Vera Aldeias

Invited Researcher

Interdisciplinary Center for Archaeology and Evolution of Human Behaviour (ICArEHB)
FCHS, University of Algarve
Campus de Gambelas
8005-139 Faro

  (+351) 289 800 988

Associated researcher 

Department of Human Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig


ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7680-182X

Research Interests

I am a geoarchaeologist interested in unravelling past human behavior from its sedimentary signatures. My main interests concern the interaction between past humans and their environment. I focus on two main lines of research: (1) reconstructing the context and site formation processes underlying the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition and emergence of Anatomically Modern Humans; and (2) deciphering behavioral events from anthropogenic sediments, such as Paleolithic fire use, Neandertal funerary behavior, and the construction of shell mounds. I am particularly interested in assessing the “invisible record” embedded in archaeological sediments, and to achieve this I use micromorphological investigations of archaeological deposits.

Short Bio

I have an interdisciplinary academic record with a graduation in Archaeology at the University of Lisbon in 2002, followed by a specialization in Geoarchaeology by the Department of Geology, University of Lisbon. In 2012, I earned a PhD from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the University of Pennsylvania. My postdoctoral research started at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and I am currently an independent group leader at ICArEHB. Both as a field archaeologist and geologist, I have directed excavation projects and work in archaeological contexts in France, Portugal, Bulgaria, Israel, Morocco, Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa.

For my complete CV please click HERE

Key Publications

• J. S. Reeves; S. P. McPherron; V. Aldeias; H. L. Dibble; P. Goldberg; D. Sandgathe; A. Turq – Measuring Spatial Structure in Time-Averaged Deposits: Insights from Roc de Marsal, France, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 11 (10), 5743-5762.

• D. R. Braun, V. Aldeias, W. A. Archer, J. R. Arrowsmith, N. Baraki, C. J. Campisano, A. L. Deino, E. N. DiMaggio, G. Dupont-Nivet, B. Engda, D. A. Feary, D. I. Garello, Z. Kerfelew, S. P. McPherron, D. B. Patterson, J.S. Reeves, J. C. Thompson, K.E. Reed  – Earliest known Oldowan artifacts at >2.58 Ma from Ledi-Geraru, Ethiopia, highlight early technological diversity, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116, 11712-11717

• V. Aldeias, S. Gur-Arieh, R. Maria, P. Monteiro, P. Cura Shell we cook it? An experimental approach to the microarchaeological record of shellfish roasting, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Special Issue: Shellmidden Microarchaeology unraveled, vol. 11, 389-407. Link

• K. Wroth, D. Cabanes, J. M. Marston, V. Aldeias, D. Sandgathe, A. Turq, P. Goldberg, H. Dibble (2019). Neanderthal Plant Use and Pyrotechnology: Phytolith Analysis at Roc de Marsal, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, vol. 11 (8), 4325-4346.

• Dibble, H.L. , D. Sandgathe, P. Goldberg, S.J.P. McPherron. and V. Aldeias (2018). Were Western European Neandertals Able to Make Fire? Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology, 1(1), 54-79.

• Dibble, H.L., V. Aldeias, P. Goldberg, S.J.P. McPherron and D. Sandgathe (2017). How did hominins adapt to ice age Europe without fire? Current Anthropology, Wenner-Gren Symposium: Fire and the Genus Homo, 58(S16): 278-287.  Link

• V. Aldeias (2017). Experimental approaches to archaeological fire features and their behavioral relevance. Current Anthropology, Wenner-Gren Symposium: Fire and the Genus Homo, 58(S16): 191-205.  Link

•Goldberg, P. and V. Aldeias (2017). Why Does (Archaeological) Micromorphology Have Such Little Traction in (Geo)Archaeology? Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 9(6): 1005-1015.

• Aldeias, V., S. Gur-Arieh, R. Maria, P. Monteiro and P. Cura (2016). Shell we cook it? An experimental approach to the microarchaeological record of shellfish roasting. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences,  Special Issue: Shellmidden Microarchaeology unraveled.

• Aldeias, V. and N. Bicho (2016). Embedded Behavior: human activities and the construction of the Mesolithic shellmound of Cabeço da Amoreira (Muge, Portugal). Geoarchaeology, 31: 530-549.

