Physical Anthropology and Environmental History
Our research aims at the evaluation of the causes of human population development in space and time, including historical man/environment relationships. Research subject are mainly archaeological skeletal remains of humans and other vertebrates, which preserve details of individual and collective life time parameters, such as diet and hence subsistence strategy, environmental features like climate proxies and past vegetation, kinship and evolutionary relatedness, migration and trade, and infectious diseases. To decipher all these information, archaeometric methods such as stable isotope analysis, preserved DNA analysis, but also histology, electron microscopy, and X-raying are applied. This way, bodily remains of past populations constitute primary sources for the investigation of human ecological adaptation including the generation of anthropogenic environments, the impact of which is obvious until today. Our research group cooperates closely with the Bavarian State Collection for Anthropology and Palaeoanatomy (www.snsb.de). In terms of individual identification and dead bone decomposition research, a further close cooperation exists with the Institute of Legal Medicine at the University.