Stone Age Archaeology


A PhD student in the CASHP Stone Age Archaeology lab working with rock samples


The Stone Age Archaeology Research Laboratory brings together scientists with diverse interests focused on the evolution of human behavior from a variety of different proxies. 

The lab is focused on primary data collection and the development of new methodologies for the study of ancient hominin behavior. Our lab is particularly fieldwork focused, and students acquire primary data on a variety of paleoanthropological sites throughout Africa and Eurasia, including the renowned Koobi Fora Field School.


Research Interests


  • Biogeochemistry of ratite shells for geochronology
  • Reconstruction of ancient diets using microfossils recovered from stone tools and dental calculus
  • Three-dimensional analysis of archaeological materials
  • Site formation processes through the computerization of archaeological excavation techniques


  • Geochemical provenance studies of stone age artefacts
  • The study of the mechanical properties of stone and its effect on artifact manufacture
  • Technological analysis of stone artefact manufacture across the full time span of human evolution


Student Opportunities


Lab Assistants

The Stone Age Archaeology Laboratory regularly seeks lab assistants to help with the analysis and curation of extensive collections. Contact David Braun for more information.


Koobi Fora Field School

The Anthropology Department hosts the Koobi Fora field program located in the African savanna. The program integrates formal lectures, individual instruction in faunal analysis and hominin evolution as well as excavation training on site. Fellowship opportunities are available.



  • Full suite of materials for the assessment of amino acid racemization
  • Materials for three-dimensional capture of archaeological materials: NextEngine 3D scanner; Dell Optiplex (128 GB RAM) with several 3D visualization packages (e.g., GeoMagic, Photoscan) 
  • Materials for the non-destructive analysis of mechanical properties of stone and bone: Proceq Silverschmidt Rebound hardness tester, Proceq Leeb Hardness Tester, VK Meter IV Ultrasonic Flaw Detector and Proceq Pundit Lab +
  • Materials for field research and mapping equipment: Trimble R4 GPS units (two total), Leica 505 Builder Total Station, Trimble Yuma, Trimble Nomad (two total), ArchAerial Atlas 1 UAV, DJI MavicPro (two total), Topcon RTK System


Lab Researchers

PhD Students


Select Publications

Patterson, D. B., Braun, D. R., Allen, K., Barr, W. A., Behrensmeyer, A. K. B., Biernat, M., Lehmann, S.B., Maddox, T., Manthi, F., Merritt, S.R., Morris, S., O’Brien, K., Reeves, J.S., Wood, B., Bobe, R., (2019) Comparative isotopic evidence from East Turkana is consistent with a dietary shift between early Homo and Homo erectus. Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Braun, D. R., Aldeias, V., Archer, W. A., Arrowsmith, J.R., Baraki, N., Campisano, C.J., Deino, A.L., DiMaggio, E.N., Dupont-Nivet, G., Engda, B., Feary, D. A., Garello, D.I., Kerfelew, Z., McPherron, S.P., Patterson, D.B., Reeves, J.S., Thompson, J.C., Reed, K. (2019) The Earliest Known Oldowan artifacts at >2.58 Ma from Ledi-Geraru, Ethiopia, Highlights Early Technological diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lemorini, C., Bishop, L.C., Plummer, T.W., Braun, D. R., Ditchfield, P.W., Oliver, J.S. (2019) Old stone’s song-second verse:use -wear analysis of rhyolite and fentized andesite artifacts from the Oldowan lithic industry of Kanjera South, Kenya. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

Cutts, R., Garrison, E., Braun, D. R., Hlubik, S. K., Patterson, D. B., Akuku, P., Harris, J.W.K., O’Brien, J., Muschinski, J., Campbell, R., (2019) Thermal Curved-Fragments: A Method for Identifying Anthropogenic Fire in the Archaeological Record. Journal of Archaeological Science.

Martinez, F., Capelli, C., da Silva, M.J., Aldeias, V., Alemseged, Z., Archer, W., Bamford, M., Biro, D., Bobe, R., Braun, D. R., Habermann, J.M., Ludecke, T., Madiquida, H., Mathe, J., Negash, E., Paulo, L.M., Pinto, M., Stalmans, M., Tata, F., and Carvalho, S.C., (2019) A missing piece of the Papio puzzle: Gorongos baboon phenostructure and their relationships with Papio species. Journal of Human Evolution

Habermann, J.M., Alberti, M., Aldeias, V., Alemseged, Z., Archer, W., Bamford, M., Biro, D., Braun, D.R., Capelli, C., Cunha, E. and da Silva, M.F., 2019. Gorongosa by the sea: First Miocene fossil sites from the Urema Rift, central Mozambique, and their coastal paleoenvironmental and paleoecological contexts. Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology, 514, pp.723-738.

