Eleanor Scerri

 Eleanor Scerri
  • Archaeology

Areas of Expertise:
Archaeological science; Human evolution; Climate change;
Modelling; Biogeography

since 2019


Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology, Germany

Kahlaische Str. 10
07745 Jena

+49 3641 686 971
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About me

As an archaeological scientist and paleoanthropologist, my work centres on multidisciplinary perspectives of human evolution and its cultural manifestations. I currently head the ‘Lise Meitner’ Pan-African Evolution research group at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. Our present research explores the role of Africa’s western and tropical rainforests in the deep human past, how the Saharo-Arabian arid belt modulated the earliest human migrations, the first anthropogenic management of pre-agricultural ecologies, the cultural dimension of metapopulations, and island effects on biology and culture. I bring an interdisciplinary perspective to AGYA that straddles earth, biological and human sciences, with a particular geographical focus on the Arab world. Within AGYA, I network and collaborate with a vast array of colleagues whose research relates to mine in diverse ways, and to contribute to advancing research around the key themes of AGYA’s working groups.

AGYA serves as a major hub for scientists based in Germany and the Arab world.

Beyond allowing us to effectively network, AGYA also facilitates the cross-fertilisation of scientific ideas within a multicultural context. My motivation to join AGYA lies within the interstices of this scientific and cultural creativity, which first stimulates ideas and then allows us to turn them into tangible, innovative projects. The benefits can be unexpected, from curiosity-driven blue skies research to novel cross-disciplinary partnerships.

Academic career
2020 - today Affiliated Member of the Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Cologne, Germany
2020 - today Affiliated Associate Professor, Department of Classics and Archaeology, University of Malta, Malta
2019 - today W2 Independent Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Germany
2018 - 2019 Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions Fellow, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Germany
2014 - 2018 British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford, UK
2013 - 2014 Fyssen Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bordeaux, France
2013 University of York Writing Prize, UK
2009 - 2013 Ph.D., University of Southampton, UK
2007 - 2008 Visiting Student at Chemnitz University/Germany
2005 - 2007 Master Student at Fayoum University/Egypt
2001 - 2003 M.A., University of Southampton, UK
1996 - 2000 B.A. (Hons), University of Malta, Malta


My Commitment to AGYA
Member in Charge of the Working Group 'Common Heritage' (2019-2020)
Selection Committee 'New AGYA Members' (2020)

On a personal note

Must read in my discipline:
The Revolution that Wasn’t: A New Interpretation of the Origin of Modern Human Behavior by S. McBrearty and A. Brooks

Favourite novel:
Wild Spell of Summer by Francis Ebejer

The scientist from my country you should know:
Edward De Bono, Philosophy