Office: 2251 College Building (Archaeological Research Facility), Room 204
Lab: Anthropology and Art Practice Building (Formely Known As Kroeber Hall), Room 1
Office Hours: Tues & Thurs 2:00 PM -3:00 PM; or by appointment
Lithic Analysis, Geoarchaeology, Prehistory, Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology, Human-Environment Interactions, Landscape Archaeology, Climate Change, Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, Transitions to Food Production
My research focuses on hunter-gatherer societies in the Old World, specifically in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, with the aim of reconstructing human-environment interactions during the Late Pleistocene. I am interested in the 10,000-20,000 years leading up to farming, when dramatic changes in human social organization, economy, technological innovation, and ideology first appear in the archaeological record in the form of intensified and novel relationships with plants and animals, increased sedentism and population aggregations, architecture, complex site organization, far-reaching social interaction networks, and elaborate mortuary practices. I explore these significant shifts in human behavior through the study of material culture and the interactions of people and the landscapes they
I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Following this I joined the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies and Department of Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge as Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow from 2005-2007. I was a Research Associate in Cambridge for a further four years, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of Britain, to launch a collaborative research project in the eastern desert of Jordan called the Epipalaeolithic Foragers in Azraq Project (EFAP).
I joined Anthropology at Berkeley in 2012, where I run the Geoarchaeology and Southwest Asia Prehistory Laboratory and teach on topics of geoarchaeology, lithic analysis, Old World prehistory, human evolution, archaeological sciences, archaeological method and theory, archaeological approaches to technology, and human palaeoecology. I am the Curator of Lithic Collections at the Hearst Museum of Anthropology at Berkeley, and affiliate of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Center for European Studies. I am also a research associate at the Archaeology Center of the University of Toronto and I am an adjunct member of the Graduate Faculty in Anthropology at Toronto. I have several active excavation projects at Epipalaeolithic sites in northern and eastern Jordan, and with colleagues at The University of Tulsa, University of Toronto and UNLV, recently initiated a project in Cyprus exploring the island’s earliest hunter-gatherer inhabitants.
Beyond my own research projects in Jordan and Cyprus, I conduct geoarchaeological and micromorphological work for several other archaeological projects in the region, such as at the Upper Palaeolithic sites of the Jebel Qalkha in southern Jordan, Natufian site of Wadi Mataha in Jordan, Neolithic Asiab in Iran, and Assyrian irrigations systems in the Erbil area of Kurdistan. I am also starting geoarchaeological work on a pre-colonial site in Ohau, Hawaii.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Spyrou, A., Maher, L.A., Martin, L., Macdonald, D.A., and A. Garrard (2019). Meat Outside the Freezer: Drying, Smoking, Salting and Sealing Meat in Fat at an Epipalaeolithic Megasite in Eastern Jordan. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 54:84-101.
Maher, L.A. and M. Conkey (2019) Homes for Hunters? Exploring Hut Structures and the Concept of Home at Hunter-Gatherer Sites in Upper Palaeolithic Europe and the Epipalaeolithic of Southwest Asia. Current Anthropology 60(1): 91-137.
Kadowaki, S., Tamura, T., Sano, K., Kurozumi, T., Maher, L., Wakano, J. Y., Omori, T., Kida, R., Hirose, M., Massadeh, S. and D. Henry (2019) Lithic technology, OSL dates, and marine shells from Wadi Aghar, southern Jordan, and Initial Upper Paleolithic behaviors in the southern inland Levant. Journal of
Human Evolution 135: 102646. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.102646.
Jones, M. D., Fleitmann, D., Abu Jaber, N., Cuthbert, M., Dean, J., Djamali, M., Eastwood, W., Enzel, Y., Haywood, A., Kwiecien, O., Larsen, J., Maher, L., Metcalfe, S.E., Morin, E., Parker, A., Petrie, C., Richter, T., Roberts, N., Roe, J., Rohling, E., Tindall, J.C., Unal, E., and L. Weeks (2019) 20,000 years of climate impacts and societal vulnerability and adaptation in southwest Asia. Invited review paper for WIREs Water 6:e1330. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1330.
Maher, L. (2018) Persistent Place-Making in Prehistory: The Creation, Maintenance and Transformation of an Epipalaeolithic Landscape. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 26: 998 1083. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-018-9403-1.
Macdonald, D., Allentuck, A. and L. Maher (2018) Technological Change and Economy in the Epipalaeolithic: Assessing the Shift from Early to Middle Epipalaeolithic at Kharaneh IV through Lithic and Faunal Evidence. Journal of Field Archaeology 43(6):437-456.
Ramsey, M., L. Maher, D. Macdonald, D. Nadel and A. Rosen (2018) Sheltered by Reeds and Settled on Sedges: Construction and Use of a Twenty Thousand-Year-Old Hut According to Phytolith Analysis from Kharaneh IV, Jordan. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 50: 85-97.
