Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

Thomas BEARD

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology as part of Mareike Stahlschmidt’s team. I received my Masters degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. For my MSc I worked at the site of Border Cave, South Africa, using the geoarchaeological techniques of fabric and facies analyses to understand the formation of the upper portion of the archaeological sequence. I am a geoarchaeologist, with a specific interest in investigating micro- to macroscale cave/rockshelter site formation processes and employing a multiproxy approach, using methods such as XRF, particle size analysis, and fabric analysis. I am also a multidisciplinary archaeologist and have a generalised knowledge of other archaeological fields. For my PhD I am pivoting into microarchaeology by using the technique of micromorphology to understand and contextualize the preservation of ancient DNA at the microscale at Upper Palaeolithic cave sites in Georgia.

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The Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) Team Leaders


Since 2017 I have been the head of the research group “Quaternary Archaeology” at the Austrian Archaeological Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and group leader of the Krems branch. I am an expert for the Federal Office for the Protection of Monuments, I am involved in extended international research networks and pursue the promotion of young scholars by teaching at the Institute for Prehistory and Historical Archaeology at the University of Vienna. I also maintain public relations and was curator for several exhibitions in museums in Lower Austria. As the principal investigator of the excavation sites Krems-Wachtberg (2005-2015), Gösing am Wagram (2014) and Kammern-Grubgraben (since 2015) my research focusses on the Upper Palaeolithic in the Danube Region. My interest is to get as much information as possible about past human behaviour, settlement structures and settlement patterns, art and jewellery and stone tool inventories. For this purpose, I also focus on the prospecting of Palaeolithic find layers by means of pile-driven probing and experimental archaeology (reconstructions and models).

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Team Leaders


I am a geoarchaeologist and apply microscopic techniques to the sedimentary archaeological record. I view and analyze sediments, deposits and features as archives of paleoenvironments as well as of human behavior. I am particularly interested in how archaeological sites form and preserve over time, in the evolution of human use of fire and in archaeological sediments and speleothems as paleogenetic archives.  

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