Lague, Michael R., Habiba Chirchir, David J. Green, Emma Mbua, John WK Harris, D. R. Braun, Nicole L. Griffin, and Brian G. Richmond. "Cross-sectional properties of the humeral diaphysis of Paranthropus boisei: Implications for upper limb function." Journal of Human Evolution 126 (2019): 51-70.

Lague, Michael R., Habiba Chirchir, David J. Green, Emma Mbua, John WK Harris, D. R. Braun, Nicole L. Griffin, and Brian G. Richmond. "Humeral anatomy of the KNM-ER 47000 upper limb skeleton from Ileret, Kenya: Implications for taxonomic identification." Journal of Human Evolution 126 (2019): 24-38.

Green, David J., Habiba Chirchir, Emma Mbua, John WK Harris, D. R. Braun, Nicole L. Griffin, and Brian G. Richmond. "Scapular anatomy of Paranthropus boisei from Ileret, Kenya." Journal of Human Evolution 125 (2018): 181-192.

Presnyakova, Darya, D. R. Braun, Nicholas J. Conard, Craig Feibel, John WK Harris, Cornel M. Pop, Stefan Schlager, and Will Archer. "Site fragmentation, hominin mobility and LCT variability reflected in the early Acheulean record of the Okote Member, at Koobi Fora, Kenya." Journal of Human Evolution 125 (2018): 159-180.

Sahle, Yonatan, and D. R. Braun. "A reply to Douze and Delagnes’s ‘The pattern of emergence of a Middle Stone Age tradition at Gademotta and Kulkuletti (Ethiopia) through convergent tool and point technologies’[J. Hum. Evol. 91 (2016) 93–121]." Journal of Human Evolution 125 (2018): 201-206.

Ditchfield, P. W., E. Whitfield, T. Vincent, T. Plummer, D. R. Braun, A. Deino, F. Hertel, J. S. Oliver, J. Louys, and L. C. Bishop. "Geochronology and physical context of Oldowan site formation at Kanjera South, Kenya." Geological Magazine (2018): 1-11.

Roach, Neil T., Andrew Du, Kevin G. Hatala, Kelly R. Ostrofsky, Jonathan S. Reeves, David R. Braun, John WK Harris, Anna K. Behrensmeyer, and Brian G. Richmond. "Pleistocene animal communities of a 1.5 million-year-old lake margin grassland and their relationship to Homo erectus paleoecology." Journal of Human Evolution 122 (2018): 70-83.

Ranhorn, Kathryn L., David R. Braun, Rebecca E. Biermann Gürbüz, Elliot Greiner, Daniel Wawrzyniak, and Alison S. Brooks. "Evaluating prepared core assemblages with three-dimensional methods: a case study from the Middle Paleolithic at Skhūl (Israel)." Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (2018): 1-14.

Režek, Željko, Harold L. Dibble, Shannon P. McPherron, David R. Braun, and Sam C. Lin. "Two million years of flaking stone and the evolutionary efficiency of stone tool technology." Nature ecology & evolution 2, no. 4 (2018): 628.

Forrest, Frances L., Deano D. Stynder, Laura C. Bishop, Naomi E. Levin, Sophie B. Lehmann, David B. Patterson, Thalassa Matthews, and David R. Braun. "Zooarchaeological reconstruction of newly excavated Middle Pleistocene deposits from Elandsfontein, South Africa." Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 17 (2018): 19-29.

Lehmann, S. B., N. E. Levin, David R. Braun, D. D. Stynder, M. Zhu, P. J. le Roux, and Judith Sealy. "Environmental and ecological implications of strontium isotope ratios in mid-Pleistocene fossil teeth from Elandsfontein, South Africa." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 490 (2018): 84-94.

Douglass, Matthew J., Sam C. Lin, David R. Braun, and Thomas W. Plummer. "Core use-life distributions in lithic assemblages as a means for reconstructing behavioral patterns." Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 25, no. 1 (2018): 254-288.

