I have been a student of Archaeology since 1989 and a director of Palaeolithic archaeological excavations in Eurasia since 1995. My knowledge of Palaeolithic Archaeology has been gained through study and research at the University of Connecticut, the Forschungsinstitut für Vor- und Frühgeschichte in Neuwied, Germany, the Institute für Ur- und Frühgeschichte at the Universität Tübingen, Germany, and Harvard University. Experiences at these institutions fostered my interests in human behavioral ecology, human evolution, lithic technology, zooarchaeology, chronometric dating, Neanderthal-modern human interactions, and the factors contributing to the demise of the Neanderthals.
In 1992, I began Palaeolithic research in Europe, the Middle East, and the Caucasus, and between 1995–2006 I co-directed four interdisciplinary research projects in the Georgian Republic: Akhalkalaki, Ortvale Klde, the Mashavera Gorge Palaeolithic Project, and the Pinavera site. Each project focused on the documentation and dating of Middle and Upper Palaeolithic sites and the testing of various hominin behavioral hypotheses.
Since 2008, I have been engaged in Palaeolithic research in Armenia, specifically within and surrounding the Hrazdan Gorge. Through a combination of survey and excavation my interdisciplinary research team has identified and conducted excavations at a variety of new Palaeolithic localities. Our efforts have focused on Nor Geghi 1 and Lusakert Cave, sites that document hominin activities in the region during the late Middle Pleistocene and the Upper Pleistocene, respectively. In addition, we have investigated a variety of other Paleolithic sites including Alapars 1, Hatis 1, Solak, and Khaghsi. Extensive geoarchaological mapping and dating of various lavas/basalts and alluvial and lacustrine deposits in the Hrazdan Gorge has been carried out by a team lead by Keith Wilkinson (Univ. Winchester) through a grant provided by the Leverhulme Trust (https://www.winchester.ac.uk/about-us/leadership-and-governance/staff-directory/staff-profiles/wilkinson.php). Work in the region is ongoing with new sites and geological localities being discovered and investigated each summer.
Excavations at these and other sites in Armenia are conducted in tandem with an archaeological field school run through UConn’s Office of Education Abroad (http://studyabroad.uconn.edu) and supported by UConn’s Norian Armenian Programs Committee (http://armenia.uconn.edu) and a variety of external sources.
Recent and current collaborators include:
K. Wilkinson, Jenni Sherriff, Rhys Timms (Winchester University, UK); Monika Knul (University of Bournemouth, UK); Y. Henk (University of Leiden, Netherlands); S. Blockley, S. Armitage, A. MacLeod, V. Lukich and P. Griffith (Royal Holloway University London, UK); D. Mark and Katie Preece (Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, SUERC); V. Slon and M. Meyer (MPI, Leipzig, Germany); B. Schmidt-Magee, P. Glauberman, A. Brittingham, Jayson Gill, G. Hartman, and M. Hren (University of Connecticut, USA); B. Yeritsyan, S. Nahapetyan and B. Gasparian (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Armenia); K. Meliksetian and D. Arakelyan (Institute of Geological Sciences, Armenia); A. Malinsky-Buller and O. Jöris (RGZM, Germany); C. Mallol (La Laguna, Spain); F. Berna (Simon Frasier University, Canada); E. Frahm (Yale University); G. Bar-Oz, L. Weissbrod, and R. Yesherun (Haifa University, Israel); G. Monnier (University of Minnesota, USA); E. Allue (Tarragona, Spain); V. Smith and V. Cullen (Oxford University, UK); R. Roberts, Z. Jacobs, and L. Bo (University of Wollongong, Australia); Tom Higham (Oxford University, UK).
Recent and current PhD students with whom I work in the Caucasus include:
Nathan Wales: Ancient DNA from Archaeobotanical Remains: The Next Generation. PhD awarded 2012.
Philip Glauberman: Middle Palaeolithic Regional Land-Use and Behavior in Dutch and Belgian Limburg: Integrating Data from Upland Open-Air Sites. PhD awarded 2014.
Beverly A. Schmidt-Magee: Middle Paleolithic Lithic Technology and Behavior in the Hrazdan River Gorge, Armenia. PhD expected 2018.
Alex Brittingham: PhD topic, Stable Isotopes and Hominin Behavior in the Southern Caucasus.
Jayson Gill: PhD topic, A 3–Dimensional Geometric Morphometric Approach to Understanding Technological Variability and Change during the Middle Pleistocene of Eurasia.
Brandon Zinsious: PhD topic, TBD