Principal Investigators

Lisa Maher (University of California, Berkeley) Lisa Maher

My research focuses on hunter-gatherer societies in the Near East, North Africa and Arabia with the aim of reconstructing human-environment interactions during the Late Pleistocene. The transition in this region is well-studied, but tends to focus on the later Neolithic as heralding the beginnings of a series of significant changes in human social organization, economy, technological innovation, and ideology. However, I am interested in the periods leading up to farming – the 10,000 years or so prior – when these changes first manifest in the archaeological record in the form of intensified plant use, increased sedentism and population aggregations, architecture, complex site organization, far-reaching social interaction networks, and elaborate mortuary practices. Notably, it is during these periods, the Epipalaeolithic and the early Neolithic, when we see significant changes in human behavior with the intersection of regional-scale climate change and humans agents of landscape change. Website

Tobias RichterTobias Richter (University of Copenhagen)

My work focuses on the transition from hunting and gathering societies to the first farmers in southwest Asia, in particular the Levant. I am particularly interested in the chipped and ground stone technologies of this time period, as well as questions concerning social interaction, landscape and environmental change.  I am also interested in how social evolutionary meta-narratives have shaped the academic discourse of this transition as a progression from ‘simple’ hunter-gatherers to ‘complex’ farmers.

I currently direct the Younger Dryas and the Origins of Agriculture project, which is funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research ( This is part of the wider Epipalaeolithic Foragers in Azraq Project, a collaborative research initiative investigating the last hunter-gatherers in the Azraq Basin. I also have ongoing interests in the general prehistory of southwest Asia, archaeological theory, the history of archaeological practice in southwest Asia, landscape archaeology and the politics of heritage. Website

Danielle in the fieldDanielle Macdonald (University of Tulsa)

My current research explores hunter-gatherer aggregation through material culture to understand how individuals organized tasks at the Terminal Pleistocene site of Kharaneh IV, Jordan. Understanding the behaviours of prehistoric people at Kharaneh IV will enable us to gain insight into how people negotiated new social relationships and maintained peace within large social groups.  I currently the co-director of the Kharaneh IV excavation project in the Azraq Basin, Jordan (co-directed with Lisa Maher).

My other interests include method development for lithic microwear analysis and the applications of 3D microscopy for archaeological research. My research looks at developing new methods for the quantification of microwear traces through the use of microscopes developed for the field of surface metrology. Ongoing research includes the application of laser-scanning confocal microscopy, focus variation microscopy, and atomic-force microscopy to characterize surface texture and distinguish wear from different contact materials on stone tool surfaces. Website; Academia

Jay T. Stock (University of Cambridge)

Research Profile coming soon.  Website

Matt JonesMatthew Jones (University of Nottingham)

My research focuses on the reconstruction of past environments, particularly the quantity and quality of the water within it, and includes projects in Jordan as well as the wider Near East region (Turkey and Iran). I have worked on and around the EFAP sites including Kharaneh IV using geomorphological and sedimentological techniques to look at water availability issues. My other main research interests lie in developing methods to better quantify by how much water availability has changed through time, particularly through the use of oxygen isotope palaeohydrology. Website; Project Website

Louise Martin (University College London)

Research Profile coming soon. Website; Project Website