João Marreiros

Associated 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 

TraCEr, Laboratory for Traceology and Controlled Experiments
MONREPOS Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution,RGZM
Schloss Monrepos
56567 Neuwied


Assistant professor

Laboratório de Arqueologia Pinho Monteiro
Department of Archaeology. School of Social Sciences
University of Évora
Colégio do Espírito Santo. Largo dos Colegiais, 2
7000-803 Évora, Portugal

Research Interests

I’m an archaeologist interested on unravelling and understanding early hominn technological evolution, with special fascination on how stone tools were designed, produced, and used. My main interests are focused on the study of why, how, and what for humans transform their technological system and what can those changes tell us about past human behavioral dynamics. What I also found intriguing is also how the technological choices made in the past guided us to what we are today. So, in order to investigate this topic, I focus on three main lines of study: 1) understanding when the design and production of stone tools change over time, 2) the association between tool design and tool used, and ultimately, 3) why humans change the way they design and used their tools, and what does this tell us about changes on the evolution of human behavior. So, to address these questions my methodological approach combines different discipline such as, techno-typological analysis, raw material characterization and use-wear analysis (i.e. traceology) and experimental replication.

Short Bio

I completed my PhD in 2013, at the University of Algarve, and after a 3 year post-doctoral position at the same institute I moved to Germany where I started as an independent Junior Research Group Leader of the TraCEr laboratory (RGZM). Starting this project and setting up this laboratory allowed me to build an unique interdisciplinary framework to the study of past homin tools use. I am also currently an Assistant Professor at the University at Évora where I mainly teach Late Pleistocene archaeology and stone tool analysis.

Apart from my laboratorial research and teaching, I’m also involved in several field project either as a field director or project collaborator. These include several Plesitocene sites in countries such as Armenia, Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania and Ethiopia.

For my complete CV please click HERE

Key Publications

  • Marreiros, J., Gibaja, J., Bicho, N. (Eds.) 2014. Proceedings of the International conference on Use-Wear analysis, Use-Wear 2012. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Lin, S., Marreiros, J. 2020. Quina Retouch Does Not Maintain Edge Angle Over Reduction. Lithic Technology.
  • Marreiros, J., Pereira, T., & Iovita, R. 2020. Controlled experiments in lithic technology and function. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 12(6), 110.
  • Hublin, J. Sirakov, N., Aldeias, V., Bailey, S., Bard, E., Delvigne, V., Faugault, Y., Fewlass, H., Hajdinjak, M., Kromer, B., Krumov, I., Marreiros, J., Martisius, N., Paskulin, L., Sinet-Mathiot, V., Meyer, M., Pääbo, S., Popov, V., Rezek, Z., Sirakova, S., Skinner, M., Smith, G., Spasov, R., Talamo, S., Tuna, T., Wacker, L., Welker, F., Wilcke, Q., Zahariev, N., McPherron, S., Tsanova, T., 2020. Initial Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens remains from Bacho Kiro Cave (Bulgaria). Nature.
  • Marreiros, J., Calandra, I., Gneisinger, W., Paixao, E., Pedergnana, A., Schunk, L. 2020. Rethinking functional analysis as applied to the study of past hominin tool use. Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology.
  • Calandra, I., Gneisinger, W., Marreiros, J. 2020. A versatile mechanized setup for controlled experiments on archaeology. Journal of Science and Technology of Archaeological Research.
  • Paixao, E., Pedergnana, A., Marreiros, J., Dubreuil, L., Prevost, M., Zaidner, Y., & Gneisinger, W. 2021. Using mechanical experiments to study ground stone tool use: Exploring the formation of percussive and grinding wear traces on limestone tools. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 37, 102971.
  • Marreiros, J., Gibaja, J., Bicho, N., 2018. Lithic use-wear analysis of the Early Gravettian of Vale Boi (Cape St. Vicente, southern Portugal): insights into human technology and settlement in southwestern Iberia. Archaeol Anthropol Sci 10, 631–645.
  • Marreiros, J., Bicho, N., Gibaja, J., Pereira, T., Cascalheira, J., 2014. Lithic technology from the Gravettian of Vale Boi: new insights into Early Upper Paleolithic human behavior in Southern Iberian Peninsula. Quaternary International 359-360, 479–498. https://doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.06.074
  • Marreiros, J., Bicho, N., 2013. Lithic technology variability and human ecodynamics during the Early Gravettian of Southern Iberian Peninsula. Quaternary International 318, 90–101. https://doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.05.008


• New methods and techniques in use-wear analysis
• The origins and expansion of the Gravettian in Western Europe
• The EUP in SW Iberian Peninsula
• Lithic projectiles in the Early Upper Paleolithic in Europe


As director and co-director

Since 2017. PaleoCoast (PI), Paleolithic human coastal adaptation in southwestern Iberian Peninsula. Sagres, Portugal.

Since 2017. Transaire (PI), The Late Pleistocene-Holocene transition in Iberian Peninsula: human ecological and technological adaptation, and the Epipaleolithic mosaic in central Portugal. Torres Novas, Portugal.

Since 2015. EcoPis (co-PI), Human occupation in the Pleistocene Ecotones of River Lis. Leiria, Portugal. Web:

2006 – 2007. Carta arqueológica subaquática do Concelho de Lagos, Portugal. Underwater archaeological survey in Lagos’s bay.


As invited specialist

Since 2018. TransCause – Pleistocene Cultural transformations and population dynamics in Southern Caucasus

Since 2018. Middle Paleolithic seasonal land use adaptations in the Armenian volcanic highlands:

Excavations at Kalavan 2. Funded by Leakey

Since 2016. Settlement of Homo sapiens in Central North Bulgaria, chronostratigraphy and Pleistocene paleoenviroment in the context of the Lower Danube valley. Funded by NAIM-BAS (Bulgaria) and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-                EVA), Leipzig.

2013 – 2015. Middle Stone Age archaeology and the origins of modern humans in southern Mozambique. Funded by FCT PTDC/EPH-ARQ/4998/2012

2011 – 2014. The last Neanderthals and the emergence of Modern Humans in Southwestern Iberia. Funded by FCT PTDC/HIS-ARQ/117540/2010.

2011 – 2014. The last hunter-gatherers of Muge (Portugal): the origins of social complexity. Funded by FCT PTDC/HIS-ARQ/112156/2009.


As Younger Researcher (PhD student)

2009 – 2015. Younger researcher, SPLASHCOS – Submerge prehistoric archaeology and landscape of the continental shelf. European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research (COST).

Grants & Fellowships

2017-2021. TraCEr. Laboratory for Traceology and Controlled Experiments. Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum – Leibniz Research Institute for Archeology by German Federal and Rhineland Palatinate funding (Sondertatbestand BSpurenlabor). Eur 4.000.000,00

2017 – 2019. Marie Curie Individual Fellowships (IF) (MSCA-IF-EF-ST). “StoneUseWear, Using controlled experiments and 3D data quantification to understand stone use-wear formation”. Total score: 98.8%. Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig

2015 – 2018. FCT Postdoctoral fellowship, at ICArEHB, Universidade do Algarve (Faro, Portugal) and Instituto Milà I Fontanals Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (Barcelona, Spain).

2010 – 2014. FCT PhD fellowship, at ICArEHB, Universidade do Algarve (Faro, Portugal), FCT SFRH/BD/65301/2009.

2003 – 2007. Thesis prize (Bachelor thesis), awarded by the Associação Arqueológica do Algarve (Archaeological Society of Algarve, Portugal). Eur 1000