• Guérin, G., M. Frouin, S. Talamo, V. Aldeias, L. Bruxelles, L. Chiotti, H.L. Dibble, P. Goldberg, J.-J. Hublin, M. Jain, C. Lahaye, S. Madelaine, B. Maureille, S.J.P. McPherron, N. Mercier, A.S. Murray, D. Sandgathe, T.E. Steele, K.J. Thomsen and A. Turq (2015). A multi-method luminescence dating of the Palaeolithic sequence of La Ferrassie based on new excavations adjacent to the La Ferrassie 1 and 2 skeletons. Journal of Archaeological Science, 58: 147-166.  Link

• Dibble, H.L., V. Aldeias, P. Goldberg, S.P. McPherron, D. Sandgathe and T.E. Steele (2015). A critical look at evidence from La Chapelle-aux-Saints supporting an intentional Neandertal burial. Journal of Archaeological Science, 53: 649-657.  Link

• Aldeias, V., P. Goldberg, H.L. Dibble and M. El-Hajaraoui (2014). Deciphering Site Formation processes through Soil Micromorphology at Contrebandiers Cave, Morocco. Journal of Human Evolution, 69: 8-30.  Link

• Goldberg, P., V. Aldeias, H.L. Dibble, S. McPherron, D. Sandgathe and A. Turq (2013). Testing the Roc de Marsal “Burial” with Geoarchaeology. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Special Issue: Geoarchaeology of Ritual Behavior and Sacred Places, 9(6): 1005-1015.  Link

• Dibble, H.L., V. Aldeias, Z. Jacobs, D.I. Olzewski, Z. Rezek, S. Lin, E. Alvarez-Fernandéz, C. Barshay-Szmidt, E. Hallet-Desguez, , D. Reed, K. Reed, D. Richter, T.E. Steele, A. Skinner, B. Blackwell, E. Doronicheva and M. El-Hajaraoui (2013). On the industrial attributions of the Aterian and Mousterian of the Maghreb. Journal of Human Evolution, 64(3): 194-210.  Link

• Dibble, H.L., V. Aldeias, E. Alvarez-Fernandéz, B. Blachwell, E. Hallet-Desguez, Z. Jacobs, P. Goldberg, A. Morala, M.C. Meyer, D.I. Olzewski, K. Reed, D. Reed, T.E. Steele, D. Richter, R.G. Roberts, D. Sandgathe, U. Schurmans, A. Skinner and M. El-Hajraoui (2012). New excavations at the Site of Contrebandiers Cave, Morocco. Paleoanthropology, 145-201.  Link

• Aldeias, V., P. Goldberg, D. Sandgathe, F. Berna, H.L. Dibble, S. McPherron, A. Turq and Z. Rezek (2012). Evidence for Neandertal use of fire at Roc de Marsal (France). Journal of Archaeological Science, 39(7): 2414-2423.  Link


PI & Collaborator in charge of Geoarchaeological investigations

2017 – Present   Principal Investigator of project “Fire among Anatomically Modern Humans and Neandertals as revealed from Archaeological Microstratigraphic Evidence (FLAME)”, focusing on the evolution of Pyrotechnology in Middle and Upper Paleolithic European contexts. Project in collaboration with Dra. Carolina Mallol

2017 – Present   Principal Investigator of “Documenting Neandertal Fire Signatures through High Resolution Analyses at Pech de l’Azé IV (France)”, a project in collaboration with Drs. Dennis Sandgathe, Paul Goldberg, and Deborah Olszewski

2019 – Present Geoarchaeologist and PhD supervisor of project at the Middle Paleolithic site of Quinçay (France), a site with several Châtelperronian layers. Project Leader is Dra. Marie Soressi.

2016 – Present   Geoarchaeologist of the Paleo Primate Project, developed in the Gorongosa National Park (Mozambique), targeting early hominin occupations in the southern area of the African rift. Project leader is Dra. Susana Carvalho.

2015– Present    Geoarchaeologist at excavations in Bacho Kiro Cave (Bulgaria), a Middle and Early Upper Paleolithic site in the Balkans. Project leaders are Dr. Jean-Jacques Hublin and Nicolai Sirakov.

2015– Present    Geoarchaeologist of the project in Ledi-Geraru, namely at the site of Bokol Dora (Ethiopia), focusing on the Early Stone Age. Project leader is Dr. David Braun.

2014 – Present   Geoarchaeologist at Montagu Cave, an Early and Middle Stone Age Site in South Africa. Project leader is Dr. Will Archer

2013 – 2014      Geoarchaeologist at the initial Upper Paleolithic site of Boker Tachtit (Israel). Project leader is Dra. Elisabetta Boaretto.

2012 – Present   Geoarchaeologist at the shell midden site of Cabeço da Amoreira (Muge, Portugal). Project leaders are Dr. Nuno Bicho and Dra. Célia Gonçalves.

2011 – 2015      Geoarchaeologist at the site of La Ferrassie (France), looking into site formation of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic deposits. Project leader is Dr. Alain Turq.

2009 – 2011       Geoarchaeologist at the Middle Paleolithic site of Roc de Marsal (France), particularly focusing on fire evidence. Project leader is Dr. Harold Dibble.

2006 – 2011      Geoarchaeologist at the Middle Stone Age site of Contrebandiers Cave (Morocco), Project leaders are Dr. Harold Dibble and Abdou El Hajraoui.