades, much of the recent efforts dedicated to the Levantine Middle Paleolithic has concentrated on the role of open-air sites in the settlement system in the region. Here focus on the site of 'Ein Qashish as a cases study. Located in present-day northern Israel, the area of this site is estimated to have been >1300 m 2 , of whi...
Article
Full-text available
Metagenomic analysis is a highly promising technique in paleogenetic research that allows analysis of the complete genomic make-up of a sample. This technique has successfully been employed to archaeological sediments, but possible leaching of DNA through the sequence limits interpretation. We applied this technique to the analysis of ancient DNA (...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeological investigations undertaken by the Proyecto Arqueológico Tlajinga Teotihuacán are focused on understanding urban expansion and household economies in this southern district of the city. Our geoarchaeological research addresses similar topics through examination of relevant microstratigraphic and botanical signatures as well as those re...
Conference Paper
Ancient DNA (aDNA) studies typically focus on physical remains, a limitation in archaeological contexts with poor preservation. As a novel means to explore sustenance and lifestyle patterns, metagenomic biomarkers are examined from anthropogenic sediments excavated from two archaeological sites: Drumclay Crannog, Northern Ireland (1600- 1100BP) and...
Article
Full-text available
‘Ein Qashish is a Middle Palaeolithic open-air site in the southern Levant, encompassing an excavated area of several hundred square meters and a 4.5-m thick stratigraphic section. Its placement within a fluvial system, combined with the presence of Neanderthal skeletal remains and diverse material culture finds, presents possibilities for understa...
Conference Paper
Ancient DNA (aDNA) studies traditionally focus on skeletal remains, a limitation in archaeological, environmental and forensic contexts with poor preservation. Here we present and discuss a novel extraction protocol which aims to detect metagenomic biomarkers within anthropogenic sediment and its application to the metagenomics of sediment samples...
Article
Full-text available
The late Middle Palaeolithic (MP) settlement patterns in the Levant included the repeated use of caves and open landscape sites. The fossil record shows that two types of hominins occupied the region during this period—Neandertals and Homo sapiens. Until recently, diagnostic fossil remains were found only at cave sites. Because the two populations...
Article
Geoarchaeological research at Baaz Rockshelter focuses on reconstructing geogenic and anthropogenic formation processes at the site and examining post-depositional alterations of the archaeological record. Baaz is set in a rockshelter at the base of a limestone cliff and its archaeological sequence includes seven layers documenting the repeated use...
Article
Full-text available
Southern Africa presents the best-documented Middle and Later Stone Age (MSA and LSA) records in Africa, and yet significant uncertainties still exist concerning the sequence and timing of behavioral and occupational changes in the region. A recent surge in research has provided a suite of new results that indicate more intricate and complex patter...
Article
Full-text available
Geoarchaeological research at the Middle Pleistocene site of Schöningen 13 II-4, often referred to as the Speerhorizont, has focused on describing and evaluating the depositional contexts of the well-known wooden spears, butchered horses, and stone tools. These finds were recovered from the transitional contact between a lacustrine marl and an over...
Article
Changing river courses and fluctuations of the water table were some of the most fundamental environmental changes that humans faced during the Late Glacial, particularly as these changes affected areas intensively used for set-tlement and resource exploitation. Unfortunately, only a few stratigraphies have been documented in the North European pla...

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Projects

Projects (5)
Project
Diversity in human landscape use during the MSA from the perspective of strategic vs. opportunistic behavior.
Project
UISPP Commission Pyroarchaeology Fire plays a central role in many technological, behavioural, and social aspects of the human past. Despite its significance, the remains of fire themselves are often overlooked or are subsumed under other areas of research. This commission recognizes that recent methodological advances over the past decade have greatly improved our ability to study fire remains as artefacts in their own right. Therefore, the aims of the commission are to 1) promote research pertaining to human interaction with fire; 2) provide a platform for the exchange of ideas between various specialists working on the topic from a range of methodological and theoretical perspectives and different time periods; 3) to establish links between methodological techniques and broader theoretical debates about the origins and nature of fire-related behaviour; and 4) to promote the interaction between researchers studying fire remains in the Paleolithic and those focusing on later time periods. We will regularly post updates about sessions/conferences organized by this commission, starting with Call for Papers XVIII UISPP congress, Paris, 4 - 9 June, 2018 Session IV-4: Fire as an artifact: Advances in the study of Paleolithic combustion features Carolina Mallol (1,2), Christopher Miller (3), Mareike Stahlschmidt (4) (1) Departamento de Geografía e Historia, Universidad de La Laguna (ULL) – Facultad de Geografía e Historia, 2a planta Campus de Guajara s/n, 38071 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain, Espagne (2) Instituto de Bio-orgánica Antonio González (IUBO) – av Avenida Astrofísico Francisco Sánchez, 2 38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain, Espagne (3) Urgeschichte und Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie, Abt. Geoarchäologie, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen – Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen Urgeschichte und Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie, Abt. Geoarchäologie Rümelinstrasse 23 72070 Tübingen, Allemagne (4) University College Dublin, School of Archaeology (UCD) – University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4 Irelande Research on Paleolithic combustion features is often motivated by the key role fire played throughout the course of human evolution. Thus, research is usually focused on the identification of early evidence for fire use. In this session, we would like to bring to light the great potential of Palaeolithic combustion features as transmitters of behavioral and paleoenvironmental information. First, fireplaces are anthropogenic features and as such, they are artifacts. Their study allows us to approach aspects of technology, subsistence, domestic activities and other behaviors. Second, the geoarchaeological record shows that most Palaeolithic fireplaces were made directly on the ground, thereby leaving charred traces of residues derived from human activity, as well as of soils and vegetation from the natural surroundings. From this perspective, archaeological combustion features have the potential to provide true snapshots of the past and enrich our knowledge of Palaeolithic societies. We invite researchers working on Palaeolithic combustion features from any time period and from different archaeological subdisciplines (geoarchaeology, paleoecology, archaeomagnetism, archaeological chemistry, zooarchaeology, lithic technology and others) to present their data in this session as a way to bring forward and promote the inter- disciplinary study of Paleolithic fire.