Lisa Maher (University of California, Berkeley)
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
Danielle 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 am currently the co-director of the Kharaneh IV excavation project in the Azraq Basin.
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