Patterson, D. B. Braun, D. R., Behrensmeyer, A. K., Lehmann, S. B., Merritt, S.R., Reeves, J.S., Wood, B.A., and Bobe, R. (2017) Landscape scale heterogeneity in the East Turkana Ecosystem during the Okote member (1.56-1.38 Ma). Journal of Human Evolution

Hatala, K., Roach, N.T., Ostrofsky, K., Wunderlich, R. E., Dingwall, H., Villmoare, B.V., Green, D.G., Braun, D. R., Harris, J.W. K., Behrensmeyer, A. K., and Richmond, B. G. (2017) Hominin track and trackway assemblages from the Okote Member deposits near Ileret, Kenya and their implications for understanding fossil hominin paleontology at 1.5 Ma. Journal of Human Evolution

Roach, N.T., Du, A., Hatala, K.G., Ostrofsky, K., Reeves, J.S., Braun, D. R., Harris, J.W. K., Behrensmeyer, A. K., and Richmond, B.G. (2017) Pleistocene animal communities at a 1.5 million-year-old lake margin grassland and their relationship to Homo erectus paleoecology. Journal of Human Evolution

Hlubik, S., Cutts, R., Braun, D. R., Berna, F., Feibel, C.S., Harris, J.W.K., (2017) Hominin fire use in the Okote Member at Koobi Fora, Kenya: new evidence for the old debate. Journal of Human Evolution

Hlubik, S., Berna, F., Feibel,C., Braun, D. R., Harris, JWK. (2017) Researching the nature of fire at 1.5 mya on the site of FxJj20 AB, Koobi Fora, Kenya using high-resolution spatial analysis and FTIR spectrometry. Current Anthropology

Green, D.G., Chirchir, H., Mbua, E., Harris, J.W.K., Braun, D. R., Griffin, N., and Richmond, B.G. (2017) Scapular morphology of Paranthropus boisei from Koobi Fora, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution

Tennie, C., Premo, L., Braun, D. R. and McPherron, S.P. (2017) Resetting the null hypothesis: Lithic technology and cultural transmission. Current Anthropology

Patterson, D. B., D. R. Braun, A. K. Behrensmeyer, S. Merritt, I. Zliobaite, J. S. Reeves, B. A. Wood, M. Fortelius, and R. Bobe. (2017) "Ecosystem evolution and hominin paleobiology at East Turkana, northern Kenya between 2.0 and 1.4 Ma." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

Sahle, Y. and Braun, D. R. (2017) Middle Stone Age pointed tool function in the Gademotta Formation, Ethiopia: A reply to Douze and Delagnes. Journal of Human Evolution

Hatala, K., Roach, N. T., Ostrofsky, K., Wunderlich, R. E., Dingwall, H. L., Villmoare, B. A., Green, D. J., Braun, D. R., Harris, J. W.K., and Richmond, B. G. (2016) Fossil footprints preserve direct evidence of modern human-like gait and group composition in Homo erectusNature: Scientific Reports

Dibble, H.L., Holdaway, S., Lin, S.C., Braun, D. R., Douglass, M.J., Iovita, R., McPherron, S. P., Olszewski, D., and Sandgathe, D. (2016) Major fallacies surrounding stone artifacts and assemblages. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.

Lehmann, S.B., Levin, N.E., Braun, D.R., Dennis, K.J., Stynder, D.D., Bishop, L.C., Forrest, F. and Patterson, D.B. (2016) Stable isotopic composition of fossil mammal teeth and environmental change in southwestern South Africa during the Pliocene and Pleistocene. Paleoecology, Paleoclimatology and Paleogeography

Patterson, D.B., Mathews, T., Lehmann, S., Levin, N.E., Stynder, D. D., Forrest, F., Bishop, L. C., and Braun D. R. (2016) Stable isotope ecology of dune mole rats (Bathyergus suillus) from Elandsfontein, South Africa: implications for Mid-Pleistocene C4 environments and hominin paleoecology in the Western Cape. Paleoecology, Paleoclimatology and Paleogeography

Roach, N. T., Hatala, K., Ostrofsky, K., Villmoare, B., Reeves, J., Du, A., Braun, D. R., Harris, J. W.K., Behrensmeyer, A. K., Richmond, B.G. (2016) Pleistocene footprints show intensive use of lake margin habitats by Homo erectus groups. Nature: Scientific Reports 6, 26374; doi: 10.1038/srep26374 (2016).

