Katerina Douka, Dr
Researcher in Archaeological Science

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany  &
Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art , University of Oxford  &     
William Golding Junior Research Fellow, Brasenose College,  University of Oxford

I am an archaeological scientist interested in the development and application of analytical techniques, of chronometric and other nature, to archaeological and palaeoenvironmental investigations.

In 2017 I joined the Max Planck Insitute for the Science of Human History, in Jena, Germany as Group Leader at the Department of Archaeology and Principal Investigator of FINDER, a 5-year ERC-funded research project. I am also a visiting academic at the Research Lab for Archaeology and the History of Art at the University of Oxford, where I have been based for 12 years, between 2005-2017. Since 2013, I have been the William Golding Junior Research Fellow at Brasenose College.

My research investigates the timing and nature of major prehistoric population movements, extinctions, and interaction over the past 100,000 years, and it is based on an integrative approach, combining archaeological, analytical and statistical skills with field observations and laboratory-based protocols.  

Some of my current research interests include:

  • the timing of Homo sapiens expansion across Eurasia and the interaction between modern and archaic human groups (e.g. Neanderthals, Denisovans)

  • the use of collagen fingerprinting as a way of identifying new human fossils in the archaeological record

  • the origins of personal ornamentation and symbolism (marine shell and ostrich eggshell beads) during the Palaeolithic

  • the onset of plant and animal domestication and the spread of Neolithic farmers around the Old World in the early Holocene.