Maher, L. (2016) Comment on ‘A Natufian Ritual Event’ by L. Grosman and N. Munro. Current Anthropology 57(3): doi.org/10.1086/686563.
Ramsey, M.N., L.A. Maher, D. Macdonald and A. Rosen (2016) Risk, Reliability and Resilience: Phytolith Evidence for Alternative ‘Neolilithization’ Pathways at Kharaneh IV in the Azraq Basin, Jordan. PLoS- ONE 11(10): e0164081. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0164081.
Maher, L., T. Richter, D. Macdonald, M. Jones, J. Stock, L. Martin and A. Allentuck (2016) Occupying Wide Open Spaces? Late Pleistocene Hunter-Gatherer Activities in the Eastern Levant. Late Quaternary Landscape Change in the Levant: Social, Technological and Economic Investigations in Open Spaces. Special Issue for Quaternary International 396: 79 94. doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2015.07.054
Jones, M., L. Maher, D. Macdonald, C. Ryan, C. Rambeau and T. Richter (2016) The Environmental Setting of Epipalaeolithic Kharaneh IV. Late Quaternary Landscape Change in the Levant: Social, Technological and Economic Investigations in Open Spaces. Special Issue for Quaternary
International 396: 95-104. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2015.08.092
Maher, Lisa A. and Danielle A. Macdonald (2014). Kharaneh IV Excavation Project. In Archaeology in Jordan 2012 and 2013 Seasons, G. Corbett, D. Keller, B. Porter, and C. Tuttle (eds.). American Journal of Archaeology, 118(4), 634-636.
Maher, L. (2014) Comment on ‘The sounds of pounding: Boulder mortars and their significance to Natufian burial customs’ by D. Rosenberg and D. Nadel. Current Anthropology 55(6): 803-804.
Maher, L., D. Macdonald, A. Alaica and E.B. Banning (2014). Two Early Epipalaeolithic Sites in Wadi Taiyiba, Northern Jordan. Paléorient 40(1): 73-97.
Kadowaki, S., L. Maher, M. Portillo, R.M. Albert, C. Akashi, F. Guliyev, Y. Nishiaki (2014) Geoarchaeological and palaeobotanical evidence for prehistoric cereal storage at the Neolithic settlement of Göytepe (mid 8th millennium BP) in the southern Caucasus. Journal of Archaeological Science 53: 408-425.
Richter, T. and L. Maher (2013) Terminology, Process and Change: Reflections on the Epipalaeolithic of Southwest Asia. Levant 45(2): 121-132.
Richter, T., L. Maher, K. Edinborough, A. Garrard, M. Jones, and J.T. Stock (2013) Epipalaeolithic settlement dynamics in southwest Asia: new radiocarbon evidence from the Azraq Basin. Journal of Quaternary Science 28(5): 467-479, doi: 10.1002/jqs2629.
Maher, L., T. Richter, D. Macdonald, M. Jones, L. Martin and J. T. Stock (2012) Twenty Thousand-Year- Old Huts at a Hunter-Gatherer Settlement in Eastern Jordan. PLoS-ONE 7(2): e31447. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031447.
Maher, L., T. Richter, and J. Stock (2012) The Pre-Natufian Epipalaeolithic: Long-Term Behavioral Trends in the Levant. Evolutionary Anthropology 21: 69-81.
Diaz, A., L. Maher, T. O’Connell, and J. Stock (2012) Subsistence and Mobility Strategies in the Epipalaeolithic of Jordan: A Stable Isotope Study at Uyun al-Hammam. Journal of Archaeological Science 39: 1984-1992.
Maher, L. and D. Macdonald (2012) Exploring Typo-technological Diversity in Chipped Stone from Epipalaeolithic Kharaneh IV, Eastern Jordan. CBRL Bulletin 7(1): 42-59. doi: 10.1179/1752726012Z.0000000006.
Maher, L., T. Richter, M. Jones and J.T. Stock (2011) The Epipalaeolithic Foragers in Azraq Project: Prehistoric Landscape Change in the Azraq Basin, Eastern Jordan. CBRL Bulletin 6: 21-27.
Maher, L. (2011) Reconstructing Palaeolandscapes and Prehistoric Occupation in Wadi Ziqlab, Northern Jordan. Geoarchaeology 26(5): 649-692.
Maher, L., J. Stock, S. Finney, J. Haywood, P. Miracle and E.B. Banning (2011) A Unique Human-Fox Burial from a Pre-Natufian Cemetery in the Levant (Jordan). PLoS-ONE 6(1): e15815. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015815.
Maher, L., E.B. Banning and M. Chazan (2011) Oasis or Mirage? Assessing the Role of Abrupt Climate Change in the Prehistory of the Southern Levant. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 21(1): 1-29.
Richter, T., A. Garrard, S. Allcock, and L. Maher (2011) Interaction Before Agriculture: Exchanging Material and Shared Knowledge in the Final Pleistocene Levant. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 21(1): 95-114.
Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters
Maher, L. (In press) Hunter-Gatherer-Home-Making? Building Landscape and Community in the Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic. In Consciousness and creative at the dawn of settled life: the test-case of Çatalhöyük. I. Hodder (ed.), Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Maher, L. and D. Macdonald (In press) Communities of Interaction: Tradition and learning in stone tool production through the lens of Epipalaeolithic Kharaneh IV, Jordan. In Culture History and Convergent Evolution: Can we identify ancient populations using material culture? H. Groucutt (ed.),
Oxford University Press: Oxford.
Maher, L. (In press) Naga ed-Deir Flint and Bone Assemblage. In The Phoebe A. Hearst Expedition to Naga ed-Deir: Cemeteries N2000 and N2500, V. Davies (ed.). University of California, Berkeley, Archaeological Research Facility: Berkeley, pp. xxxx.
Macdonald, D. and L. Maher (In press) Domestic Tasks at Kharaneh IV: Understanding the Epipalaeolithic toolkit through microwear. In Hunter-Gatherers Tool Kit: a functional perspective. J. Gibaja, I. Clemente, N. Mazzucco and J. Marreiros (eds). Cambridge Scholars Press: Newcastle.
Maher, L. (2017) Late Quaternary Refugia, Aggregations and Palaeoenvironments in the Azraq Basin. In Quaternary Environments, Climate Change and Humans in the Levant, O. Bar-Yosef and Y. Enzel (eds.). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp. 679-689.
Maher, L. (2016) A Road Well-Travelled? Exploring Terminal Pleistocene Hunter-Gatherer Activities, Networks and Mobility in Eastern Jordan. In Archaeology of the Palaeolithic-Neolithic of Eurasia: Papers in Honor of Andrew M.T. Moore, M. Chazan and K. Lillios (eds.). Sidestone Press: Leiden, pp. 49-75.
Jones, M., L. Maher, T. Richter, D. Macdonald and L. Martin (2016) Human-Environment Interactions through the Epipalaeolithic of Eastern Jordan. In Correlation is not Enough: Building Better Arguments in the Archaeology of Human-Environment Interactions, D. Contreras (ed.). Routledge: New York, pp. 121-140.
Maher, L., T. Richter, J.T. Stock and M. Jones (2014) Preliminary Results from Recent Excavations at the Epipalaeolithic Site of Kharaneh IV, In Jordan’s Prehistory: Past and Future Research, M. Jamhawi (ed.). Department of Antiquities of Jordan, Amman, pp. 81-92.
Richter, T., M. Jones, L. Maher, and J.T. Stock (2014) The Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic in the Azraq Oasis: Excavations at Ain Qasiyya and AWS-48, In Jordan’s Prehistory: Past and Future Research, M. Jamhawi (ed.). Department of Antiquities of Jordan, Amman, pp. 93-108.
Maher, L. and D. Macdonald (2013) Assessing typo-technological variability in Epipalaeolithic assemblages: Preliminary results from two case studies from the Southern Levant. In: The State of Stone: Terminologies, Continuities and Contexts in Near Eastern Lithics. Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsistence and Environment 14, F. Borrell, M. Molist and J.J. Ibanez (eds.). Ex oriente: Berlin, pp. 29-44.
Richter, T. and L. Maher (2013) The Natufian of the Azraq Basin: An Appraisal. In Natufian Foragers in the Levant: Terminal Pleistocene Social Changes in Western Asia, O. Bar-Yosef and F. Valla (eds). International Monographs in Prehistory: Ann Arbor, pp. 429-448.
Maher, L. and T. Richter (2011) PPN Predecessors: Current Issues in Late Pleistocene Chipped Stone Analyses in the Southern Levant. In The State of Stone: Terminologies, Continuities and Contexts in Near Eastern Lithics. Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsistence and Environment 13, E.
Healey, S. Campbell and O. Maeda (eds). Ex oriente: Berlin, pp. 25-31.
Maher, L. (2010) People and their places at the end of the Pleistocene: evaluating perspectives on physical and cultural landscape change. In Landscapes in Transition: understanding hunter-gatherer and farmer landscapes in the early Holocene of Europe and the Levant, W. Finlayson and G. Warren (eds.). Oxbow Books: London, pp. 34-45.
Maher, L. (2009) The Late Pleistocene of Arabia in Relation to the Levant. In The Evolution and History of Human Populations in Arabia: Paleoenvironments, Prehistory and Genetics, Vertebrate Paleobiology, Paleontology 187, M. Petraglia and J. Rose (eds.), Springer: New York, pp. 187-202.
Maher, L. (2007) Microliths and Mortuary Practices: New Perspectives on the Epipalaeolithic in Northern and Eastern Jordan. Book chapter in Crossing Jordan: North American Contributions to the Archaeology of Jordan, T.E. Levy, M. Daviau, R.W. Younker, and M. Shaer (eds.), Equinox: London, pp. 195-202.