Braun, D. R., Pante, M., and Archer, W. (2016) Cut marks on bone surfaces: influences on variation in the form of traces of ancient behaviour. Interface Focus: 6: 20160006  

Tennie C, Braun DR, Premo LS, McPherron SP. (2016) The Island Test for Cumulative Culture in the Paleolithic. In: Haidle NM, Conard JN, Bolus M, editors. The Nature of Culture: Based on an Interdisciplinary Symposium ‘The Nature of Culture’, Tübingen, Germany. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2016. p. 121-33.

Braun DR, Pante MC, Archer W. Cut marks on bone surfaces: influences on variation in the form of traces of ancient human behaviour. Interface Focus:. 2016.

Dogandzic, T., McPherron, S. P., and Braun, D. R. (2015). Edge Length and Surface Area of a Blank: Experimental Assessment of Measures, Size Predictions and Utility. Public Library of Science One

Presnyakova D, Archer W, Braun DR, and Flear W. (2015). Documenting Differences between Early Stone Age Flake Production Systems: An Experimental Model and Archaeological Verification. Public Library of Science One

Villmoare B, Kimbel WH, Seyoum C, Campisano CJ, DiMaggio E, Rowan J, Braun DR, Arrowsmith JR, and Reed KE. (2015). Response to Comment on “Early Homo at 2.8 Ma from Ledi-Geraru, Afar, Ethiopia”. Science

Villmoare B., Kimbel W.H., Seyoum C., Campisano C.J., DiMaggio E.N., Rowan J., Braun D.R., Arrowsmith J.R., and Reed K.E. (2015) Early Homo at 2.8 Ma from Ledi-Geraru, Afar, Ethiopia. Science 


Kyriacou K., Parkington J.E., Marais A.D., and Braun D.R. (2014). Nutrition, modernity and the archaeological record: Coastal resources and nutrition among Middle Stone Age hunter-gatherers on the western Cape coast of South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution 

Caruana, M.V., Carvalho, S.C., Braun, D. R., Presnyakova, D. A., Haslam, M., Archer, W., Bobe, R., and Harris, J. W. K. (2014) Quantifying traces of tool use: A novel morphometric analysis of damage patterns on percussive tools. Public Library of Science One.

McPherron, S.P., Braun, D.R., Dogandzic, Desta, D., Lin, S., Archer, W. (2014). An experimental assessment of the influences on edge damage to lithic artifacts: A consideration of edge angle, substrate, grain size, raw material properties and exposed face. Journal of Archaeological Science.


 Ziipkin, A. M.,  John M. Hanchar, Alison S. Brooks, Mark W. Grabowski, Jessica C. Thompson, Elizabeth Gomani-Chindebvu. (2014) Ochre fingerprints: Distinguishing among Malawian mineral pigment sources with Homogenized Ochre Chip LA-ICPMS. Archaeometry

Archer, W., Braun, D. R., Harris, J. W. K., and Richmond, B. G. (2014) Aquatic resource use by Pleistocene Hominins in the Koobi Fora Formation. Journal of Human Evolution. [Special Issue: The Role of Freshwater and Marine Resources in Hominin Diet]

Lemorini, C., Plummer, T.W., Braun, D. R., Bishop, L. C., Hertel, F., Ditchfield, P.W. and Potts, R. (2014) Old stones' song: Use-wear experiments and analysis of the Oldowan quartz and quartzite assemblage from Kanjera South (Kenya). Journal of Human Evolution.

Sahle, Y., Hutchings, W.K., Braun, D. R., Sealy, J.C., Morgan, L. E., Negash, A., and Atnafu, B. (2013) Earliest stone-tipped projectiles from the Ethiopian Rift date to >279,000 years ago. Public Library of Science One.

Braun, D. R., Levin, N.E., Stynder, D.D., Herries, A.I., Archer, W., Forrest, F., Roberts, D., Mathews, T., Lehman, S., Pickering, S., and Fitzsimmons, K. (2013) Pleistocene hominin occupation of the Western Cape, South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews

Lin, S., Rezek, Z., Braun, D.R. & Dibble, H.L. (2013) On the utility and economization of unretouched flakes: The effects of exterior platform angle and platform depth. American Antiquity.

