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Teresa E. Steele


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


Teresa Steele is a paleoanthropologist who studies the later phases of human evolution – the emergence of the earliest people who were behaviorally and anatomically modern. Her research focuses on why these fully modern humans spread out of Africa about 50,000 years ago and were able to replace the Neandertals in Europe. She is particularly interested in the origins of modern human cultural abilities and the relationship between changes in technology, subsistence, and demography

Research Focus

Professor Steele’s 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 (MSA) made by their contemporaries in Africa. She studies 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 animal bones and mollusks preserved in archaeological sites. She conducts research in South Africa, Morocco and France.

Selected Publications

  • Richter D, R Grün, R Joannes-Boyau, TE Steele, F Amani, M Rué, P Fernandes, J-P Raynal, D Geraads, A Ben-Ncer, J-J Hublin and SP McPherron. 2017. The age of the hominin fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, and the origins of the Middle Stone Age. Nature 546:293-296.
  • Collins B and TE Steele. 2017. An often overlooked resource: Ostrich (Struthio spp.) eggshell in the archaeological record. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 13:121-131.
  • Steele TE, A Mackay, KE Fitzsimmons, M Igreja, B Marwick, J Orton, S Schwortz and MC Stahlschmidt. 2016. Varsche Rivier 003: A Middle and Later Stone Age site with Still Bay and Howiesons Poort assemblages in southern Namaqualand, South Africa. PaleoAnthropology 2016: 100-163.
  • Steele T. E. (2015) The contributions of animal bones from archaeological sites: the past and future of zooarchaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science 56:168-176.
  • Dibble H. L., Aldeias, V., Goldberg, P., McPherron, S. P., Sandgathe, D., & Steele, T. E. (2015) A critical look at evidence from La Chapelle-aux-Saints supporting an intentional Neandertal burial. Journal of Archaeological Science 53:649-657.
  • Soressi M., McPherron, S. P., Lenoir, M., Dogandzic, T., Goldberg, P., Jacobs, Z., Maigrot, Y., Martisius, N. L., Miller, E. E., Rendu, W., Richards, M., Skinner, M. M., Steele, T. E., Talamo, S., & Texier, J-P. (2013) Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 110:14186-14190.
  • Klein, R. G., & Steele, T. E. (2013) Archaeological shellfish size and later human evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1304750110.
  • Steele, T. E., & Klein, R. G. (2013) The middle and later Stone Age faunal remains from Diepkloof Rock Shelter, Western Cape, South Africa, Journal of Archaeological Science 40:3453-3462
  • Dibble, H. A., Aldeias, V., Alvarez-Fernández, E., Blackwell, B. A., Hallett-Desguez, E., Jacobs, Z., Goldberg, P., Lin, S. C., Morala, A., Meyer, M. C., Olzsewski, D. I., Reed, K., Reed, D., Rezek, Z., Richter, D., Roberts, R. G., Sandgathe, D., Schurmans, U., Skinner, A. R., Steele T. E., & El-Hajraoui, M. (2012) New excavations at the site of Contrebandiers Cave, Morocco. PaleoAnthropology, 2012:145-201.
  • Niven L. B., Steele, T. E., Rendu, W., Mallye, J-B, McPherron, S., Soressi, M., Jaubert, J. &  Hublin, J-J. (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 T. E., Mackay, A., Orton, J., & Schwortz, S. (2012) Varsche Rivier 003, a new Middle Stone Age site in southern Namaqualand, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 67:108-119.



I regularly teach:

  • ANT 003: Introduction to Archaeology
  • ANT 174: European Prehistory
  • ANT 177: African Prehistory
  • ANT 180: Zooarchaeology
  • ANT 216: Problems in Archeological Method: Advanced Zooarchaeology
  • ANT 216: Problems in Archeological Method: Proposal Writing


  • 2014-2019 University of California, Davis Chancellor’s Fellow
  • 2016-2017 Faculty Development Award
  • 2011 Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award