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Teresa Steele

Teresa Steele

Associate Professor, PhD Stanford University, 2002

E-wing Chair

204 Young Hall Department of Anthropology
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue

Davis , California 95616
Office Phone: (530) 554-2804

Office Hours for Fall 2014 - Spring 2015 :

  • On Sabbatical


  1. Ph.D. Anthropology, Stanford University (2002)
  2. A.M. Anthropology (Human Biocultural Evolution), Stanford University (1998)
  3. B.S. summa cum Laude Anthropology & Human Biology, Emory University (1996)


Click for more details about me and about the Paleoanthropology Lab and Zooarchaeology Lab


Research Interests

I am a paleoanthropologist who studies the later phases of human evolution – the emergence of the earliest people who were behaviorally and anatomically modern. In particular, I want to know why these fully modern humans spread out of Africa about 50,000 years ago and were able to replace the Neandertals in Europe. To address these issues, my research focuses on Middle and Late Pleistocene (780,000-10,000 years ago) archaeology – the Middle Paleolithic made by Neandertals in Europe and the Middle Stone Age and Mousterian made by their anatomically near modern contemporaries in Africa. I study the mode and tempo of human behavioral evolution during this time through zooarchaeology – reconstructing human subsistence and ecology through the patterns of variation found in vertebrate and molluscan faunal assemblages. Zooarchaeology offers a unique and critical window into modern human origins, because the migration of and replacement by modern humans involved significant demographic expansions with dietary correlates that should be detectable in the faunal record. Currently, I am leading an excavation in South Africa and am involved with other projects there, in Morocco and in France.



To download specimens from the Virtual Comparative Collection (3-D images of mammal bones) presented by Niven et al. (2009. Journal of Archaeological Science), please see the downloads website of theDepartment of Human Evolution at the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

To download the program for analyzing mortality profiles on a triangular graph presented by Weaver, Boyko, and Steele (2011. Journal of Archaeological Science), please see Dr. Tim Weaver's homepage.


Recent Publications (click here for a full list)

Journal Articles

Niven LB,TE Steele,W Rendu, J-B Mallye, S McPherron, M Soressi, J Jaubert and J-J Hublin. 2012. Neandertal mobility and large-game hunting:The exploitation of reindeer during the Quina Mousterian at Chez-Pinaud Jonzac (Charente-Maritime, France). Journal of Human Evolution 63:624-635.

Steele TE, A Mackay, J Orton and S Schwortz. 2012. Varsche Rivier 003, a new Middle Stone Age site in southern Namaqualand, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 67:108-119.

Steele TE and TD Weaver. 2012. Refining the Quadratic Crown Height Method of age estimation: do elk teeth wear quadratically with age? Journal of Archaeological Science 39:2329-2334.

Edwards GL and TE Steele. 2011. Suid bone marrow yields and how they may influence resource choice. Journal of Taphonomy 9:163-179.

Orton J, A Mackay, S Schwortz and TE Steele. 2011. Two Holocene rock shelter deposits from the Knersvlakte, southern Namaqualand, South Africa. Southern African Humanities. 23:109-150.

Weaver TD, RH Boyko and TE Steele. 2011. Cross-platform program for likelihood-based comparisons of mortality profiles on a triangular graph. Journal of Archaeological Science 38:2420-2423.

Book Chapters

Steele TE. 2012. "Late Pleistocene human subsistence in northern Africa: The state of our knowledge and placement in a continental context," in Modern Origins: A North African Perspective. Edited by Hublin J-J and S McPherron, pp. 107-125. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Steele TE and E Álvarez-Fernández. 2011. "Initial investigations into the exploitation of coastal resources in North Africa during the Late Pleistocene at Grotte des Contrebandiers, Morocco," in Trekking the Shore: Changing Coastlines and the Antiquity of Coastal Settlement. Edited by Bicho N, J Haws and LG Davis, pp. 383-403. New York: Springer.

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Dept. of Anthropology

328 Young Hall
One Shields Ave.
University of California
Davis, Ca 95616-8522

Ph.  530-752-0745
Fax. 530-752-8885