Sahle, Y., Morgan, L.E., Braun, D.R. & Hutchings, W.K. (2013) The context of the Late Middle Pleistocene occupations in the Gademotta Formation, Main Ethiopian Rift. Quaternary International.

Archer, W., Braun, D.R., (2013). Investigating the Signature of Aquatic Resource Use within Pleistocene Hominin Dietary Adaptations, Public Library of Science One.

Ferarro, J. V., Plummer, T.W., Pobiner, B., Oliver, J.S., Bishop, L.C., Braun, D. R., Ditchfield, P.W., Seaman, J.W., Binetti, K.M., Seaman, J. W., Hertl, F, and Potts, R. (2013) Two-million-year-old evidence of persistent hominin carnivory. Public Library of Science One.


Sahle, Y, C., Negash, A., and Braun, D. R. (2012) Variability in ethnographic hidescraper use among the Hadiya of Ethiopia: Implications for reduction analysis. African Archaeological Review


Ndiema, K. E., Dillian, C. D., Braun, D. R., Harris, J. W. K., and Kiura, P. (2011) New insights on mobility patterns and obsidian source use strategies during the transition to pastoralism, Koobi Fora, Kenya. Archaeometry.


Braun, D. R. (2010) Paleoanthropology: Australopithecine butchers. Nature

Braun, D. R., Harris, J.W.K., Levin, N. E., McCoy, J. T., Herries, A. I. R., Bamford, M., Bishop, L.. C., Richmond, B. G., Kibunjia, M. (2010) Early hominin diet included diverse terrestrial and aquatic animals 1.95 Myr ago in East Turkana, Kenya. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.) 

Archer, W. A., Braun, D. R. (2010) Morphometric analysis of Acheulean technology at Elandsfontein, Western Cape, South Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science. 

Plummer, T., Ditchfield, P., Bishop, L. C., Kingston, J., Ferraro, J. V., Braun, D. R., Hertel, F., Potts, R. (2009) Oldest evidence of toolmaking hominins in a grassland-dominated ecosystem. Public Library of Science One

Brown, K. S., Marean, C. W., Herries, A. I., Jacobs, Z., Tribolo, C., Braun, D. R., Myers, M., Bernatchez, J. (2009) Fire as an engineering tool of early modern humans in coastal South Africa. Science

Bennett, M. R., Harris, J. W. K., Richmond, B. G., Braun, D. R., Mbua, E., Kiura, P., Olago, D., Kibunjia, M., Omuombo, C., Behrensmeyer, A. K., Huddart, D., Gonzalez, S. (2009) Early hominin foot morphology based on 1.5 million year-old footprints from Ileret, Kenya. Science 

Braun, D. R., Plummer, T. P., Ferraro, J. V., Ditchfield, P., Bishop, L. C. (2009) Raw material quality and Oldowan hominin toolstone preferences: Evidence from Kanjera South, Kenya. Journal of Archaeological Science 

Braun, D., Harris, J. W. K., and Maina, D. (2009) Oldowan raw material procurement and use: Evidence from the Koobi Fora Formation. Archaeometry


Braun, D. R., Rogers, M. J., Harris, J. W. K., and Walker, S. J. (2008) Landscape scale variation in hominin tool use: Evidence from the Developed Oldowan of the Koobi Fora Formation. Journal of Human Evolution

Braun, D. R., Plummer, T., Ditchfield, P., Ferraro, J. V., Maina, D., Bishop, L. C., Potts, R. (2008) Oldowan behavior and raw material transport: Perspectives from the Kanjera Formation. Journal of Archaeological Science 

Braun, D. R., Tactikos, J., Ferraro, J., Arnow, S., and Harris, J. W. K. (2008) Oldowan reduction sequences: Methodological considerations. Journal of Archaeological Science

Braun, D. R., Pobiner, B., and Thompson, J. (2008) An experimental investigation of cut mark production and stone tool attrition. Journal of Archaeological Science.

Bishop, L. C., Plummer, T., Ferraro, J. V., Braun, D. R., Ditchfield, P. W., Hertel, F., Kingston, J., Hicks, J. and Potts, R. (2008) Recent research into Oldowan hominid activities at Kanjera South, western Kenya. African Archaeological Review.